Identity rebranding can be a scary process. Consumers and advocates often have strong emotional ties to their perception of a brand’s visual representation. One need only look to the Gap debacle to gain an understanding of the melee that can ensue when fans feel betrayed. People have a firm and long-standing relationship with the traditional Gap logo, and whether the outcry was because the new logo was an inferior design or because it knocked askew the familiarity and nostalgia they felt, the negative consensus was so loud and raucous that the company had no choice but to return the former logo.
But some visual rebrands are critically necessary. A company’s culture, services and maturity, for example, has evolved; the logo was designed when Madonna and Michael Jackson ruled the airwaves; or the formula is no longer working, and the company is losing market share.
But there’s a flipside. If an organization’s look is frequently metamorphosing, consumer trust can be difficult to develop and maintain. Loyalty is often predicated by the belief that a company or nonprofit is consistent, understandable, and delivers high-quality services or products. An organization that can’t figure out who it is will be unlikely to engender true evangelists.
For better or worse, What’s Outt brings us some of 2011’s best and worst logo redesigns, while Fast Company Design’s Favorite Branding Projects of 2011 includes one of our favorite organizations, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.