The risks and rewards of changing your practice brand
It happens many times. You take a look at your used-to-be trendy logo and it doesn’t have the same oomph that it did a few years ago. Maybe it was a great logo idea at the time, but now it’s looking a little tired. Or maybe it was created under a time (or budget) crunch that precluded a complete or thorough work up. Bottom line – you’re sick and tired of your logo and want to change it. Can this be done? Certainly. Are there risks involved? Absolutely.
In this example found online, halfway through the project this client decided that they wanted to scrap their current logo entirely – a decision that one shouldn’t take too lightly. One has to think about patient recognition (especially if the logo has been around for a while,) the expense of changing branded collateral – letterheads, business cards, signage, etc. You may find yourself throwing out a great deal of previously created material (timing a logo makeover for release when previously printed supplies are low can help ease some of the pain.)
Tread lightly. The decision you make will impact for years.
Changing an established logo should be approached with caution and forethought. As in many business (and life) decisions, you have to weigh the pros and cons, and decide what is the best solution for your particular situation? A total logo makeover (executed correctly) can infuse your practice with new excitement (even major corporations change their identity once in a while).
You may have changed the services you provided to your patient base and need a logo that is more in line with, and appealing to, your current demographics. A makeover can certainly do that. A logo that was cool at the time may have become dated – you may need to dial-back some elements and bring to market a logo that is more ‘solid’ and conservative. More in line with your current business goals. Maybe you opted for an overdone and overused icon and that’s started to look like a whole bunch of other people’s logos. Bottom line, your custom logo design doesn’t look so custom after all.
Have you seen logos using these types of features? Are there any rules to for updating your logo (other than expenses? Nope, not really.
Re-design, makeover or a brand repair?
If you have a hunch that your logo needs changing, it probably does. Now to decide if you want a logo re-design or just a few tweaks here and there (what I lovingly refer to as a “facelift). Your logo may just need to be spruced up. A little font refresh here, a little color update there. This is the least traumatic and allows for slow integration into your printed branded business material. You can use up your stock of already printed goods (letterheads and business cards for example) as you incorporate the new look onto your advertising and marketing media or website. The deciding factor about a logo repair, as opposed to a complete overhaul should not be based on your personal ‘feeling’ about the design. It should be based on your market’s understanding and recognition of your logo.
A factor not written about much, but certainly does come into play in this age of social media is the actual shape of the logo. Facebook and Twitter have square or circular spaces alloted for what they expect will be a face. For those using these social outlets, and horizontally oriented logo is problematic. In the most recent past, most of our new or tweaked designs includes a version that will be social “friendly”.
The big guys do it. Why can’t you?
When first introduced in 1995, the Microsoft Windows logo was a graphic representation of a flying window.
When the (then) new Windows XP operating system was introduced, it also featured a logo makeover – the Windows icon had become much more refined, 3D and used a much more appropriate font. It still had enough of the old Windows logo to remain in the same design family, but was sleeker to (hopefully) reflect the vastly improved operating system. The latest version is much more minimalist, but still retains some of the original Windows design features.
Apple computers evolved their famous Apple icon from a wood-cut illustrative mess into one of the most widely celebrated icons of our age. With the advent of their OS X system, the Apple icon became a ‘gel’ version, in order to fit into the Apple marketing flavor – a flavor so successful that the Apple.com look and feel is still the most copied design on the Internet today. Apple has remained pretty stable over the years. All in all, if Apple, Microsoft and Nike aren’t opposed to tweaking their logo here and there, then your fears, while understandable, can be put aside. It’s worthy to note that they ‘modified’ their logos, rather than scrapping the look and recognition they had already achieved.
A recent example:
Note the one-legged man from the “over done, over used” group mentioned previously.
Changing our logo.
On a much smaller scale we’ve changed our logo once. Our first logo was designed in 1993, when we opened our business. The squiggle was very “in” at the time, and the mauve/gray color scheme was well received. We found that our logo was recognizable based on the conferences we attended. Frequently we would hear something like “Oh, I know your company. I recognize your logo”. That was music to our ears.
13 years later, when we added a variety of services to our product base and were no longer just in the “graphics” world, we underwent a name change and a logo update. A version of the “squiggle” remained, since it was so associated with us. We kept the lower case letters too, but colors and font changed significantly.
At the moment, a new logo with an icon is being contemplated, but it’s still an idea that is just in my head. We’ll see.