Recently Jim Hickman joined creative director Dean Logan for a presentation to the Triangle Marketing Club titled “Rebranding – The Good. The Bad. The What the Hell Were They Thinking.” Both Jim and Dean (who lampooned the coincidental name with a take off of the logo from a similarly named sausage company) gave excellent examples of good rebranding, poor rebranding, and rebranding that should have never taken place. The takeaway: if you’re going to rebrand, make sure you’re doing so for the right reason.

There are several things working against designers and agencies embarking on rebranding missions. Although most of us will deny it, we humans are irrational beings. Logos and branding have a surprising amount of emotional attachment and buy-in. Perhaps it’s because the world seems more cynical in the fake news era? Whatever the reason, people love to take down a new logo design. Imagine Marlin Perkins giving a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom play-by-play: “Now the consumer is stalking the newborn logo, which is wobbly on its feet. The consumer, sensing a new typeface, gets increasingly agitated.”

Let’s be honest. It’s much easier to criticize a logo or branding campaign than to create a successful one. Beating up on a redesign is misguided if you don’t have access to the design brief or correspondence preceding the process. Several local examples come to mind as case were rebranding wasn’t warmly received and the price tag was questioned:

Redesigns are sometimes very necessary. Sometimes they are the project of someone who has the very best intentions or tasks of a team who don’t have enough information to ensure success. Whatever the reason, when a new logo design is unveiled, don’t shoot the design messenger.