Two for Tuesday: Logo Makeovers, Hot or Not?

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a logo has a lot to say about a brand. But logos are more than an image (and are worth a lot more than just 1,000 words); rather, they’re the most powerful embodiment for the corporate identity (and the most recognizable). Logos communicate with consumers and users on personal levels, affecting opinions towards brands on psychological levels. If consumers can identify a logo without hearing or seeing the company’s name, then that’s fantastic marketing.

However, some logos do need slight makeovers every now and then (maybe a different lip gloss or eye shadow color), but going too far (like a nose job or lip injection) can ruin a brand. After all, no one will recognize it (isn’t that why brands use logos?). This Two-for-Tuesday, take a look a how consumers responded to a couple logo makeovers.

GAP

In 2010, the popular apparel company Gap made a drastic change to its logo: replacing the old white lettering on a navy blue background to a newer, hipper small bold, black lettering set against a white background with small blue box in the corner. Gap wanted to create a more contemporary and modern expression; however, the old, familiar logo, valued at $4 billion and used for more than two decades, was loved by the company’s loyal consumer base.

 

 

Gap’s extreme-makeover mistake resulted in a huge backlash from consumers who were furious with the “random” logo change. Consumers took to Gap’s Twitter and Facebook pages to voice criticisms which included the logo “looks like a child made it,” is “a joke” and “amateur.”

Gap’s then-president, Marka Hansen, took to Facebook to thank everyone for their logo-input, stated that Gap was “thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding” and asked the online community to share their designs. Completing their statement with: “we love our version, but we would like to see others ideas.” After the social media strategy warranted few responses from the online community, Gap ditched their new logo, and returned to their old one. Gap execs fired Hansen weeks after the failed redesign attempt. Yikes.

KFC

In 2007, KFC announced its decision to revamp its logo, wanting to make it more representative of KFC’s founder, Colonel Sanders. KFC replaced the Colonel’s white suit jackets for a red apron and softened his features so he appeared friendlier; however, keeping the rule of just noticeable difference in mind, KFC kept his signature bow tie, glasses and goatee.

The redesign also featured brighter colors. The smiling Colonel is displayed against a red background that connects his red apron with the company name in thick lettering below his chin. The revamped logo appeared fresher and much more visually striking than the old logo. Consumers said via KFC’s official Facebook, “The restaurant’s image looks much more friendly for kids and the family.”

KFC succeeded in sprucing up the logo without taking away the important and memorable aspects of the design; the change ended up being very effective for the chain’s consumers and users, enhancing their identification with the brand rather than destroying it.

 

So there you have it; changing logos can be risky–the new logo can be a complete failure (but simultaneously be great for publicity) or a total hit. Ultimately brands have a duty to keep current while simultaneously not completely altering their image.

How do you feel when a brand updates its logo? Tell us in the comments.

Cover Photo Source: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Danielle is a junior executive at SJG. She earned her BS in Advertising with a minor in English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Danielle fully believes that God accidentally added extra ingredients to form her. Outside of the office, you can find her in Los Angeles training Kobe Bryant for his next championship ring, while secretly trying to win over his heart. (This is not a Joke!)