Have you seen a noticeable shift in brand logos lately and wondered why longstanding brands have changed their logos? Besides a general need to refresh a logo after a number of years, some of the most recognizable brands in the world have shifted their logos from containing unconventional typography, shapes and figures, to something more simplified to represent their brand.

For example, many of the top fashion retailers in the world have changed their wordmark logos from wide-kerning serif fonts—fonts which have small decorative strokes on letters with lots of space in between letters—to thin-kerning sans-serif fonts—fonts which have no decorative strokes on letters and little spacing between letters.

Even the once-popular combination or mark logos, that have both a wordmark and either a shape, figure or mascot, are seeing a decline. Just think about the change to the Starbucks logo back in 2011. They were an early adopter, removing the Starbucks Coffee wording from the logo and keeping the infamous green siren in the circle as a pictorial logo.  

But why is there such a shift in these popular and recognizable brand logos? It has to do with the digital market and the needs of the consumer. 

The Digitization of Logos 

Many of the logos have changed, are logos that were once a mix of serif fonts, various textures, shapes, and colours. While these logos worked well for the pre-digital marketing world, they are much harder to work with when it comes to marketing in a digital space. 

Logos that are visually complicated pose a problem when translating them to digital purposes, like for websites, advertising, apps and social media.

Think about a logo on a website. If a logo is crowded with a serif font, or too many colours and shapes, it can look cluttered when placed in a website’s navigation bar or a footer. It can also create sizing issues. Many older logos take up space in height and width, which makes them harder to size in the case of an app, social media post or a mobile website. 

The shift to make logos simplified is a practical case. If brands want to appeal to the digital consumer, then their presence needs to be easily seen. 

Making Logos Easy to Understand and Accessible

Another reason logos have become more simple is because of studies on how people consume information. Humans like to be presented with things that are easily understood. If someone has to stare at a logo for a while to make sense of it, not only are they going to have slight frustration, but they’re likely not going to remember it in the future. 

Simplifying logos makes them easier for the consumer to take in, giving them fewer obstacles to interacting with your brand. It also helps with overall accessibility for your brand. If someone who has a visual impairment can easily see the fonts in your brand name or the shapes in your logo, it makes it more welcoming and less of a barrier in their life. 

A Simplified Logo Doesn’t Mean Boring or Similar 

If you’re worried about your logo and if it will be boring or too similar to other brands once you simplify it, it’s time to put those worries aside. 

Simplifying a logo can actually give you the opportunity to focus on the essence of your brand and how to display it in the least complicated way. It’s a time to dig in and understand the tone you want to convey, who your audience is, and what you want people to feel when seeing your logo.

Let’s say you’re a fitness facility, and you want to go from a combination mark logo to a wordmark but want to maintain that your brand represents strength. You can still convey strength through the colour choice and the font choice. Or, you can opt for a pictorial logo, that shows an arm holding a weight in your brand colours.

The Process of Simplifying a Logo 

Making a simplified logo can be a challenging process, and it’s extremely normal for a logo to go through a variety of changes in the refresh or redesign process until you get to one that truly represents your brand. 

Getting external help from a design agency that has experience in logo refreshes or complete logo redesigns can help you make those harder decisions to match your brand tone and strategy. Check out 9dot Digital’s graphic design services to learn more about our logo work and branding strategies.