Branding is one of the greatest and most important creative challenges, which is part of what makes it so exciting. Having a well thought out and executed brand is the foundation of any good marketing campaign. After all if the house, or brand, is cheap or poorly designed, why dress it up with nice shutters or a beautiful lawn?

For some, branding is a complete mystery. They look at a logo and have no opinion as to whether it’s good or bad. They hear a tagline and nothing! For those of us who eat, breathe and live branding it’s the exact opposite. We set our sights on a bad logo and it’s like seeing that girl’s head spin around in the movie Exorcist…shocking and painful to look at.

Not every less than perfect brand requires a total redo though. Some brands just need a little freshening up. Or, as we creative types call it, “tweaking”. Here’s one example of a successful logo/brand tweaking we recently completed for approached us, after finding us on LinkedIn, needing a new, updated look and feel for their website. The old website, although highly visited, was clunky, not easy to navigate and aesthetically unappealing.  We got to work on the website redesign. But, every time we went to plug their existing logo into our new designs, it sat there like an unattractive, outdated rock.

We suggested to the client that the logo might benefit from some… changes. Although happy overall with the logo she agreed to see what we had in mind. So, we set about to give the logo an overhaul, without tossing it altogether. A logo makeover. The beach ball was widely recognized and associated with their brand and the client felt it had value and should be kept. We agreed. It had been used on billboards and in ads for years so it needed to stay.

vb-com_logosThe new version of the logo benefits from a fatter, more easily read, digitally friendly font. We selected a sans serif font, (one without little feet on it), which instantly made the logo feel cleaner and more streamlined. We got rid of the background color. We kept, but cleaned up the ball. We also changed up the colors to a more modern, upbeat palette. Overall, the new logo maintains the brand identity, but brings it up to date. Lastly, we created a succinct and zippy tagline.

Outcome: The client is thrilled with the website redesign and with their new logo. “It just works so much better”.

Key takeaways from this logo tweaking:

1. In a world that is digitally driven it’s key that your fonts be highly readable at small sizes. Most people are viewing your stuff on a cell phone. Your logo must be recognizable and readable on mobile platforms by eyes, young and old.

2. Avoid adding anything too trendy to your logo or brand. Like anything else, trends come and go in graphic design. Although the styles that are trending can seem really cool at the moment, they will inevitably date your brand. Waves and arches became very popular in graphic design twenty years ago or so. We can attribute a lot of that popularity to the Nike swish. Although the original Nike swish logo was developed in 1971, Nike tweaked the logo in 1995, removing the word Nike from the logo. The new logo just featured the swish. Soon swishes, arches and waves, and other types of flowing lines were being incorporated into logo designs and marketing materials everywhere. Now, of course, most of these swish inspired logos and designs appear outdated.

3. Simple objects work best. When using artwork, such as the beach ball, in your logo, keep the shapes simple and clean. They will reproduce better from one medium to the next. Complex shapes may look great printed high resolution on a business card, but how will they appear as your Twitter profile pic, or when monogrammed on a shirt? Drop shadows and gradations can make a logo hard to reproduce and should be used sparingly. Usability and versatility are essential qualities of a successful logo design.

4. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If there is a part of the branding that is highly recognized try to preserve it and improve upon it. Clean it up and modernize it. It can take years to establish a brand and to throw all that time and effort away is just plain wasteful.

5. Color is so important. Carefully consider your palette. Just like repainting a room can transform it, changing your corporate colors can completely alter your brand. Find color combinations that represent how you want your brand perceived. Your logo is not one and done. It’s just one important element of your overall brand. Your corporate color palette is another vital ingredient. Think about how your colors will look on ads, online, etc.

In summary, not every tired logo needs to be totally tossed. Tweaking a logo will often do the job. Elements that are highly recognized by your customers or community should be preserved, if possible, and cleaned up. Fonts need to be chosen that look good and are highly readable on mobile devices. Colors should also be selected with mobile in mind. Stay original and authentic when choosing shapes or graphics to incorporate with your logo. Don’t jump on the trendy train.

If you think your logo may need a refresh, contact us. We would be happy to help by providing you with a free logo evaluation. Tweaking a logo is often much more affordable than a complete rebranding and may be exactly what your brand needs. Please contact us at