How and When to Change Your Small Business Logo

First impressions count! Most consumers research companies online these days and your logo is front and center. If your logo appears dated, potential customers may view your business as out of touch in the marketplace.

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If you’ve recently had to pivot your business due to the pandemic, this could be a good time to reassess your logo. A logo redesign doesn’t mean you need a whole new logo. You might be able to make an incremental change and continue to build on that brand equity you’ve built.

When to consider a logo change

Suzanna Shubeck, the Senior Visual Designer for SmartBiz Loans®, has years of experience creating logos and shaping business branding. She says, “It’s a good practice to objectively review your small business’s logo every 5 to 7 years. Ask friends, your business colleagues, or your employees what they honestly think. You can even survey your customers and clients.”

Here are reasons to consider a logo change:

Has your target customer profile changed?

Have you started targeting a new demographic? A fresh logo can help you attract and connect with potential customers.  A new modern look can help your audience identify with your brand.

Are you facing new competition?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the small business landscape has changed. Now is a good time to do a competitive analysis. You’ll discover competitors in your industry and learn what might be working well when it comes to branding and their logo. You can also learn from competitors branding stumbles.

Has your business expanded, or does it have a new focus?

Have you added new products or services? A new logo can also help you introduce your new offerings. If your business has experienced significant changes, consider reflecting that change with a new logo.

Does your logo look outdated?

Consumer tastes shift and change along with design trends. Don’t appear outdated with tired colors and an outdated look.

Is your logo still identifiable?

If you’ve been around a while, you might have shifted from traditional advertising, like in a newspaper, to a digital presence. A logo that looks good on printed materials may not be a good fit for the online market. Keep small screens in mind as consumers use their phone to search and shop these days.

Does your logo have meaning?

Consider the purpose and mission of your company. A logo reflective of your values can help customers feel connected to your company.

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Logo types

There are basically three kinds of logos: Font-based logos consist primarily of a type treatment – FedEx, CNN, and NetFlix are good examples.  Another type of logo literally illustrates what a company does, like showing a dancer for a dance studio.  Finally, there are abstract graphic symbols like the Nike swoosh.

How to redesign your logo

Here are steps to take when redesigning a logo:

  • Review logos of other businesses in your industry – What are your competitors using? Try to differentiate yourself without losing your message.
  • Focus on your message – Pick a clear message that you want to say about your company. How are you unique, what’s your personality, and who is your audience are all questions to ask?
  • Make it clean and functional – Logos should work across all mediums like on your website, a business card, or even the side of a truck. Create for one that is scalable, easy to reproduce, distinctive, and memorable.
  • Use your logo to illustrate your business's key benefit – Some of the best logos make an immediate statement with a picture or illustration, not words.
  • Don't use clip art – It may be tempting to take the easy way out with clip art, however, it can be copied too easily, and consumers will likely not be impressed.
  • Work with a professional – Designer Shubeck has another valuable piece of advice: “It’s a best practice to work with a design professional if it’s in your budget,” she says.  “Everyone has a relative who “knows Photoshop”, and there are sites that will design a logo for $25 where less experienced designers submit designs for a chance to be selected. Not only is this unethical, but you get what you pay for.”

What to do with your new logo

To transition from old logo to new, first decide if you will phase in your new logo gradually or introduce your new logo on a set date via a formal announcement. Update your logo across all platforms and company materials like email signatures, website masthead, and social media pages.

Additional resources

The SmartBiz Loans® Small Business Blog has lots of resources for business owners who need to establish a strong brand. Additionally, we have content about marketing, hiring, operations, and more to help you run a successful enterprise.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.

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