Updating your logo won’t shut down the government…again

Updating your logo as a small business or nonprofit

Image courtesy of razzlefrazzle on flickr

If you have been watching TV, drinking soda, receiving packages, buying coffee, pretty much living your daily life, you may have noticed that NBC, Coca-cola, USPS, Best Buy, Delta, Starbucks even Martha Stewart Living have upgraded their logos in the last few years. So what’s stopping you?

I can tell you. I hear this all the time. “I can’t afford to change all the printed material.”, “I can’t afford a designer”, “I like the way my logo looks now”, “It will take too much time and money to change it EVERYWHERE”. I’ve been working with small businesses and nonprofits for years now and I hear this almost a on weekly basis. Today, I am going to address some of these concerns.

Let’s start with the simple one, “I can’t afford a designer”. Yes, a good logo designer is expensive. They have to understand current trends of design, your business, your ideas, the message you are trying to send out. They have to have the latest and greatest design apps and know how to twist and turn the functions to create your vision. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Designers are expensive. Look at me (wink wink). But a designer doesn’t usually mind updating a logo for a smaller fee. If all you want is to update a logo. Updating a logo may involve a change in font to create a more modern look. Or a change in color to represent your organization better. It may involve doing both, and twisting a few lines to create a smoother look. Sometimes it just takes a bit of polishing. But it doesn’t involve changing the concept of your logo (that’s more of changing your logo completely than updating it) Don’t be afraid to ask your designer for a quote. It can’t really hurt you if the number is theoretical, you don’t have to pay for estimates.

Now that you contacted a designer and your logo is being updated, let’s get down to “I can’t afford to change all the printed material” and “It will take too much time and money to change it EVERYWHERE”. Don’t do that! Don’t change it. It’s a waste of money. What you do instead is wait for the next event, promotion, sale, etc to launch the new logo on both your website and the printed material for that specific event. Start with those two. You know why? Because no one likes drastic changes, not you, not your customers, visitors, lovers. So if you get a negative feedback, it’s as easy as removing the logo from the site and waiting for the next event to return to your old logo. But what if (and most likely) you get all this positive outpour? What if you get more clients or visitors? You see where I am going here? You don’t have to run and change the sign above your door to the updated version of the logo, you don’t have to change every letterhead. You can start small and cheap. Update your site, update your email signature, update the material for your next event. Once the update is completed, create a list of items that need to be updated, prioritizing of course. Go down the list at your own pace. Plus, it’s a really good reminder for yourself where your logo really is, which printed material may not be necessary, and which ads may not be working for you.

We are down to the final and hardest item to discuss, your own connection with the logo. I hear “I love my logo the way it is” whenever I ask an owner of an outdated logo about updating it. If I had a penny every time I heard that … you know the rest. And unfortunately for me, I didn’t have those pennies so I am still not a millionaire. You have to think about your logo in the same way you think about your hairstyle or your clothes. You do it for yourself but you also do it for others. Unless of course, you are wearing a mullet, then it’s all you. So, who is your target audience? Who are you trying to get to buy or have donate? Do an anonymous poll around the office, see what your people really have to say. Their answers may shock you. Ask your customers and your visitors if they think the logo should be updated or does it look just fine. Questions and answers are free. In most cases they are. Go out there and find out for yourself and for the sake of your organization if your logo needs updating. Be honest with yourself. There will be times that your logo won’t need updating but if you constantly hear that you need to update your logo, most likely you WILL need to update your logo.

A rule of thumb to decide whether or not your logo needs an update: If in the last 6 months you heard “your logo needs an update” from at least 5-10 different people, you need an update.

What you do with your logo is always up to you. And sometimes money, time, and effort are hard to allocate to begin the journey. If you are interested in finding out if your logo needs an update and what that update may look like, contact us. We’ll be glad to give you a sneak peek of what your updated logo may look like and help you begin the journey.

Categories: design, marketing
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about the author

Anar is so freaking awesome, it’s hard to explain. She is a co-founder of Binarylily.com. When she has some free time from saving the world with awesome website powers, she writes for 2girlsandapin.com and takes ballroom dance classes. Aside from all these awesomeness, she still has time to cuddle on the couch with her favorite glass of wine and watch some Doctor Who, surrounded by her dog and a cat and sometimes even husband.

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