Whether you’re in the midst of a total rebranding initiative or your logo is simply outdated and in desperate need of a new look, a logo redesign is not a task to be taken lightly. Why? Your logo is one of your most powerful brand assets. It’s tied closely to your brand identity and is the cornerstone of brand consistency, serving as the visual representation of your brand. When your logo is well-designed and used properly, meaning that it appears consistently across all identifying brand properties (your website, blog, sales collateral, letterhead, etc.), it should evoke the emotions you’ve worked hard to associate with your brand.
In other words, your logo is not just another digital asset. So, when it’s time for a redesign, there’s much to consider. This handy logo redesign checklist will help you make sure you’re covering all the bases to develop a logo that aligns with your brand identity.
To ensure that the most up-to-date version of your logo and other digital assets are readily available and being utilized appropriately, a robust digital asset management solution like MerlinOne is a must. Download our white paper, The Importance of Version Control in a DAM, to learn more about the value of version control and how it goes hand-in-hand with other important DAM features like approval workflows and usage history.
Conduct a Brand Audit
A brand audit is an essential first step in any logo redesign process. Take stock of your current branding assets and how and where your logo is currently used, as well as the current style, fonts, and colors used. For instance, you may have multiple versions of your current logo that are used in different scenarios, such as a black and white version for your letterhead and a full-color graphic used on your website and social media profiles. Don’t stop with your own logo, though; take a look at your competitors’ logos and branding, as well.
Know Your “Why”
First and foremost, you should be able to answer the question: “Why are you redesigning your logo?” The answer should be deeper than simply wanting a different color scheme. Maybe you’ve introduced a new product line not reflected by your existing logo. Maybe your logo is a bit dated, and you have new competitors in the mix to compete with. Or, maybe you’re targeting a new audience, or your brand’s mission or vision has changed. Bonus: your “why” will also help you make important design decisions later.
Logo Tweaks vs. Complete Logo Redesign
Does your logo simply need a few tweaks or a complete revamp? Whether you’re developing a new logo to better align with your company’s core values, in response to lessons learned from listening to your target audience, or you’re gearing up for the future, your logo should reflect your brand’s identity today and where it’s headed in the future. Your existing logo may incorporate some important brand identity elements, such as a color scheme or font that’s strongly associated with your brand in the minds of consumers, that you’ll want to keep.
Decide on a Logo Type
Logos come in several primary styles:
- Wordmarks. Wordmarks are the most commonly used logo type, consisting of text in a specific, often custom typeography. Wordmarks are a good choice for companies that need to build name recognition as well as those whose company names describe what they do. Both Google and Coca-Cola, for example, use wordmarks.
- Lettermarks. Similar to wordmarks, lettermarks use initials or abbreviations instead of the full company name. One well-known example of a lettermark logo is CNN’s logo. (The letters CNN are initials of the company’s full name, Cable News Network.)
- Brandmarks. These logos consist of a symbol that’s associated with the brand, with no accompanying text. Nike’s swoosh logo is one of the most widely recognized examples of this type. Symbol logos require strong brand association, so it’s often used for companies with a long, established history who are simplifying a previous logo to a symbol that’s now become synonymous with the brand in the minds of consumers. A brandmark is a good choice for companies with long names that don’t work well for a wordmark, as well as those needing a brand-associated symbol or emblem that will be printed on products.
- Iconic logos. These logos combine text with symbols, so they’re essentially a combination of a wordmark and a brandmark. Iconic, or combination, logos are a good choice for companies that conveys the company’s name as well as what it does or its values. Dunkin’ Donuts’ logo is just one of many well-known iconic logos.
As different logo types work best in different scenarios, the right logo type for your brand depends on the messaging you hope to convey, how much brand recognition exists currently with any existing symbols or typefaces you use, and other variables.
Compare Font Faces and Color Palettes
After determining the type of logo you need (or at least narrowing the options to two types), it’s time to start getting creative. For all logo types other than brandmarks, you’ll need to decide on a font face (or typeface). You might also want to consider having a custom typeface designed.
Create and Compare Several Sketches
You’ll want to sketch and compare several concepts before moving forward with the design process. It’s not uncommon that what you have in mind doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing on paper, so expand your horizons and compare a few creative options. You might even decide to go in a completely different direction after seeing someone else’s vision.
Solicit Feedback from Team Members and Customers
Whether you’re a solopreneur or work with a large team, your logo design isn’t just about you. Solicit feedback from your team members and, if possible, your audience. Send out a survey and ask for feedback on a few different iterations of your redesigned logo to find out what resonates with your team and your customers.
Rule Out Potential Intellectual Property Infringement
The specifics around trademarking and copyrighting of logos is complex. The short version is that essentially, a logo may fall under both trademark and copyright protection, but trademark protection alone is more common. It’s a good idea to search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Database to make sure there are no very similar designs registered – particularly any companies making use of similar designs in your industry. You might also want to go a step further and hire a trademark attorney who can conduct a search on your behalf and also file your trademark application for your final logo design.
Follow Logo Design Best Practices
Even if you’re completely overhauling your existing logo, you’ll still want to follow a few crucial best practices for good logo design. Your redesigned logo should:
- Have a simple, but unique and memorable shape
- Be scalable for use across print and digital assets
- Use font faces that can be scaled without sacrificing legibility
- Look polished in both black and white and full color
- Convey the key attributes of your brand identity (professional, friendly, cheerful, etc.)
- Have a color scheme that’s in line with your brand identity
Redesigning a logo is a complex, multi-faceted process requiring multiple iterations and approvals and resulting in several versions that can be used for different purposes (print, digital media, logos specifically designed for social media, etc.). Keep the process organized and ensure that every team member has access to the most up-to-date digital assets that reflect your new logo design and other brand elements with MerlinOne’s robust digital asset management solution. Schedule a demo today to find out how MerlinOne can keep your marketing and creative teams on time, within budget, and on the same page. Or download our white paper, Questions You Should Always Consider Before Choosing a DAM, to learn more about what to look for in a digital asset management solution.