Companies change their logo when the brand image changes. Sometimes the image is designed to please a shifting or growing audience. Not every logo change works. Once an audience is used to a logo, change can be difficult to accept.
Some companies spend millions of dollars on change, only to withdraw the logo in days or weeks. Gap and Tropicana Orange Juice had shockingly short-lived logos.
Other companies have changed their logo very little or not at all over decades or more: Stella Artois, Twinings, Shell, and Levi’s are examples. Stability is a virtue.
QuinnCreative is changing its logo. It’s time to connect all my work and services.
I’m a corporate trainer in business writing and other forms of communicating: public speaking, designing and giving presentations, persuading others that your ideas work and, most interesting of all, creative problem solving.
In addition, I have a creative expression side: I’m a creativity coach for people who want more satisfaction in their lives as well as a coach for writers, artists, and other creatives who are stuck. “Stuck” includes not knowing how to proceed with your work as well as re-discovering who you are and how you want to be seen in the world. You do not have to think you are creative to use a creativity coach.
Occasionally, I’m told my business comprises too much. If you take the view, “You are in the education business,” it does look like I do different things: write, develop classes, teach and coach.
But QuinnCreative is not just about teaching. I’m actually in the “creativity business.” Everything I do is linked through creativity. Writing clearly, speaking to others thoughtfully, using self-expression for self-satisfaction and growth, it’s all based in creative thinking and behavior. “Creative” is more subtle than you may think. It’s not about being flamboyant or loud; it’s about becoming happy with your connection to yourself.
The pen-nib and “Q” logo (designed by Michael Noyes, as is my new logo) was designed to show that I am a writer who teaches writing, and that I own the company. The pen logo was elegant, simple, and contained in a neat square.
For printed materials, I could add the tag line and the logo works as belonging to a company that offers clarity. It worked well.
Then something unanticipated happened. Someone would look confused when I handed over my business card, point to the pen nib, and ask, “What’s that?” For someone who owns (an embarrassingly large collection of) fountain pens, it seemed odd not to be understood. Over time, it became clear: fountain pens were becoming as obsolete as sundials and a logo that showed one wasn’t immediately recognizable to my audience.
Logos are not meant to be teachable moments. The instant I explain to someone what a pen nib is, I am making them wrong. Showing I know more than they do. Demeaning them for not knowing. Not at all what my company does. Not how I approach learning or teaching.
It is time to change my logo.
Years ago, when I developed my business, a pencil was the logo. It’s recognizable. Quickly understood. No directions needed. A pencil is used to draw ideas on napkins to help share ideas. A pencil is a basic tool that doesn’t require recharging, re-filling, updating, re-designing, or much more than sharpening. It has a “delete app” on one end (the eraser) and a “git ‘er done” point on the other. It’s simple. Timeless. Useful. Both right and left-handed people can use it equally. Because of that connection to what I do–help people use what they have–I’m returning to the pencil.
The tag line, “Creativity: Sharpened” is new, but the pencil, in all its easily recognized, practical, utilitarian ease, is back.
It will take a few weeks to change the website to match. But the business cards are ordered, the social media avatars updated, and my look is once more connected to what I do. I hope you’ll agree.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches writing. She is also a creativity coach.