Simplify to diversify: why clean, simple logos are the future

So a few of you beady eyed bods may have noticed CuCo’s new logo: it’s cleaner, simpler, more contemporary, and every brand likes a refresh from time to time. Sure. But our new logo is so much more than a virtual lick of paint – it’s a case of simplify to diversify.

Before:

Integrated advertising agency

After:

Creative, Branding, Marketing Agency

And we’re not alone, in the past few months, household brand names such as Microsoft, USA Today and ebay have all given themselves a brand facelift – all with something very important in common: their logos have been simplified.

The big question is, other than being aesthetically pleasing, what is the reasoning behind brands simplifying their logos? In short, why has less become so much more in today’s marketplace?

As social platforms have grown to become a staple of everyday life, it has become ever more crucial for growing companies to utilise this unique space dominated by the mind of the consumer.

Articles on social networking etiquette flood the inboxes of savvy marketers across the globe on a daily basis, but let’s focus a moment on the ‘savvy’ marketers’ approach to branding their unique social media spaces. Suddenly, many companies are not so ahead of the game as they might think.

Fuzzy facebook profile pictures shout a company hasn’t bothered to crop their pictures to the correct sizes, while logos spreading off the page and crowded twitter wallpapers are more off putting than they are attractive.

Worse, many companies’ social media spaces are completely inconsistent with their core branding, with individual, inconsistent logos – or worse- cropped or badly fitting logos – being used on social media platforms. These businesses are missing out on a prime opportunity to maximise brand consistency and raise awareness in the mind of the consumer.

The answer is simple: simplify to diversify. By streamlining logos, it is easier to diversify them and make them suitable for every media and web space available – raising brand consistency (and hence awareness) across the media spectrum.

We can see this in practice in the change in ‘USA Today’s’ new logo. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY is the second largest newspaper in the United States. Second only to the Wall Street Journal, 1.8 million copies of USA Today circulate every weekday, while reportedly “one in every seven Americans interacts with USA TODAY on a weekly basis.”

The paper is best known for its concise and visual approach to delivering news and successful mobile apps, while its online counterpart, USATODAY.com receives 6.6 million readers daily.

It would have no doubt been tempting therefore, for USA Today to take an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to branding. The decision to refresh branding so established in the minds of millions of consumers could certainly be seen as an unnecessary risk by some.

However, with an online consumer space evolving at a rate of knots it is crucial for brands to make brave decisions if they wish to keep their slice of the pie, not to mention grabbing the opportunities arising from simplification and diversification.

While USA Today’s old logo could be described as iconic, the streaky globe icon was busy and out-dated. Early September saw USA Today officially launch its brand new logo.

USA Today now boasts an extremely simplified globe icon – a plain single, solid coloured dot. It’s contemporary and much easier on the eye yes, but there’s more to it than that: USA Today’s press release declared the logo was ‘redesigned to be as dynamic as the news itself’

Before                                            After

Different coloured versions of the logo are used to signify different sections of the newspaper.

Editors were also invited to creatively ‘enrich the circular space, highlighting the top news of the day’.

As Labbrand Consulting Co notes: “With the adoption of a simplified logo, diverse colors, and usages, USA Today is re-branding itself into a modernized media platform and attracting younger readers. And of course, this change also applies to its website. The new design is already up and running.”

Using USA Today as a case study, we can see how diversifying a simple logo via different colours can allow companies to form sub brands consistent with their parent brand in a self-supporting branding loop.

In USA Today’s case, different parts of the newspaper stand for sub brands, and different coloured logos allow the paper to push each section in its own right whilst consistently raising awareness of the brand, or paper, as a whole.

Although it’s early days for official stat results on increased or decreased readership since USA Today’s re-brand with the official launch being announced later this autumn, shares in Gannet (USA Today’s parent company) have risen by 30%, while the re-brand is expected to appeal widely to younger readers and increase readership of the paper dramatically.

For help simplifying your logo and diversify your brand, why not give Cuco a call and bounce some ideas around. Let us help your brand keep consistent, and keep ahead of ever diversifying marketing platforms.

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