You know it’s time to change a light bulb when you find yourself sitting in the dark. You know it’s time to throw out food when it’s past the expiration date. Unfortunately we don’t get such obvious signs when it’s time for a design to be replaced. There’s no alarm that goes off, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your company’s branding, web design and other marketing materials to make sure they stay fresh.
Evaluating every piece of design may seem like an overwhelming task, but there are a few quick ways you can test your brand to see how well it stands the test of time.
First things first, you’ve got to take a long hard look at your logo. This is the face of your brand, and arguably the most important design element to focus on. Answering these questions honestly will help determine if your logo is still successful.
How old is your logo?
Was it professionally designed?
Does it still convey the values your company finds most important?
Do you have variations suitable for different sizes, web, print, mobile etc?
Age isn’t everything. If you have a logo that was designed decades ago, there’s no need to trash it, but it’s important to understand the difference between classic and outdated. The Nike logo was designed in the early seventies and has remained largely unchanged, but it’s one of the most iconic and versatile logos of all time.
If your logo no longer feels like it’s representing your company as accurately as it once did, or it’s not reaching the right audience, it may be time for a rebrand or refresh. Similarly, if your logo can’t adapt to today’s technology, it’s not doing your company any favors.
Now that you’ve evaluated your logo, it’s time to move on to the rest of your visual design. Many companies have well-designed logos but their image beyond that seems to be an afterthought. If your company is presented one way in print and another online, that can become extremely confusing for a potential customer. Take a look at your website, brochures, packaging, vehicles, apparel, etc. and ask yourself these questions.
Are you using the most updated version of your logo across the board?
Is the same color palette used on everything?
Is it immediately obvious your print materials and web design belong to the same brand?
Is the content on your website and in promotional and sales materials up to date?
One major way companies dilute their brand and lose credibility, is by appearing disjointed. Every element needs to look like it belongs. Imagine walking into a friend’s home and everything is meticulously designed and pristine, except one room. That one messy room is going to startle anyone who sees it and most likely diminish the effect of the rest of the house.
Letting old, ineffective logos and outdated content remain on marketing materials isn’t just lazy, it’s damaging to your brand. Sure there’s no set expiration date on design, but with these questions in mind, you should be able to quickly determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie and come up with a plan for how to get back on track.