First thing’s first: Your logo is not your brand.

You don’t get to decide what your brand is. Your customers do. And they make their judgment based on a host of criteria: the quality of your products, your approach to customer service, your corporate behavior, and, to a degree, your advertising and marketing.

Your logo is not your brand; it’s more like your face. And it might not be pretty. Hey, it happens.

Or maybe your logo used to be pretty, but it hasn’t aged so well. Perhaps it was designed in the early ’90s, and the font is now the typographic equivalent of mall hair: cool at the time, but weird and off-putting now.

Or maybe it just doesn’t feel right anymore. Your business has evolved. You’ve added new staff and new services. You’ve earned legions of loyal customers. You’ve come a loooong way, and you want to broadcast your progress with a sweet new logo.

And that’s great! Far too often, businesses cling to outdated logos, either out of fear of change or irrational emotional attachment.

You shouldn’t be afraid to change your logo. But you should proceed with caution. Especially if you have a well-established brand with a widely recognized logo. A misguided identity redesign can have dire consequences. You could lose customers (see Tropicana), and even your dignity (see Pepsi).

Here at Well Done, we kept all of this in mind as we set out last year to update our logo. Our old logo had been designed 10 years ago, when we only had five employees and not many more clients. Today, we’re a full-service advertising and PR firm with 26 employees, some high-profile national clients, and a bevy of awards under our belt, to boot.

So we started by experimenting with a complete logo makeover:

WDM - New Logo Process 01

Of the three above, the logo on the far right gained the most traction with our team (we invited the entire staff to participate in the review process). But we all ultimately agreed that it felt a little too corporate. So we continued exploring:

WDM - New Logo Process 02

“Hmmm,” our team mused collectively as we evaluated the options above. “The first one is too conservative. The second one, too chunky. The third one, too….superhero-y.” And all of them just felt too “out there.” So we went back to the drawing board and thought long and hard about about who we are and what we represent. Then, we ended up here:

WDM - New Logo Process 03

Now we were onto something. The design was fresh and clean. And using parallel lines to represent the “W” and the “E” added an interesting modernist twist. Furthermore, shortening our name to spell out the words “We do” opened the door to some potentially powerful marketing messages: “We do good in the world.” “We do healthcare marketing.” You get the idea.

“Perfecto!” we thought.

And then we reflected. And talked. And reflected and talked some more. And eventually, we decided that, cool and modern though it was, this new logo was too dramatic a pivot from where we’d been.

We’d hit an impasse. Some staff members suggested we cut our losses and stick with our old logo. Others were like, “NO WAY.” We started this process for a reason.

And then it dawned on us: We didn’t need a redesign. We needed a refresh.

Our old logo wasn’t bad, necessarily. It was just a little dated. But the red circle that had contained our name for the past decade had accumulated meaning over the years. It symbolized simplicity. Cohesion. Wholeness.

So we stuck with the circle, but we made some typographic and color changes to breathe some life into the mark, making it a little more fun and adventurous. And that, friends, is how we landed on this:

WDM - New Logo and Bus Cards

LEFT: The new Well Done logo. RIGHT: The logo as it appears on the new Well Done business cards.

So the same, but different. Quite a bit different, really.

First, we replaced the harsher, darker red of the original logo with a lighter shade of red for a mellower, friendlier vibe.

Next, we replaced the font with a lowercase script, doing away with the all-caps “DONE” to give equal emphasis to both words in our name.

According to Well Done Associate Creative Director Amy McAdams-Gonzales, who designed the logo, these updates gave our logo more “huggability.” Furthermore, placing the type at slight upward angle nods to what Amy calls “the playfulness and ‘laid-back-ness’ of our agency.”

It wasn’t easy, but we did it. We dig our new look, and we hope you do, too. And if you happen to have a logo that could use a redesign or a refresh—or if you’re starting from scratch—we’d love to be of service.