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The 4 levels of logo redesign

04 October, 2017

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Date of Publication: 04 October, 2017
For managers and company owners, few things are as difficult to tackle as the how, when and why’s of rebranding. Is the need for a new logo your brainchild, and you don’t know how to explain it to all the stakeholders? Or is it something that the market itself demands - and you fear that an identity overhaul could make your company unrecognizable and less loved by the customer base? There are at least four main reasons to take the rebranding path. Each of these reasons is linked to a different “depth level” in your efforts:

Level 1 - your logo doesn’t work everywhere anymore

Your perfect, timeless logo shall not be touched. No redesign is needed for that evergreen visual, recognizable everywhere.
Except that “everywhere” grows wider every day. For instance, maybe personal screens didn’t exist when your logo was designed, and neither did personal printers. Suddenly your hyper-detailed font isn’t readable on a small device and those creative colours render as a dull light grey on paper. Not to mention that you don’t have a white version to be used on dark backgrounds.

Your solution is digitalization and versioning: a technical update, with no major redesign - just a new, versatile digital file.


Level 2: your logo is out of date

Following design trends is a tricky choice. It’s not an easy way: producing unique results while sticking to the mainstream requires creativity and balance; but it can be a short-lived one. A trendy logo goes out of fashion - by definition. Every five, ten, fifteen years (depending on your industry) you’ll be forced to revamp it.

Or you can be like Apple, subtly redesigning its logo every now and then - not to keep up with trends but to create new ones.

Your solution is logo cosmetics: a visual update, with no brand philosophy attached.


Level 3: your brand is not the same

When your company entered the business you had a message, a core promise, a product, a service. But now you’re entering a new market, launching new services, and your logo should go along with it.

Your solution is redesign: either a light one, concerning your logo aesthetics; or a deeper one, that includes rethinking your name, keeping the one you have but adding (or subtracting) something to better reflect the current changes. You can simplify, like Starbucks did twice - or even design a brand new moniker, as when Andersen Consulting became Accenture.


Level 4: you are not the same

Finally, your company might be experiencing a change at its very core. A shift of values, a new mission, even a need to work hard on reputation. Or something more pragmatic could be in the works, such as the acquisition of another company.

A different company. A different brand. A different logo. That’s how it goes.

Your solution is a rebranding: rethink your identity from the ground up. Like Airbnb,  that went from being an exact lookalike of every other booking website to creating a symbol, naming it, and building an entire design system around it.


Rebranding, today, means thinking of your new logo as part of something bigger, shinier, or just completely different.

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