More than just a logo

When a high-profile company launches a new identity, three comments from the public are almost guaranteed: “my five-year-old could have done that”, “£200k for a squiggle? What a rip-off” and “it looks like a bum”.

While most designers have become thick-skinned, it hides a deeper problem for brands launching new identities.

With all the attention on the logo, the full effect of the rebrand – what it means for consumers, stakeholders and staff – can easily be overlooked.

Critiquing a new logo is easy to do. Understanding the story of how a company is changing internal and external perceptions of itself is more difficult.

The British Heart Foundation rebrand is a good example. It doesn’t have a new logo, instead the BHF, with design agency The Partners, developed a new proposition – Fight for Every Heartbeat, which is expressed through tone of voice, visual communication and, crucially internal organisation.

The rebrand work focused on highlighting the stories of people in the organisation and bringing them together to share learning and successes.

Wolff Olins’s 2012 rebrand of USA Today provides a similar example. The logo is a basic roundel, but the real work came with how the new identity unified the media brand’s activities and rolled out into a stronger, simpler editorial design across both print and digital.

Following the rebrand, USA Today’s digital revenues increased by more than 69 per cent and first quarter profits were up 53 per cent.

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This viewpoint piece originally appeared as part of a Marketing Week feature on logo design. You can read the feature in full here.

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