A logo is the visual representation of your company’s identity that differentiates a product from being a commodity. Consumers are exposed to thousands of logos throughout the day and it’s difficult to remember each one of them. And hence its imperative for the brands to differentiate not just by the visual logos but something else. Therefore the logos of each brands should strike a personal cord else its just a colourful visual for the consumer. Every logo must have a meaning for every element else its just a creative, it should stay true to the brands identity yet being fashionable/modern.
Some of the large brands keep updating or changing their logos regularly, and some of their changes are more drastic than others. Some of history’s biggest logo evolution’s were a step forward for their companies, but others prompted a negative response from customers. But why do brands change logo’s is still a huge question I often ask, is it really necessary ?
One thing I have observed over the years, the time when top management changes the logos seem to change, I guess it’s the quickest way to announce an arrival of a big change that big boss has made. But there are times when genuinely the logo change is the need of the hour, particularly when the brand has faced some flak from the consumers for an issue or issues. And the brand wants to respond back that we have changed not just visuals but everything that the consumer wanted them to change in the brand, logo is just one visual that connotes the change.
Let’s take a look at some of the logo progressions of all time.
Starbucks Logo – Gradual and towards modernity
Starbucks is a good example of a logo progression that eases customers into a new style while preserving the essence of their old logo. The key reason for the last logo change was to remove ‘COFFEE’ from the logo which the company felt was limiting it in its plan to expand to products other than Coffee.
Also the changes are subtle and will not alienate the loyalist if we see the logos in sequence.
Canon Logo – Extreme but much-needed
Canon was the first organization to manufacture Japan’s first 35mm camera and was originally known for Seikikōgaku kenkyūsho (meaning Precision Optical Industry Co) that was called the “Kwanon.” This early 1934 Canon logo depicts an ancient Asian Buddhist female sitting on a lotus flower with thousands of arms. Soon Canon removed the visual depiction of Kwanon, and in 1935 decided to change its name to Canon instead. This name and logo change opened up to a more international market from 1947 onwards and they have done well since then.
Apple Logo – Modernization personified
Was surprised to see how Apple looked back in 1976 when they first launched. The logo was vintage styled on designed by Ron Wayne that featured a pastoral scene of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. This logo was extremely wannabe and Steve Jobs noticed the same and later that year hired graphic designer Rob Janoff, who simplified the logo to just an apple and included a bite so that it wouldn’t be confused with a cherry. Steve Jobs insisted that Janoff also make it colorful, as back then tech companies were perceived to be non exciting. So to humanize the company and make it seem more welcoming for the average, non-tech-savvy user colours were used. But today, Apple has adopted a modern and premium look to match its smooth and glossy products like the IMac, Ipad, Iphone, etc.
Nokia Logo – From Fish to Phones, an eventful journey
Nokia when started actually had a fishy logo, but that’s because Nokia has gone through some tough changes since its launch. It started as a Finnish paper mill, and then they opened a second mill near the town of Nokia on the Nokianvirta river. Since then, Nokia ventured into several sectors over the years, including cable, mobile devices, paper products, rubber boots and tires, and telecommunications infrastructure equipment that is clear in their logo evolution. But before the Microsoft acquisition Nokia was known as a reputed mobile manufacturer.
Now lets take a look at logo evolution’s that didn’t go well.
At times brands try to do too much or very little that ends up confusing their loyal customers and spells disaster. And then they end up retracting their blunders.
Gap Logo – Playing with the logo doesn’t pay all the time
In 2010 Gap wanted to make their logo more contemporary and hence they changed from their original blue and white box to something that they considered modern. The new logo received a lot of flak from the consumers and they perceived as if it was something someone at GAP tried in MS Office templates. The original Gap logo was well-accepted by the consumers and they already perceived it to be modern and premium looking. They did the same mistake again in 2012 and again went back to the original blue and white logo.
Kraft Logo – Too much creativity makes brand forget their ethos
Kraft is a 100 yr old organization and surely they too would have changed their logos in this period. And during all this time they a distinct logo of a red band outside the text, but in a 2009 press release Kraft announced that they were giving their “logo a face-lift to more clearly deliver ‘delicious’” through a colorful burst and a blue line reminiscent of a smile. Although there were some fans of this particular logo but it was perceived to be very different from the original and hence not Kraft. More colours, lower case characters and importantly no red band meant that consumers couldn’t easily recognize the Kraft products on shelves. Hence they had to go back to basics and get the red band and text inside.
To be continued with Part II of the blog that will have the Google Logo Evolution and the conclusion…..