Picture this: It’s been a handful of years since you’ve gone through your nonprofit’s branding process and you’re considering a logo redesign. Maybe your nonprofit logo is starting to look a little tired, or maybe you were rushed in the beginning and never intended to use your current logo for as long as you have. Maybe you’re not even sure what to think about your logo and need a little help putting your thoughts together.
A logo is a small but mighty piece of your overall branding. Oftentimes it’s the first thing potential supporters see when they meet your organization. It’s likely at the top of your website, front and center on your social media accounts, and on all of your printed and digital promotional materials. It should make a good first impression!
If you’re wondering if your nonprofit needs a logo refresh, we’ve compiled some questions to help you determine whether or not the time has come to give your logo a little love.
How to Tell If You Need a New Logo
Ask yourself the following questions about your organization’s current logo to help determine if you need a logo redesign.
Is my logo clean and concise?
Consider that you may need to shrink your logo at some point (like to fit in the header of a website). A logo with too many graphic elements can get jumbled and hard to read when shrunk down to smaller sizes.
Is the text on my logo easy to read?
Look at both the color of the text and the font used on your logo. Colors that are too light don’t show up well on a white background. Fonts that are a script style or decorative can work sometimes but are tougher to read at small sizes.
Does my logo use 3 colors or less?
For logo design, simpler is almost always better. While multi-colored logos can certainly look nice, the more color you add, the more complex your logo becomes, making it easier to look muddy and unreadable at smaller sizes.
Does my logo look like it was created within the last decade?
If your logo looks like it was made in the 90s, maybe it’s time to bring things up to date. It’s one thing to create a logo in the style of a past decade… it’s another thing altogether if your logo looks like a scanned piece of clip art from 1992.
Does my logo represent my nonprofit well?
Your logo should be a reflection of your organization’s personality. Is your organization more traditional and buttoned up? Do you work with young kids and have more of a playful side? Your logo should give a nod to the general nature and mission of your nonprofit.
Did a professional designer create my logo?
If the answer to this is no, maybe it’s time to pass the design baton to a graphic designer who creates branding for nonprofits on a daily basis. While we absolutely commend the DIY attitude, some things are best left to others who have the proper tools and know-how to get things done at a higher quality. Plus a designer can help you ensure that your branding is cohesive across all of your collateral materials.
Does my logo display the name my organization prefers to be called?
If your logo includes an acronym, be sure that your organization goes by that acronym. If the organization prefers to go by its full name, it’s important to use that instead. Presenting supporters with exactly what you want to be called is key for instant recognition.
When I increase the size of my logo, does it retain its quality?
Having a native vector file (AI or EPS) of your logo is ideal for scalability. Vector files can get as small or large as necessary, without ever losing visual quality. Have you ever tried to expand a JPG by double its size? It doesn’t work. At a certain point, everything becomes blurred and very hard to read.
Having your designer provide you with a native vector file makes it easy to have updates made in the future and create JPG or PNG images of any size when needed.
Do I have a version of my logo that includes a transparent background for use on a surface that is not white?
It’s always ideal if your designer can provide you with options that include a white background of your logo as well as transparent versions for use on color or pattern backgrounds.
Do I have a version of my logo that is all black and a version that’s all white?
An all-black version can be particularly helpful if you intend to get your logo screen printed on any sort of promotional material or if it needs to be printed in a black and white publication. An all-white version is helpful if you need to include your logo on a dark background like the footer of a website or overlaying an image, for instance.
Do I have more than one variation of my logo?
While this is not necessary for every organization, some benefit from having a couple of variations of their logo to use in different instances. For example, a nonprofit might have a stacked logo for more square applications like social media profile pictures, as well as a side-by-side layout for more horizontal applications like a website header.
Alternatively, if your logo includes a tagline, it’s smart to have another version without the tagline for when you need to apply your logo at a small size.
Advice for Your Logo Redesign
If you answered “No” to two or more of these questions, it could be worth considering a logo redesign or at least touching base with the original designer of your logo to see if they can provide you with some files you wish to have on hand (like the all-white and all-black versions of your logo). Having a scalable, readable logo that’s easy to use on business collateral of all types will give a great first impression to potential supporters—and make your life as a marketer easier.
If a complete overhaul isn’t in the cards, you can even consider just going through more of a logo refresh, updating certain pieces of your existing logo. Maybe just having your designer update the font and setting a color a bit darker will make all the difference!
Examples of Nonprofit Logos
If you’re thinking about revisiting or refreshing your logo, we’ve rounded up a few nonprofit examples of what makes a good logo.
The Northwest Project
The Northwest Project uses no more than three colors in their logo, and the text portion of the logo is easily readable. (You’ll notice they didn’t use their brand yellow for text. Good move.)
Kingdom House’s logo is clean, concise and a great visual representation of their tagline, “Change begins within.” They’ve got two logo variations, one that’s more horizontal with their tagline and one that’s more square without the tagline.
Aging Ahead’s logo uses very soothing colors, and the elegant bird graphic evokes a welcoming feeling. By simply removing the tagline in one variation, they’ve made it easy to size their logo down without people having to squint to read the logo elements.
It Gets Better Project
The It Gets Better Project logo is solely text-based, but they’ve included a unique colorful flair. While they’ve used more than three colors the text is still easy to read, and by creating a stacked version, they’ve given themselves the opportunity to use their logo in many different applications.
Neverthirst provides another example of big and bold text with a couple of layout variations. The limited color palette makes this logo easily readable and recognizable.
Nest takes a unique approach with their logo. It’s stark black and white, and the graphic element is by far the most prominent part of the logo. At first glance the visual looks like a bird, and if you look at it for a few moments longer you see two intertwined thumbs to illustrate people lending a helping hand. This graphic is also used on its own throughout their branding since it’s so unique and immediately recognizable.
Are you taking a second look at your current logo? How could a logo redesign help your nonprofit brand? Let’s talk in the comments about what makes for a good logo and when it’s a good time for an update.