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Can a Company Use Two Logos?

By Karen Tiber Leland

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

My wife and my sister-in-law launched an online women's clothing boutique this year. Now my sister-in-law wants to change the logo and go back and forth between using the old logo and the new one. I am not a marketing person, but this does not make sense to me. What do you think?

Logos are a lot like fingerprints. Each one is a distinctive mark that tells the world who you are. The goal is to create a logo that represents your brand in look and feel and becomes synonymous with your business. The short answer to the question is that multiple logos give off mixed messages and can dilute your marketing and branding efforts.

However, in some cases, two different logos can be combined to make one brand-new logo. To know whether or not this will work, it’s important to distinguish between the two types of logo elements: marks and typography.

A logo mark is an actual image that identifies the company and which may or may not include the company’s name. For example, Starbucks recently went from a logo featuring both its signature image of a mermaid and its name to just the image. The idea being that the brand is now so closely identified with the visual image that the name is redundant.

A typographical logo is the person, brand or company name done with a particular visual treatment, sans an image. For example, new social media darling Pinterest uses only its name as its logo, not any other identifying symbol or picture.

One option is to combine both a typographical and an image element to make a master logo. For example, BMW’s logo integrates both its name and a round blue, white and black image. Just remember that with the Web, your logo is likely to end up anywhere. Having a single one creates a consistent message across platforms, while toggling back and forth between two can create customer confusion and brand bewilderment. 

That having been said, logos, like businesses, evolve, so if the previous one no longer fits with your current company brand, it’s okay to scratch it and start over. In this case, my advice is to be brave, stay on brand, make a choice and run with it.

Karen Tiber Leland

Author and President of Sterling Marketing Group

Karen Leland is the founder of Sterling Marketing Group, where she helps entrepreneurs and executives build stronger personal, team and business brands. She is also the best-selling author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand.

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