Why a new logo IS NOT the key to a great redesign

Nov 18, 2023

How old logos and been done in modern times. Why heartbeat believes logos are

Understanding the evolution of visual identity in branding

Building with the visual identity is not about squeezing every drop out of a logo. Centuries ago, our ancestors used complex graphical depictions to represent things that they believed in. These were comprehensive images that encapsulated a whole idea behind a country, business, or authority. They were created in various forms, ranging from intricate designs on coins to elaborate state symbols. For instance, both the obverse and reverse of a coin would feature details representative of a state or culture, providing insights into its origin, value, and cultural significance. This approach was more than an artistic choice; it was a necessity in a world with fewer mediums of expression.

The limitations of overloading meaning into logos

Using that same approach today, by attempting to infuse every possible meaning and idea into a logo, can be counterproductive. Such an approach can place severe restrictions on the design and brand perception of your digital product. This focus on over-detailing might inadvertently limit the scalability and adaptability of your brand's visual identity. To explore the transformation of branding strategies and their impact on businesses, discover more about our process.

Historical examples of visual symbolism

UK coat of arms and attic athens tetradrachm

To illustrate, consider the UK’s coat of arms, a complex image brimming with details to convey numerous ideas and meanings. Similarly, the ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm from Athens displayed significant symbols tied to the state. Back then, such representations were standard due to the limited variety of expression mediums. There wasn't a need to combine multiple elements like a marquee, emblem, flag, or coat of arms into a cohesive visual identity, as modern businesses do.

Modern interpretation of logos that were once old.

In today's world, popular design platforms like Dribbble showcase a plethora of logo designs. While these designs are structurally sound and aesthetically appealing, they often bear a striking resemblance to historical visuals in terms of their detail and symbolism. Although modern designs tend to be simpler, many still incorporate intricate elements like shadows, blurs, and gradients. These designs are not inherently problematic; the real challenge lies in ensuring that they align with the brand's identity and goals. For insights on creating a visually appealing and effective brand identity, explore our branding exercises for startups.

Redefining the role of logos in modern digital products

The logo, while significant, is merely a dot in the grand sentence of Visual Identity. In today's digital landscape, logos play a small yet pivotal role in representing your product. For co-founders, CEOs, and digital product owners, understanding the broader context of a brand's visual identity is crucial. Elements like the marketing website, web-app, email newsletters, and printed materials all play a part in shaping a brand's identity. Unlike in the past, a single image no longer suffices for all these applications due to the vast array of digital platforms available.

Moving beyond logo-centric design

Being logo-centric, or focusing solely on embedding every feature of your product into one image, is no longer a viable strategy. In the era of Google searches, users often come across your company with prior knowledge about your product. Overloading a logo with information can lead to confusion and hinder user understanding. Instead, the key lies in scalability and strategic thinking. This approach allows your target audience to connect with your product on different levels, even without seeing the logo. Consistency across all mediums, be it a website, ad banner, or offline marketing materials, is achieved through a unified Visual Identity System. For an in-depth look at how branding can shape your digital identity, consider exploring our insights on startup branding essentials.

case study: BibliU’s visual identity journey

Take, for example, the logo we designed for BibliU, an edtech startup from London. The logo was conceptualized with the idea that "B" represents not just a book but content accessible across various devices, symbolizing the gateway to new knowledge.

This approach illustrates how a simple logo can embody a broader concept and integrate seamlessly with different aspects of a brand's visual identity.

Emphasizing multiple points of contact

It’s vital to create multiple "points of contact" with the user. By studying BibliU’s product, we developed a shape that resonated across all their platforms, including their marketing website, social media, and print materials. This cohesive visual identity effectively communicated their product to the target audience. The success of BibliU's visual identity demonstrates the power of combining scalability, consistency, and a meaningful idea into a tangible brand experience.

Navigating strategic thinking and visual identity for startups

For emerging businesses or startups in their initial stages, developing a strategic approach to Visual Identity can be challenging, especially with limited resources. A practical starting point is to engage in a Brand Canvas exercise with your co-founders. This process can lay the groundwork for your first visuals, helping you to conceptualize rough ideas. As your strategy evolves, changes can be made to the Brand Canvas, aligning it with new insights or directions. Ultimately, this foundation paves the way for a more structured engagement with a Visual Identity project. For startups looking for initial guidance or a simpler approach, Implse offers tailored solutions to meet your unique needs.