Last Updated: January, 2020
by David King

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Everything in life changes with time, and company logos are no exception.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s most iconic company logo changes and the corporate reasons for why they decided to change.

If you’re thinking of creating a company or a new logo, don’t be afraid to revisit the idea of updating it at any point.

Most large companies spend a lot of time reviewing their branding while looking for new ways to optimize and update their company image.

This includes brand messaging and the overall visual aesthetic appearance.

In a normal situation, these changes are only on the surface, while the core values of the company stay the same and only the branding changes.

Revisit your brand image whenever you feel like it might be lacking; it can be a living part of your company that changes with you.

Some examples of reasons businesses change their logo:

  • To keep up with the times
  • To have technology- or social media-relevant branding
  • To create a buzz or start conversations
  • Because the company’s services, goals or focus has changed
  • To stay on top of industry trends
  • To cater to customer feelings

Below are some of our favorite and most interesting logo changes, including the reasons given by the companies.

 

1. Microsoft Office:

Head of Microsoft Office design, Jon Friedman explained the thinking behind the redesigns: “From the get-go, we embraced the Office’s rich history and used it to inform design decisions. Strong colors have always been at the core of the Office brand, and the new icons are a chance to evolve our palette. Color differentiates apps and creates personality, and for the new icons, we chose hues that are bolder, lighter and friendlier. While each icon has a unique and identifiable symbol, there are connections within each app’s symbol and the collective suite.”

 

2. Slack:

While the company said it liked elements of its original logo, its 11 colors made it very easy to get wrong, the firm said in a blog post.

“If placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18-degree rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible. It pained us … simply awful,” the post, authored by Slack Team, stated.

The new version uses fewer colors but isn’t a million miles from the original, Slack said. It worked with design agency Pentagram on the project, led by partner Michael Bierut, and considered using emojis, dots and different versions of the hashtag (or “octothorp”) when creating the new logo according to a post on Pentagram’s website.

 

3. Vrbo:

From a simple one-color font, to a more lively and colorful one, Vrbo’s latest logo certainly inspires a fun-filled vacation more than the previous one did. Not only did the look of the company’s logo change, but so did the sound.

In an official release, Vrbo said, “Throughout the years, we’ve noticed that many of our loyal fans pronounce our name ‘ver-boh’ instead of V-R-B-O. We conducted research and learned that ‘ver-boh’ is easier to remember and easier to say in other languages, so we decided to make it official by changing our brand name from an abbreviation to a word: VRBO is now Vrbo.”

 

4. Domino’s Pizza:

The new logo, designed by CP+B, jumps on the bandwagon of a recent aesthetic trend—dropping some, if not all, of a company’s name.

“We’d like to reach the point where we’re as recognized as the Nike swoosh or the Golden Arches,” Russell Weiner, Domino’s Pizza chief marketing officer, said in a press release.

 

5. IHOP:

Freed of the blue box prison and heavy drop shadows, the new logo feels lighter, more modern, and younger—a nod to the fact that IHOP wants to cater to a younger crowd. The logo certainly looks cleaner and will prove to be far more flexible than its predecessor. Already, the new identity works much better on IHOP’s various touchpoints, including mugs, menus, and signage.

 

6. Youtube:

According to the company, the new logo allows for a more flexible design that works better across a variety of devices, even on the tiniest screens. This is because when space is limited, for instance on smartphones, the brightened icon can be used as an abbreviated logo, which can be seen more easily.

 

7. Absolut:

 

Having formerly consisted of 3 rather cluttered lines, Absolut’s decided it was time to drop the unneeded extra text in their logo and go with a more simplistic version.

“The brand has become so iconic that we no longer needed the full three-line logo to convey ourselves,” said Anna Kamjou, Absolut’s global director of Design Strategy. “By removing ‘Country of Sweden’, and ‘Vodka’, we’re putting the focus on the most important part of the brand–Absolut. The word itself not only means the perfect, the complete, and the ultimate, but it also means the open-ended, infinite and indefinite.”

 

8. Instagram:

According to Ian Spalter, Instagram’s head of design, the company’s now-retired camera icon “was beginning to feel…not reflective of the community.” 

“We started with the basics”, he said further, “removed ornamentation, and flattened the icon. And we arrived at a brighter, flatter option…we knew that people loved the rainbow, and the camera lens was a key visual element. As a part of our process, we also asked people at the company to draw the Instagram icon from memory in 5 seconds. Almost all of them drew the rainbow, lens, and viewfinder. With this insight, we decided to translate these elements into a more modern app icon that strikes a balance between recognition and versatility.”

 

9. Walmart:

Why the logo switch? It’s a nod to the digital era and its biggest rival, Amazon. The logo change was “part of an ongoing evolution of its overall brand.”

 

10. Visa:

Visa unveiled a new design for its corporate wordmark, dropping the color gold from the design entirely for the first time. This might seem like an arbitrary corporate tinkering at first, but there may be more here than meets the eye.

Visa has not only dropped Pantone 1375 from its wordmark, but it also incorporates a deeper shade of blue, shears some of the letterings slightly, and introduces a horizontal gradient. At first, like with many big company logo changes, the reaction has been ambivalent at best, and hostile at worst.

 

11. Animal Planet:

Animal Planet unveiled a new logo that brought back the elephant from the 1996–2008 logo. The rebranding symbolizes a new mission of “keeping the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way.”

 

12. MasterCard:

While the interlocking red and yellow circles are here to stay, Mastercard’s rebrand is missing something big: its name. Raja Rajamannar, the company’s chief marketing and communications officer told the Wall Street Journal that Mastercard conducted nearly two years of research to make sure people could identify its wordless logo.

“Reinvention in the digital age calls for modern simplicity,” Rajamannar said, “and with more than 80 percent of people spontaneously recognizing the Mastercard symbol without the word ‘Mastercard,’ we felt ready to take this next step into our brand evolution.”

 

13. MailChimp:

The redesign includes an updated logo, color palette, wordmark and typeface, new imagery and illustrations. The MailChimp marketing platform has been rebranded with the help of Collins and R/GA, in a move to unify the brand while allowing space for creativity.

The winking chimp logo, known as Freddie, has been simplified to ensure it works at any size, according to MailChimp. The wordmark, which was previously in a script design, has been replaced with a bold sans-serif font, all in lower-case letters.

 

14. Starbucks:

When you see a mermaid, do you think of coffee? Starbucks hopes so. They actually call it a “siren” as the company consistently calls it.

“Throughout the last four decades, the Siren has been there through it all. And now, we’ve given her a small but meaningful update,” wrote Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz on the company’s website. In the accompanying video, Mr. Schultz says, “It embraces and respects our heritage, and at the same time evolves us to a point where we feel it’s more suitable for the future.”

 

15. AirBnb:

DesignStudio managed to get Airbnb’s attention after being shortlisted along with eight other design firms, and finally landed the opportunity to redesign the successful travel company’s logo. Airbnb named the logo the Bélo, which is intended to convey “belonging.” 

 

Big Company Logo Changes Conclusions:

A lot of people ask, what exactly is branding?

Branding is the process of giving meaning to a specific organization, company, product, or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds.

It’s a strategy used by companies and organizations to help people quickly identify and experience a brand, and to give prospective customers a reason to choose it over a competitor.

 

What is the value of branding and who does it affect?

The objective is to attract and retain loyal customers by delivering a product that is always aligned with what the brand promises and speaks to.

 

Consumers:

As discussed above, a brand provides consumers with a decision-making shortcut when feeling indecisive about the same product from a different company.

Would you rather buy a new computer product from Apple or a company that just entered the market?

 

Employees/shareholders/third-parties:

Besides helping consumers to distinguish similar products, successful branding strategies also add to a company’s reputation. This asset can affect a range of people, from consumers to employees, investors, shareholders, providers, and distributors.

As an example, if you don’t like or feel connected to a brand, you’d probably not work for it.

However, if you feel like the brand understands you and offers products that inspire you, you would want to work for it and be part of its world.

 

Lastly – How is it done?

Companies tend to use different tools to create and shape a brand.

For example, branding can be achieved through:

  • Brand definition: purpose, values, promise
  • Brand positioning statement
  • Brand identity: name, tone of voice, visual identity design (which includes the logo design, color palette, typography)
  • Advertising & communications: TV, radio, print magazines, outdoor ads, websites, mobile apps, sponsoring and partnerships
  • Product and packaging design
  • In-store experience
  • Workspace experience and management style
  • Customer service
  • Pricing strategy

 


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