Keeping your brand fresh and current is a constant evolution, and while a total rebranding is a drastic step in a marketing plan, often smaller tweaks and changes are called for in a logo, typeface or message. Take for instance the current changes just announced for the Carolina Panthers football team. This is the first time in their 18 year history that their logo has been altered. The new logo will be phased in throughout 2012, and is still unclear when or how the team’s uniforms will be changed to incorporate the new look.
When compared side by side, you can see that new new logo shows a sleeker, more striking panther. Notice the subtle changes to the shape of the teeth, chin and eyes. Perhaps more drastic is the change to the logo’s typeface. The NFL creative department says the typeface change will make it more readable and “cleaner” for its different uses. The Panthers website has a quick video showing the transformation of the logo from the original style to the current. I have to admit, I completely missed the change on the first viewing, however. It is not a drastic visual shift.
But do the changes work? They are a nice refinement – subtle, but effective in adding more energy and flow to the image of the panther. Losing the black outline around the entire image makes a great improvement. I am not crazy about the lettering change, however – the basic font is still outdated and somewhat clunky, whereas the previous one was just outdated! That could use some more work, but I agree the result is more readable and compatible with the sleeker panther design. The folks over at logodesign.com polled both designers and the public in separate polls to look at the best NFL logo designs. The OLD Panthers logo was ranked 9th by the designers. Check out the results and vote here. (To see all the NFL logos, check out this site.)
Overall, the change illustrates the importance of keeping your brand fresh. A total redesign is generally not necessary. But unless your logo is established as a thoroughly iconic image (by that I mean you are Coke or McDonald’s!), most logos and marks need to consistently be evaluated and evolve over time to avoid becoming stale and giving the public an impression you do not want. Time to get started?