There’s lots of reasons brands change logos. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, many of the companies we’re familiar with have changed their logos drastically. Some have decided to switch to a more simplified version, while others have decided to get jiggy with it and do something totally out there. Others have changed so much (did you know Target used to be called Dayton’s? I was shook!) that they aren’t even recognizable as the same company anymore.
The reason brands change logos
Valid reasons to update a logo:
- Overwhelming feedback that it’s not the right look for your target market
- Logo design issues
- Company has been around so long that the logo is outdated
- Company has significantly changed its products and services, and needs new representation
Bad reasons to update a logo:
- Someone “doesn’t like it”
- Wanting to be cool or different
- Bored of current design
- Extra money to throw around
You see, updating a logo can change the game completely – companies have to consider how their customers feel, and how the change will impact their brand recognition and reputation in the long run.
Below are ten logos you might not have known were ever anything different (or that the companies have even been around that long).
While Google’s logo hasn’t evolved too drastically over the years (thanks for staying true to you, Google) the differences are key- mild font changes, adding and removing an exclamation point, but all the while keeping the font colors the same. Google’s current logo (pictured below) stays faithful to the rainbow palette, but cuts down on additional embellishments. We’ve all come a long way since 1997, haven’t we? No judging.
First of all, who knew Twitter had been around since 2005? I didn’t! I also didn’t know they changed their logo completely- adding and taking away letters, and their font used to be green. Which is insane. Twitter is blue. This is a pretty drastic evolution, but it would seem they’ve finally found their way. Their logo has been the bird since 2012.
When I picture McDonald’s, I picture the logo they used in 1975, which is extra weird because I wasn’t quite around yet. Once they picked the colors red and yellow, we were sold. But McDonald’s famous barbecue? Did they HAVE barbecue at one point? BRB going to look at old menus. (Okay their old menu is super cool, check it out HERE.) They have kept the red and yellow throughout the years, as well as the M arch. However, the sign pictured below is a recent addition.
Making its first appearance in 1976, Apple knows all about logo evolution. There is not a shred of resemblance from their first logo to their current, and that might be for the best. However, I’d like to see a return of the second logo they’d chosen for that year. Rainbow apples are winning apples.
Shell’s branding has a super fun background story. While their logo has maintained the fact that it is, indeed, a shell for the entire time they’ve been in business, the company itself has changed what their target is. (Oil to gas. Similar, but STILL)
Starbucks has a very peculiar story of name changing and logo updates. Here’s the short version: originally named after a boat from Moby Dick, later changed to captain of said ship, mermaid with two tails lured people to Starbuck Island (read more about this, super interesting TBH.) Their logo has been refined over the years. Now that you see the tails, you can’t unsee them! You’re welcome. Starbucks has maintained their logo from 2011 from 7 years. Wonder if they’ll be switching it up soon?
So, after they decided what they wanted, they stuck with it. But I have to say, Mozilla Firefox’ first design was a little out there considering it’s not even a FOX. But I suppose the firebird was daring, and that’s one way to get people to use your browser (don’t worry firefox, I’m typing this in one of my many tabs of you that I have open.)
Update! Firefox is reworking their brand again through an open design process, which means you can participate in evolving the Firefox brand.
Amazon’s original logos were lacking the thing that makes it so recognizable today – the yellow accent! Some smart cookie updated it to make a reference about how comprehensive Amazon’s product list is by making the accent an arrow pointing from A to Z. Now that’s good design thinking.
This. Has. Me. SHOOK. AT&T has been around since 1889! 18. 89. Such a long time. Alexander Graham Bell was the original owner of said company and it’s the longest standing phone company. Makes sense – AT&T has been around since the invention of the telephone. Seriously, read more about this.
I find it insane that Target ever had another name. Please, if you ever shopped there back in the day, I need to know what it was like! Target is known for 3 things when it comes to logo: Red, Bullseye, Dog. But there was a time when none of those things were a part of the company!
There’s tons of reasons brands change logos. But it’s always a weighty decision, and can drive customers away if done wrong. A company’s logo is the face of the brand. It’s that graphic that lets people know exactly who they’re dealing with, right away. People identify with logos, and may dissociate if they feel the updated branding no longer speaks to them. So while it’s important to build rapport and trust with customers, and it’s also important to know when to it’s time to evolve.
If you’re into this stuff, you definitely need to take a look at Brand New (and subscribe!). They cover corporate and brand identity work from the perspective of seasoned designers, and can help decode why a logo change works or doesn’t work. It’s really interesting, and the Clever Tiger team looks forward to their email newsletter – which is an impressive feat in 2018. Way to go, UnderConsideration!
Change is good…sometimes. I hope in 50 years someone can look at this list and not even believe what the logos were like in the year of 2018! Can I get a time capsule?