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Simplification and Logo Debranding—Is It Time to Rethink Your Firm’s Logo?

A logo is a bite-sized design with a super-sized responsibility. This tiny emblem must encapsulate your values, your services, and your firm’s brand identity in a simple design. But as times change and your firm grows, your logo might need to change, too. 

This article explains a new trend called debranding. The decision to alter your firm’s visual identity is not to be taken lightly—but debranding doesn’t actually require you to completely reimagine your business. Instead, debranding asks you to do something far harder: simplify.

Keep reading for a quick introduction to debranding, three key questions to help you decide whether your firm could benefit from debranding, and what awaits you if you decide to debrand

What is debranding?

Debranding is a movement toward minimalism in a company’s visual brand identity. 

Debranding involves stripping down an existing logo to its most simplified and recognizable form. Instead of flourishes, complex typography, drop shadows, and gradients, debranding values flat, 2-D designs with minimal embellishments. 

Debranding is not the same as rebranding. Rebranding often results in a completely new visual direction, with totally new colors, fonts, and shapes. 

This trend is not a fringe fad! Major companies like Burger King, Warner Bros., Intel, and Pringles are debranding. Why? Because the benefits of debranding are powerful in such a pixel-hungry world.

Simplified logos are much easier to recognize in the fast-moving, miniaturized digital spaces of mobile phones and tablets. Mobile-friendly design is critical when you realize that more than half of all website traffic on the Internet is generated by people using mobile devices.

Simplified logos are more adaptable to different audiences, niches, practice areas, and locations. With a skillfully debranded logo, you could easily use a new color to create an entirely new offering for your firm without losing the distinct brand recognition you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. For instance, you could use a beachy pink to brand your new Miami office and a deep blue to brand your Tampa office—with the same debranded logo.

Could it be the right time for your firm to consider debranding?

Debranding can feel scary—but with great risk comes great reward! Here are a few questions to help you decide whether you could benefit from debranding:

  • Does your firm’s branding look dated?
  • Does the brand look good across all devices, and are all parts of the brand legible? (Names, intricate design elements, etc.)
  • Does the brand align with your current level of experience and can it grow with you?

A debranded logo is not simple or childlike. Instead, a debranded logo can actually signal maturity. 

You may have initially launched your firm with an emphasis on boldness, agility or innovation. But now, you have more experience and the practice has evolved. 

Debranding can help you embrace a more mature brand identity that telegraphs both gravitas and modernity without losing your uniqueness.

After you decide to debrand

Don’t panic that your practice may be unrecognizable to your clients and colleagues! In fact, you may even get more recognition with your clients and colleagues if the logo in your monthly newsletter is easier to see, or if your Twitter avatar isn’t a tiny graphic with your firm’s 82-letter name.

Working with an experienced designer is the best way to ensure that your debranded logo supports your business goals.

Review and next steps

Debranding is a new trend that emphasizes minimalist logos to improve brand recognition. It could be right for your firm if your logo is outdated, if you want to expand into new practice areas or locations, or if the logo is too complex to work well on mobile devices.

Every firm—and every logo—is different. You’ve done the work to cultivate a strong reputation. Let our team of expert designers help you make the most out of your digital assets.