Should your logo be replaced…or can it be refreshed?

David Langton
The Startup
Published in
5 min readJul 2, 2020

A simple logo “refresh” can modernize your brand while maintaining a connection to your heritage.

Change is difficult because people believe they will lose something of value. There is comfort in keeping things the way they are. Teachers notice that even when they do not assign seats, students tend to return to the same place each class. I like to remind clients embarking on a brand change that we all have an ingrained reluctance to change. Yet it’s important to embrace change if you want your brand to stay relevant, particularly in today’s digital world.

Sometimes, minor changes and adjustments can be made to a logo, yet still preserve a heritage that is meaningful to an organization while positioning it for the future. We call that a logo “refresh.” In some cases, the symbol is preserved and combined with stronger typography, in some the artwork is redrawn and simplified, and in others new colors are introduced. The process tends to be more fluid and faster than creating a whole new logo since you are building upon an existing identity and not starting from a blank slate.

When the refreshed logo is completed, a new brand guidebook is created with guidelines for typography, color, and sizing that establishes a standard that may be easily managed inhouse and builds a consistent corporate identity that reflects professionalism, trust and clear communications.

How to tell if your brand is a good candidate for a refresh

Here are a few indicators that your brand may be refreshed:

1. Readability The logo symbol is nice but the type is hard-to-read. In digital spaces where logos have to be seen on screen and in small sizes, readability and having a distinctly recognizable logo becomes more important.

2. Heritage One reason to consider a refresh is when your organization has a strong and proud history that you want to build upon. It’s important to maintain a connection with existing and older supporters who already connect to your organization through the logo.

3. Concept Is the idea behind your logo still meaningful and relevant today? If you have to keep explaining what your logo means then it may be that your logo is not working for you. On the other hand, if it’s a clarity issue, perhaps the symbol can be redrawn.

David Langton
The Startup

Founder of New York branding design firm Langton Creative Group, co-author of Visual Marketing, and adjunct professor at Hostos College/CUNY.