Bad Logos Are a Dime a Dozen

Updating your logo isn't cheap. You're looking at the cost of a professional designer plus the cost of replacing signage, banners, business cards, and all the other print collateral you may have, as well as some website updates. But an outdated, unoriginal, or just plain bad brand / logo might be costing you even more in lost revenue.

Everybody has a friend, a cousin, or a kid who wants to create the logo for their newest business venture, and they’re willing to do it on the cheap. The phrase, "They're pretty artistic, and they can do a better job than I can," has gotten countless businesses into a bad brand that they can't escape.

If you have a bad logo (and therefore a bad brand), you are certainly not alone. Having a sentimental attachment to your logo isn't necessarily a bad thing. Those friends, cousins, and kids might actually be quite creative and have some good ideas. The real trouble lies in their lack of experience and overall brand knowledge.

A logo sets the precedent for the entire brand, and a brand needs to be so much more than just an icon or your company name in a specific font. A brand (especially today) needs to be unique and eye-catching. It should express who you are as a company as well as define the voice and tone in which your company should be portrayed.

It must also provide all the right assets in all the right formats, allowing suppliers outside your organization to create something that represents your company accurately.

Maybe your logo was professionally created — in 1980. If so, your logo might simply be outdated. When it was created in 1980, it was the bomb, but now it's a dud. In 1980, websites didn't exist, nor did digital billboards or Google Ads.

Technology has made leaps and bounds, and if your logo was created in 1980, it wasn't created for what it's being used for today. It's likely that it can't even be translated into something usable without being completely re-created by a designer every time you send it somewhere different (costing you money each time).

A Bad Logo Can Be Costly

Imagine this scenario:

You are going to a show, and you want a great big 8 foot long banner with your logo stretched across it. You send the printer a .png file of your logo (which has tons of gradients and a drop shadow in it) thinking, "That ought to work just fine. My web guy had no problems with it." In any case, that's all you have.

A few days later, you receive your banner and it looks great! You pay your bill and head to your show.

Everything seems fine and dandy. But what you don't know is that your bill likely included several hours of unnecessary design time. Your web-resolution logo was unsuitable for print in such a large format. Had they printed it as you sent it, it would have been an unidentifiable, blurry blob. So the designer recreated the logo from scratch in a format that would print properly. Depending on the printer's rates, that logo could have cost you hundreds of dollars.

If you're lucky, that printer will keep their recreated version of your logo on hand for the next time you order a banner. If you're not lucky, they will charge you to recreate it every time. And you'll have to pay again and again for every different print shop or product vendor you use.

What if your print vendor doesn't have designers on staff? Maybe they print what you send them, in which case the product you receive will have an unidentifiable, blurry blob on it where your logo should have been.

Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. Maybe it is identifiable, but just a little blurry. Crisis averted, right?

Wrong. Why? Because humans are judgy.

It's human nature to pass judgment and form opinions based on the way something looks. After all, that's the whole reason why we design anything, right? We want to present ourselves and our businesses in the best way possible, so that potential customers start off with the best possible impression.

If your first impression is subpar, customers will think your business is subpar. If you don't take the time or pay close attention to your own materials, how do they know that you will take the time or pay close enough attention to the work you do for them?

Furthermore, if your logo is outdated or poorly designed, how do they know that your products aren't outdated or poorly designed? You can't deny that what you put forward reflects directly upon you.

Is My Logo Bad?

This is not a black-and-white answer. Certainly, if you don't have an official and consistent mark that functions as your logo, or your logo originated from clip-art, or it was pulled from a Google image search, or you commonly have to answer questions about your logo (explaining what it is or why it's your logo), then you have a poorly executed logo.

Additionally, if your logo has not been updated for over 20 years, has a drop shadow, or is not available to you in vector format, it's time for an update. If you don’t have multiple versions of your logo in multiple colors and multiple formats along with standard colors and fonts, then it's at least time for a little work.

Your Solution

If you have a poorly executed logo (or barely any logo at all), then you have 2 options: a rebrand or an update. What's the difference?

A rebrand is a complete overhaul of the visual representation of your business. It is useful if your company is now offering different products or services, has evolved into something larger with more products or services, or simply wants to start over with a clean slate.

A rebrand usually includes few, if any, aspects of the original look. While a rebrand is a reset button for the look and feel of a business — a chance to start fresh and make the face of the business match its personality — it can be risky. If your business has a large customer base, changing your appearance completely can cause existing customers to be unable to recognize you, possibly leading to a loss of sales.

A complete rebrand could cost a pretty penny, depending on who you bring in to help you. Since you are starting from scratch, you (or your agency) have a lot of work to do.

At Storm Cloud Marketing, our New Brand Development Package includes research and designs from 3 in-house designers who will work closely with you to develop a timeless brand that you will love, complete with a multi-page brand guide describing core identity, primary, secondary and tertiary logo variations and usage instructions, color palette and graphic elements, typography, voice and tone guidelines, and imagery suggestions. You also receive a Google Drive link to a file with all of your assets in multiple formats.

A brand update is like a facelift (or as mild as a spa treatment). It often keeps the most identifiable aspects of your current look, retaining its recognizability, while modernizing and simplifying the overall feel.

An update also gives you the chance to ensure that you truly have a complete brand, along with all of the assets and guidelines that accompany it. Additionally, if you have a less-than-ideal logo that you are emotionally attached to, an update gives you the opportunity to keep the basic idea of what you already have, but make it better.

Let's Do Some Math

There is no good or accurate way to measure how many potential clients choose NOT to give your company a chance based solely on aesthetics, so there is no way to tell just how much revenue your bad logo is costing you. But we guarantee that it is, and that number could stretch well into the thousands.

Here are a few statistics that might help you see what a bad logo could be costing you:

  • 60% of consumers say they avoid brands that have odd, unattractive, or unappealing logos, regardless if they received good reviews. (Study Finds)
  • 42% of consumers say that a logo effectively conveys a company’s personality. (Study Finds)
  • 60% to 90% of a person's subconscious judgment about a product is based on color alone. (Singh)
  • 10 seconds are enough for people to form an opinion about a logo. (Crowdspring)
  • Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. (Forbes)
  • 78% of consumers believe that logos are works of art. (Study Finds)
  • Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (Forbes)
  • 76% of the leading brands’ designs only have one or two colors in their main logos. (DesignCrowd)

Remember, when you update your logo, you don't have to update everything at the same time. This can be a process and sometimes, a slow transition is good because it helps current customers get used to your new look. Use up your old business cards before ordering new ones, and replace your banners and flyers as the need arises.

  • New Logo: $2,500-ish
  • Outdoor Sign: $2,000
  • Door Vinyl: $50
  • Business Cards: $50
  • Additional Print Materials or Website Updates: $500
  • Total Initial Cost of Brand Update: $5,100-ish

Let's say your business currently has a revenue of $10,000 per month and a really terrible logo. If 60% of consumers avoid brands that have odd, unattractive, or unappealing logos, regardless if they received good reviews (remember the statistics from above?), this means you've only captured 40% of your potential customer base. Your bad logo could be costing you the opportunity to make $15,000 more per month!

True, 100% capture is a lofty goal, but if a better logo leads you to capture just 20% more customers, you'll be able to pay for your brand update in a single month. With only 5% more customers captured, the initial cost of your update can be recouped in a little over 4 months.

Is your bad logo really worth keeping? You decide.

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