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Logo Refresh Done Right


Last week, we held design sessions with two clients who both referenced a logo we had designed as a favorite of theirs. It was Magnolia River’s logo that we updated a few years ago. Below you can see their original logo and its streamlined successor.


The strengths of the logo are in its fluid graphic and easy to read typeface. In the redesign we kept green as the primary color to reference their old look. Simplicity works in this logo, and for national companies, too. I took a look at some logo redesigns from the past few years to see what was successful and what wasn’t.

Rebranding Hits…

When rebranding, companies often try to pull elements from their old logo. RadioShack switched the serif ‘R’ for a san serif version, changed scale, and added a little color. Starbucks stripped away everything extra, and banked on their highly recognized trademark siren illustration in green.



And finally, a favorite update: Wendy’s. This ponytailed ginger has a new attitude. The restaurant chain lost the aged fussiness and found a whimsical modern logo. It’s friendly and modern, with an easy-to-read type treatment, but thanks to a clean illustration, still gives a nod to its past.


…and Misses

Not all change is good. When rebranding, companies risk alienating customers. Thanks to social media, the response can be quick and clear. Just ask the Gap who quickly dropped their new look and returned to their original, but versatile, logo. The revised logo attempted to go simple but just fell flat, mainly due to the poorly placed square that interfered with the logo text. I’d love for Yahoo! with its poorly kerned, oddly beveled new offering to try again.



One of the more exhausting rebrands has come from retailer JCPenney. With each CEO change, their logo changed—a couple of times between 2011 and 2013—only to end up right where they started. I actually liked the blue and red iteration.


Make Your Mark Like these companies, you may be looking for a refresh or overhaul to your brand. We can help with that. Here are some things to think about when working with a designer on a new mark for your company or organization.

  • Are there elements from your current logo you would want to keep or modify because they are highly recognizable?
  • Do you have an established and successful brand color that speaks to your identity, or is it time to branch out?
  • Are there technical issues – such as poor readability when reproducing in small sizes – with your current logo that have been a problem?
  • Has your audience or clientele shifted? Remember, your brand should appeal to your target not just your personal tastes.

Make your new logo the next Magnolia River standout and not a Gap mishap.


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