Is a logo supposed to stay the same, or adapt over time? In our last post about logo design, we mentioned the five important characteristics of a good logo: simple, recognizable, versatile, timeless and flexible. Here, we’ll introduce some examples of timeless and flexible logos that have changed with their market over the years.
When is it time to update a logo?
A good logo might seem permanent—an icon that follows a business through the years, no matter what. But logo updates or a logo refresh are actually more common that you might think.
There are the two main reasons a company might design a new logo:
- The style is looking outdated. Every logo starts to look a little old-fashioned after a while. Not bad, but also not as modern as your company anymore. That’s why all brands make changes to their logo from time to time, without losing their brand identity. Even a timeless logo might go through small tweaks to keep it feeling fresh and current.
- The company is offering new products or services. As a business changes, you may find your old logo only reflects a narrow part of what you do. Maybe your dog-walking business is now doing pet care for all sorts of animals. Maybe your geographic area has expanded. It’s important that your logo communicates the right message and attracts the right customers.
Evolution of famous logos through time
We’ll show you how those two reasons have influenced the logos of these four companies, which all started in Italy before becoming global brands. (Did you know Jimdo is available in Italian too? Check out our Italian blog!)
Algida’s first logo from 1946 was a shield with the company name and snowflake. Makes sense, since the company makes ice cream. (The name Algida comes from the Latin ‘algidus’ which means “cold”.)
The colors for the logo come from the two most popular types of ice cream: vanilla and chocolate. Since the company was new, they had to make it clear they sold ice cream, hence the snowflake.
Four years later, every Italian knew the brand. So the ice crystal could go. The new version of the logo was simpler, but emphasized the familiarity of the brand with the slogan “il gelato fidato”: “The trusted ice cream.”
Without the shield shape, the logo was easier to use and had a simpler, clearer design. But the familiar colors remained.
In the decades that followed, the company grew, and In 1983 the design was radically changed. The logo became a lot more cheerful and airy. The orange sun in the background gives that summer feeling and the letters of the name emerge like rays from the sun. Also, take a look at the new rounded font. A lot less formal.
In the 1990s, there were big changes. The company was bought by Unilever and had to appeal to an international target group. The familiar name Algida remained in Italy, but other names were introduced for other countries: Langnese in Germany, Ola in the Netherlands, Good Humor in the United States.
The logo changed with it. The sun was transformed into a red heart and the old yellow and brown colors (by this time looking quite dated) were retired. The feeling of enjoying the summer with a friendly treat is still there.
In 2003, the logo changed again. The heart proved to work well in all markets, but there were new updates to make the logo simpler: only two colors and no more drop shadows.
From the original logo, only the company name remains: from a small local ice cream maker to a global ice cream brand.
Barilla’s first logo is full of details and symbolism. The design principles come from 1877! The egg was chosen very deliberately: as the basic ingredient of pasta, but also as a symbol of abundance and fertility.
The logo shows a typical action in the making of pasta. Pouring the egg into a well in the flour. This immediately evokes the thought of pasta in every Italian, without having to show pasta literally.
Years later, when pasta is produced in huge quantities, Barilla chooses a whole new style. The detailed, complex illustration becomes stylized and simple. It gives a whole new feel to the brand, appropriate for industrial production.
Yet in 1954, the egg makes a comeback. The new colors remain, but the red oval is set into the white oval in such a way that it resembles an egg yolk. Thus the new logo refers back to the old tradition, and the brand values of quality and tradition.
Today, the company uses a simpler font, but the basic design is the same.
Martini began as Martini & Rossi, named after the two founders. They took over a distillery in Turin and a few years later began selling their liquor. The logo is decorative, but remains quite simple.
Also note the name Torino (Turin) in the lower right corner. This brand was also keen to emerge as a regional brand.
Twenty years later, a lot has changed. The company now sells internationally and has become so popular that the brand is often used synonymously with the cocktail.
The logo changes as well. Now they just use Martini’s name and colors with a strong contrast. The regional connection also disappears now that the brand is international.
The logo, called the “ball & bar”, proves so popular that it remains unchanged for decades. Because of its success and recognition, further updates are subtle: in 2003 they add a border around the outside and a small shadow on the red ball.
Gucci began in 1921 with a simple logo: the founder’s signature. This was to convey the elegance and quality of its products: leather gloves and trunks inspired by nobility and cavalry.
In the years that followed, the brand became popular with aristocrats with a passion for horseback riding. The company grew beyond its national borders and gained additional fame from celebrities and jet-setters who used its products.
For Gucci, this international growth also meant a change for the logo. The simple text was replaced with a coat of arms, on which we see a knight with a travel bag. With this coat of arms, Gucci presented itself as part of the nobility and aristocracy.
In the 1960s, this style changes. Aldo Gucci, son of the founder, brings minimalism back to the logo. The design is reduced to two Gs, which are depicted in different ways in the following years: together in a circle, mirrored or made abstract.
In the 1990s, that double G becomes an officially registered logo, and in 2019, the letters are rotated so that they face each other.
Need a logo refresh? Here’s how to update yours
You’ve probably noticed: all the logos above are based on simple yet effective ideas.
The starting point is always the name of the company and how the company wants to come across. That name may disappear from the logo eventually, if the brand is well-known enough. When you’re building a business brand, it is better to put a well-chosen company name in the logo.
Tip: Looking for ideas for a name? Check out our Guide on How to Name Your Business.
You can combine that name with a design that tells something about your company. For example, the ice crystal of Algida, or the egg of Barilla. Think about how you want to show your company. You can refer to your industry, your region, or the feeling you want to evoke in customers: your brand personality.
At Jimdo, we know that large multinationals don’t have a monopoly on good design. Every entrepreneur should be able to create a good logo for their business website.
That’s why we developed the Free Logo Creator:
- Create the very first logo for your business
- Give your outdated logo a new look
- Check out our step-by-step logo tutorial for more ideas.