A logo is the foundation of an organization’s visual brand identity. It needs to capture the essence of the brand, be memorable, withstand time, and be flexible in all types of application purposes ( print and digital) including various sizes (signage to email signature).
There are three types of logos – 1) Wordmark (a design treatment of the name is the logo), 2) Symbol (a unique symbol that goes with the name as the logo), and 3) Monogram (using letter(s) to represent the logo). It is important to explore all three directions when applicable.
From a design perspective, the look-and-feel of a comprehensive brand identity system (business card, templates, exhibit display, marketing collateral, website, etc.) should be an extension of the logo or uses elements within the logo so everything will feel like one cohesive brand.
So when and how often should an organization change its logo? The answer is when one of the following applies: 1) Shift in Market Demand or Focus, 2) Consolidation of brands/companies (M&A), and 3) No traction with the current brand due to a lack of strong positioning and differentiation.
When is it not the right time to change a logo? If there is not a deep dive first into the the organization in terms of its value proposition, then a new logo is merely lipstick on a pig. A logo needs to be a reflection of the brand, not the other way around.
A new logo is only one component of a rebranding initiative that requires a strategic approach that happens before any design/creative work takes place. And when it happens in that order, the logo becomes a true visual identity of the brand.