Logo Help: Can a bad logo be a good identity?

By | April 29, 2016


Without the right reasoning, rebranding is not the best marketing investment

I see really poorly executed logos all the time. At times I loathe using a client’s poorly designed logo, but as a marketer I recognize that offending my design sensibilities is not a good enough reason to rebrand.

A story of rebranding
When I had our first meeting to discuss the Transforming Center brand, they communicated that they were open to changing everything, including their logo. They were surprised when I recommended that we don’t pursue a new logo. What designer would pass up an opportunity to design a new logo?

Two things to consider before rebranding
A good rebranding is built on a foundation of strategic thought. Consider these two facts:

  1. Rebranding sends a powerful message to your audience — “something is fundamentally different about us.” If there isn’t anything different, you will be losing brand equity (defined as repeated exposure resulting in recognition and trust) and confuse people because they will subconsciously be thinking that something is changing.
  2. Rebranding is very costly to execute because it touches every aspect of a business (from invoices to signage and about a billion little things in between). It seems obvious, but often people underestimate the amount of change required to rebrand.

When is a bad time to rebrand?

If you have no new message, if your mission is unchanged, your strategy is the same, and there is no organizational change (new leadership), then rebranding is an extremely costly way to tell your audience that nothing has changed!

So are you stuck with that bad logo?
Many things can be done to improve a poorly executed logo. The Transforming Center’s identity had some problems, though I would not put it in the “horrible” category. It did not reproduce well in small sizes, and the image was so abstract (sea grass) that it looked more like a flower. Spire2 recommended the logo be updated to fix these problems and ensure that the logo will handle the future growth of the brand (including brand extensions).

The goals of the update:

  • Make sure the logo reproduced well at small sizes.
  • Improve recognition of imagery.
  • Bring more movement to the logo.
About the logo: Blowing sea grass is a beautiful image of biblical leadership. Sea grass must grow a deep network of roots and be connected to other sea grass plants to prevent erosion of the beach. God never intended a “lone ranger” style of leadership, and the work of the Transforming Center is about strengthening the souls of pastors in community so they can guide their churches and organizations to become spiritually transforming communities that discern and do the will of God. Wind was the manifestation of the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Having the wind blowing the sea grass creates movement in the logo and speaks to the fact that the Holy Spirit is the channel for spiritual transformation.

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Jeffery James
Jeffery James
Jeffery is the Creative Director and Principal of Spire2. He brings marketing expertise from a variety of industries. He excels at understanding clients' corporate objectives, translating them into brand positioning and executing marketing materials that exceed expectations.