When a company or organization unveils its brand new logo, people react in a myriad of ways. My favorite part about seeing a logo reveal announced is knowing that the design community will be ready with some hot and fresh critiques. Some logos are immediately rejected by the public, some are immediately adored, and others have to grow on people. Everyone has opinions. The way these opinions manifest themselves can be a source of great entertainment or frustration, depending on your perspective. The cycle that usually occurs surrounding many reveals is something I like to call the 5 Stages of New Logo Reaction.
Stage 1: Judgement
This is the stage where the most visceral reactions reside. If it is something people love, the logo will be showered with praise. If it is something people don’t like or understand immediately, the floodgates of hate shall open. You’ll feel thunder of cracking knuckles as people prepare to rip into whoever is responsible for this travesty of design. (actual phrase I’ve seen)
Stage 2: Discussion
After the initial judgement and knee-jerk reactions have begun to subside, it is time for the explanations, think pieces, Twitter chats, and more. It is in this stage where we delve deeper into why certain decisions were made and why everybody is so mad. In “Why I Hate The _______ Logo” articles, authors of various levels of expertise elaborate on their initial disgust. Articles defending the new logo try to push back against any negative wave of public or industry disapproval. We all participate in back-and-forths that may vary in productivity.
Constructive criticism is just that – constructive. Explanations and case studies help everyone learn about the design process and reasoning behind a visual identity. Evaluating and analyzing the how and why a brand presents itself a certain way can be a very healthy exercise. It can also produce a lot of yelling from people who don’t want to consider any justification. Discussion can also produce…
Stage 3: Remakes
“Here’s what I would have done.”
I love seeing designers take their shot at designing things the way they want to. In a way, this is people putting their money where their mouth is. Putting yourself in the shoes of the designer(s) that created the logo requires you to take on some of the same challenges. If you dare show your alternative design, it puts you on a similar platform where you and your work will be judged.
Stage 4: Reexamination
Now, we have the initial designs and the slew of remakes. We can sit back, compare, and judge as if we have a say-so in what the actual brand decides to go with. Again, positives can come from this. Craziness can (and will) result. Hot takes galore with varying degrees of substance. Only the truly dedicated and invested achieve this stage. It’s like Inception. You are two layers deep in judgement and will need a kick (or two) to get back to reality.
Stage 5: Acceptance
This stage can come in many different forms. Here’s a few.
- We learn to like the new logo after observing it in application.
- We acknowledge it is what it is and move on with life.
- The brand itself recognizes its mistake and reverts back to its original logo/branding…quickly. (e.g.Gap, San Francisco 49ers)
In most cases, it’s best to embrace your power or lack thereof in that particular project and pull lessons from it for your own personal development as a brand designer, builder, or overseer.
This model is not necessarily linear. This is moreso a collation of five common experiences I’ve witnessed over years on social media and the internet in general.
Very fun stuff.