One of the most defining features of a brand is its logo. Most of the places we eat, websites we visit, and services we utilize are instantly recognizable to us by their memorable logos. Sometimes just a portion of the logo or the colors can bring the actual brand to mind. That’s exactly what you want your own logo to be, something that your clients see at the top of a newsletter and immediately know it’s you they’re looking forward to reading.

Once you’ve been in the business for some time, the old logo you had when you started may not be the best fit anymore. Just the way we know logos, we also can remember how the Pepsi logo has evolved over the years from however it looks when we had our first can. Growth and evolution are powerful tools, and updating your logo to reflect the current vibe of your business and attract new clients may be what you need for a boost. But how do you know if it’s time for that refresh?

While there’s no exact expiration date on a logo, they generally have a lifespan of about ten years. At that time, you may want a drastic change, but you also may not need anything so dramatic. It may be that an update to colors, polish, or typeface may be just what you needed. Read on to see if your logo is perhaps a candidate for a needed change.

  1. DIY Homespun: When you’re just starting out, you often don’t have the capital to invest in a professional logo design. This means many new financial professionals make themselves or opted for a logo purchased from an online design store. Once you’re established, it’s a good idea to work with a professional designer who will ensure your logo is unique and looks tight and polished.
  1. Typeface of Long Ago: Just like everything else in marketing, typefaces and typeface styles go through trends of popularity. Think of the 80s and the 90s and the type of fonts you associate with those times because you saw those in marketing campaigns and ads. Check out the typeface of your own logo and see if the typeface is one that you used to see around but no longer do. For this reason, it can be smart to go with tried-and-true typefaces that weather the trends.
  1. Shadowy Traces: A few decades ago, it was popular to give some depth to logo designs by drawing in drop shadows, engraving, or other surface styles. This look has largely been replaced by cleaner designs that lend themselves toward simplicity in terms of coloration, with block colors used more often than any type of implied volume. 
  1. Matchy-Matchy: Sometimes you have a great concept for a unique logo…but after some time, many others in your field have a similar sort of logo. It doesn’t mean yours wasn’t unique, but it may be time to step out of the crowd once again with a new design.
  1. Outgrown the Fit: If your firm has undergone some major changes in the last few years in terms of staffing, structure, focus, or goals, your current logo may not be the best way to represent you any longer. Whether these changes were purposefully made or happened due to external forces, this shift in the wind means you’re something new. Sometimes a fresh new logo as the face of your direction change can be a great way to promote your new identity.

So perhaps you’ve gone through this list and decided your logo is ready for a facelift. Before moving forward, here are some things to keep in mind to avoid in a new or redesigned logo.

  1. Too Generic: It goes without saying that you want your logo to help you stand out. You know what the common iconography in your own field is—the calculator, the bull, the golden egg. Try to think outside the cliches, drawing on the images that you use when explaining things to clients. Remember—your logo is an extension of your own voice and ideas.
  1. Lots of Detail: This is one to keep in mind for reproduction. A detailed logo may look great on your website, but what about getting it embroidered on a polo shirt? For those who like detailed logos, don’t despair! The solution may be to have a simpler version of your logo that you use for smaller reproduction.
  1. Bad Match: Remember that your logo represents your brand. With this in mind, a very attractive logo with imagery that is a mismatch won’t ultimately help you out for brand recognition. With a focus on images that don’t suit, you risk being confused with businesses in other industries even. 
  1. Copy Cat: You may see another logo that you like and want to use it as the base for your own. Be careful! Doing a mirroring, color swap, or other minimal change to an existing logo and then claiming it as your own is not only unlawful, it also means that your own logo lacks creativity and inspiration. 
  1. Color Disaster: Color can be as much part of your brand as the image or typeface. Make sure that you’re not using mismatched colors that come across as tacky or otherwise unappealing. It may be best to get your logo designed in black and white first to ensure you like the design, then add the colors. A crash course in color theory can really help—remember, colors on opposite sides of the color wheel complement one another, while ones next to each other don’t.

The pursuit of the perfect logo can be a journey, and not an easy one. A logo is a vital piece of your brand that helps you differentiate yourself and is a visual way to tell your practice’s story. Now that you’re armed with some vital knowledge, hopefully you’re ready to take your brand to new heights with a good logo design.

Mandy Szewczuk

More about the author: Mandy Szewczuk

Mandy works with advisors as the lead of Evolution Financial Advisor’s virtual assistant program and is part of the marketing and events team.