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Agency Off Record

Lazy Logos

I admit to being a bit of a purist when it comes to logos. A logo is very powerful. It is visual shorthand for your company’s identity, and very often what people look for first when they are seeking a brand they trust. This trust is hard-earned, often built over years of successful delivery on your brand’s promise, and it can be lost in an instant if customers feel their loyalty has been betrayed. That loyalty is anchored in the familiarity with your brand, and can be threatened by the introduction of an unsuccessful product (New Coke, anyone?), or even an unpopular logo design.

Example: over the past several years, a number of highly-recognizable brands have changed their logos—or tried to—with disastrous results. Tropicana tried to update their logo and packaging and consumer backlash was such that they ended up reverting to the original packaging. The Gap had a similar experience when they tried to introduce a new logo in 2010.

This is not to say that you can’t change your logo; many companies have done so successfully. Typically, successful logo redesigns maintain the DNA of the company, they are thoughtful and well-executed, and may even represent the company better than the original. Many of the unsuccessful redesigns, as I see it, are quite simply lazy. In many cases, such as with sandwich chain Blimpie (see example below), the redesign stripped away all the personality, familiarity, and whimsy of their original logo in favor of a flavorless type treatment set in Futura Extra Bold.

What do you think of the redesigns below?

Old Tropicana Packaging. The custom typography has personality, the orange with the straw is iconic!

New Tropicana logo and packaging: looks like generic drug-store orange juice.

JCPenney seems to be having an identity crisis with three logos in as many years. Here’s 2010…


…and 2012. Ugh.

Blimpie Old and New. Oh, Blimpie…what were you thinking?

WeightWatchers Old and New. Beyond bland.

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