There’s often discussion about logos. I’m not sure why, but people seem to be obsessed with them. More often than not, designers especially, people will point to poorly designed logos as a reflection of a poor brand. I would argue that this is simply isn’t true. Your logo is simply a easy way for our brains to associate a product experience with a visual representation.
In the past few years a couple of big tech companies have redesigned their logos and another big one is on the verge to do the same. Last year for example, Twitter redesigned their logo with a statement that included this little nugget of creative joy:
This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.
Microsoft also unveiled their new logo after nearly 25 years. From their blog they wrote:
The symbol is important in a world of digital motion (as demonstrated in the video above.) The symbol’s squares of color are intended to express the company’s diverse portfolio of products.
Yahoo is now in the process of unveiling their new logo on the 5th of September by showing 30 days of different logos.
So why do companies change their logo? Most people will say “their logo was outdated!” or “that logo was so ugly, no wonder they couldn’t sell smartphones!”. If you read the aformentioned quotes, you may think “Well of course the logo didn’t represent those things before, so they had to change it.” The reality is that none of this matters. If your brand is strong, there is absolutely no reason to change your logo. It will only confuse. In fact, I still wonder why Twitter changed their logo. Nothing prompted them to do so. It’s too bad, because they probably spent a lot of money redesigning it.
So, if you think a brand’s logo is the problem, think again. You can have the ugliest logo in the world (i.e. Google) and people will still use your product. The only reason to change your logo is when your logo (and therefore your brand) become associated with something negative. This happened with Microsoft, is happening to Yahoo, and will continue to happen in technology as brand perceptions change on the fortnight.
I hope Yahoo does decide to change it’s logo. It has a bad perception problem right now and they need a new logo to represent the new positioning they are trying to take. It’s extremely difficult to climb yourself out of a branding ditch, so the idea with creating new logo is to start on new ground.
If you ever seen The Wire, Stringer Bell tells this story even better than I do: