Should Essex Firms Embrace Streamlined Branding?

Thinking of joining the ‘simplified logo’ trend? As one of the leading graphic design companies in Essex, we’re here to explain the pros and cons of simplifying your branding.

Nationwide’s updated logo has caused ripples of intrigue in the branding world – and may have thrown a few customers when they realised their banking app icon had changed overnight.

The new logo keeps the basic ‘sunset behind a house’ concept, but drastically simplifies the details – eliminating the chimney – and swapping the colour scheme from white, blue and red to a red logo on a dark blue/purple background, paired with a streamlined white typeface.

The rebrand is part of the ongoing trend to simplify logos, reducing details and gradients, and opting for bolder shapes.

Some customers have been underwhelmed by the new look.

In fairness, not all of the criticism related to the streamlined visual language. People were also upset about the colour scheme being too close to NatWest’s (leading to app mix-ups), the lower-case a ‘n’, and the new tagline ‘A good way to bank’ (because Nationwide is actually a building society).

Nationwide has experienced the pushback that many rebrand projects get. Time will tell if customers and partners warm to the new look.

But why are companies choosing to simplify their logos? What are the pitfalls of such an undertaking? And is it a good idea for your brand? As a leading graphic design company in Essex, we thought we’d go through the key advantages – and pitfalls.

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Easier and cheaper reproduction

It’s easier to use simpler logos in the various places they appear – be that websites, printed stationery or clothing, to name a few. A simpler logo is easier to apply to different materials and digital spaces – and could be cheaper.

Take the clothing industry. If a factory only needs one colour of thread to embroider a logo, rather than three, it will save on production time and costs. It’s a similar story for printed packaging and documents: fewer colours and complexity can lead to cost savings long term.

The upfront cost of a redesign may well be dwarfed by future savings.

Limited space

Website headers and email signatures have limited space for logos, so it’s important they don’t seem visually overwhelming.

And since so many of us are using smartphones, simpler logos are easy to read on these smaller screens.

Staying relevant

Additionally, there is the trend aspect. If other companies have simplified their logos, a rival may look a little old-fashioned if it doesn’t keep up with the times.

Cutting through the clutter

In a world with ever more brands vying for our attention, it makes sense to reduce the visual load on our current and potential customers. It all adds up to a clearer identity.

Emphasising brand strength

Simpler, cleaner logos have become increasingly connected to brand strength, largely because the world’s leading companies have embraced them. A powerful brand does not have to ‘shout’ with fancy gradients and extra details. Simplicity emphasises a certain confidence, too – something that consumers will want to associate with.

Can oversimplification be a bad thing?

Simplifying a logo isn’t always a positive move. Many logos have taken this route – particularly in fashion, beauty and tech – and in some cases are at risk of losing their individuality.

It’s important when simplifying a logo that it does not end up looking generic and bland. In the quest for a more easily ‘readable’ logo, the character and individuality of a brand can be washed away.

And as mentioned, consumers don’t always warm to oversimplification.

The updated Discord logo is a good example. The firm received user pushback on the simplified branding, which some felt erased its dynamism – especially in relation to the typeface. While the new font was more readable, it didn’t have the same energy as the original. The Pringles redesign received similar criticism.

Of course, some logo simplifications work well. Apple and Nike already had simple logos, so their visual tweaks went almost unnoticed. Starbucks has a more complex logo, but even after simplification it was still recognisable.

Graphic design Essex: Thinking about streamlining your logo?

Simplifying your branding can come with huge positives. It keeps your brand fresh, modern and exciting, and ensures it can be read and reproduced more easily (and in some cases, more affordably). But great care has to be taken when undertaking a rebrand. You need to ensure the essence and character of your company is reflected in any new look.

As one of the most trusted graphic design companies in Essex, here at Crisp Design we’ve refreshed and enhanced the branding of organisations across the county – and the wider UK.

Learn how Crisp Design can revamp your logo and branding today.

Get in touch to talk about your logo