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Logo Change Has to Happen All at Once

Logo Change Has to Happen All at Once

Posted May 23, 2011 by Jerod Clark

It was March 1, 2010, when Caribou Coffee, the second largest coffee chain in the U.S., introduced their new logo.  Yet more than a year later, all of the Caribou’s around me still have the old logo on their main signs.  The cups, printed materials and door signage have all changed, but the biggest display of each store is still stuck with the old logo.  Sure, the logo didn’t undergo a huge change; basically they just smoothed out the old logo to make a new one.  But, still, it seems like by now they should be changed.

As churches, we’re not strangers to rolling out new logos.  Some of us make it a biennial tradition.  But this Caribou identity crisis gets me thinking about why it’s important to change everything all at once when you launch a new logo.

  • If it’s not important enough to update your biggest, most identifiable sign, why make the change at all?  Logos are a graphical expression of your organizations personality.  Caribou said it made the change to better express who they are to their customers.  If it really is important to revamp the way you express yourself, do it all at once.
  • Mixed logos show you have a split personality.  Caribou’s change was subtle.  But when an organization makes a more dramatic logo change, keeping the old one around on certain things shows you don’t really know who you are.  Plus, I think there can be confusion for people when they see to different identities for a business or organization.
  • Budget for change.  It’s expensive to change logos.   So much has to be updated.  Signs, stationary, name badges, promotional materials, website graphics, printed stuff, etc.  All of it needs to change at the same time so plan accordingly and ask if it’s really worth the change.  Cost shouldn’t be a deterrent if the logo needs to change to better reflect your identity.  But if you’re doing it on a whim the cost may be too much of a burden.
  • Be patient.  It’s exciting when you finally land on a new logo.  You want to show it off.  But phasing it in doesn’t work well.  Wait until you have everything ready with the logo change.  Launch it all at once.  Not only will everything look consistent, but it will give a big splash, too.  You can use the momentum of the logo change to recast your churches vision or promote some sort of event.
  • Explain the change to staff members, key volunteers and the congregation at large.  Not everyone has the same understanding of why branding and communications strategies are important.  Explain why there’s a new logo and why it’s more than just a graphical change.  The more buy in you have from people, the better the transition will go.  

Overall, the big point I’m trying to make is this: Be intentional when you’re changing a logo.   Have a reason for doing it and have a plan for actually implementing the change.  If you’re not being intentional, chances are other people won’t take the change seriously either.

Filed under: Branding, Logo

About the Author

Jerod Clark

Jerod joined ReFrame Media in 2007 and built Church Juice from scratch. He poured all his passion for branding, marketing, and messaging into the ministry, publishing e-books, blog posts, and speaking at conferences to help churches energize their communications. He also served as ReFrame’s in-house graphic designer. Before beginning his work at Church Juice, Jerod was a local TV news reporter. In 2016, Jerod stepped away from the ministry to pursue interests in marketing and communications on new horizons.

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Comments (5)

  • Steve Thomas
    3:30 PM
    Mon, May 23, 2011

    Beautiful Jerod! You’re right on target. It’s difficult to make a logo change and make it “across the board” but worth it.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    st

  • Paul
    4:17 AM
    Tue, May 24, 2011

    Interesting stuff.  Would have been good if you could have found some stats that showed how the sign MIGHT have effected their sales.  I agree with everything written but wondered if there was actually more to say!  Just a thought.  Love Church Juice!

  • Marc Miller
    9:57 AM
    Tue, May 24, 2011

    I’ll disagree that Caribou’s logo change was subtle. They changed the fonts and made the animal more abstract. Subtle was Starbuck’s choice to just push in on their existing logo.

  • Mike Bentley
    4:58 PM
    Thu, May 26, 2011

    As a pastor who spent 15 years as a corporate identity designer & illustrator, I can assure you – there is a dumptruck full of considerations that go into logo rollouts for local churches (or denominations). One of the dangers that I see in your article is giant:

    “Sure, the logo didn’t undergo a huge change; basically they just smoothed out the old logo to make a new one.”

    • The stylization of the caribou, and incorporating a coffee bean into the body creates a visual focus on their main product;
    • Changing the direction of the caribou’s jump increases readability;
    • The symmetrical redesign of the background shield suggests trust and reliability;
    • The choice of fonts increases a focus on the brand name while still retaining a hand-crafted impression.
    These are huge changes. The danger is, most people don’t notice it. Why? Subtlety? Color? Similar antlered animal? Fact is, most discussions on church logos comes down to ‘deaconal concerns:’ “They paid how much for that?” If your church’s/denomination’s visual identity doesn’t make a strong impact in favor of a certain ministry presence or direction, you may hear waayyy too much from ‘concerned parishioners’ about a waste of funds and lack of vision.

    Be careful.

  • Tasha
    9:09 PM
    Tue, Dec 6, 2011

    Wow, you really convinced me!  I definitely have the kind of personality where I would want to change one thing at a time as money came in, but I have a lot to think about now!  I didn’t even think about it as giving off a a “don’t know who you are” vibe, but I can definitely see how it would give that experience.  You think to yourself as a member of the church, “wait, are we moving forward, or keeping things the way they are.”  Anyway, we are long overdue for some change at my church, just out of curiosity, have you heard of http://www.logogarden.com?  We don’t have a paid person who works on graphics, so I was looking at using a service like that.  Do you know if that would be a good option for a smaller church?  Thanks in advance!

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