By Hannah Staton, Achieve Social Media and Client Associate.

We have to talk about something important– something really important. Something your nonprofit uses every day, on practically every matter, large and small. You show it to donors, investors, partners and sponsors. You put it on your website, your business cards, even a polo shirt or a coffee mug. It’s your logo, and it might be time for an update.

Your organization relies on your logo to represent its mission, it’s vision, it’s personality, and even its level of success. That’s a lot to expect from a small icon, but good logos can do it all.

However, sometimes we rely on our logos so much that we stop thinking about them and therefore don’t realize when perhaps they need an update. Your logo may not be conveying what you want it to communicate any longer. Maybe your logo is looking flat and tired, or maybe now your organization has more of a budget for a polished look.  Think of it like going in for an interview: If you’re wearing a dated-looking outfit from ten years ago that’s a bit shabby, even though at one time it fit your needs, you’ll make less of an impression than the person in the sharp, timeless suit.

Here’s are some examples of nonprofit organizations that decided it was time for a logo change. The old logo is on the left and the new logo is on the right:

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This logo not only breathes new life into the idea of the ballet, but manages to look like New York City by being bold and modern.

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The new GLAAD logo introduces new colors and a less boxy, more streamlined direction.

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Similar to the GLAAD logo, Feeding America’s new logo is less boxy and more streamlined. It’s the keystone of the organization’s rebranding, from “Second Harvest” to “Feeding America.” The yellow and green recall agriculture, and the combined Is provides a design element that can be replicated in other materials for subtle coherence with the logo.

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The new Darien Library logo evokes the concept of pages turning in a book, and like the GLAAD logo it introduces new colors.

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Another rebranding keystone, the CRU logo is interesting because it reflects a change in the way the organization targets young adults. The top logo is very traditional and serious, whereas the new logo gives an impression of fun and excitement.

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Let’s be honest. The first logo for Arts United is kind of…bad. It’s a blue box with a terrible novelty typeface. Their new logo proves that simple doesn’t have to be, well, a blue box with white words, and is instead very memorable and sophisticated. Notice how the combined “A” and “U” suggest the “United” in Arts United.

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The new logo for the gallery keeps the simplicity, but makes a bolder statement.

All of these new, more improved logos have some characteristics in common. If you’re thinking of redesigning your logo or are already in the process of a redesign, consider these elements:

  • Good logo redesigns should simplify. The new logos above are bolder than their predecessors, but also contain fewer elements. They catch the eye immediately, eliminate unnecessary explanation, and use clean, compact lines. The Feeding America logo cut out several words and an entire graphic.
  • A good logo will expand opportunities for branding. It’s important to consider how your organization can use a logo effectively in a line of products and materials: business cards, letterhead, email designs, campaign materials, etc. All of these new logos provide your marketing and department or graphic designer more freedom to work with your logo. For instance, the Art Gallery of Alberta logo redesign introduced new colors and an “overlapping” theme that can be reproduced in materials.
  • Logo redesigns should consider the “feel” of an organization. Chances are your nonprofit has changed since your current logo was designed. Consider the changes to your nonprofit mission, accomplishments, and personality. Notice how the updated New York City Ballet logo evokes a sense of the city of New York itself. The Campus Crusade for Christ logo is appealing to young people with a fresher and less severe update.

The logo is the keystone of your branding. It’s your first and last impression. Maybe it’s time to evaluate your logo and determine if your nonprofit needs a refresh.

All images from http://www.logoreviews.org/.