Friday AM September 4th, 2009

A study at Rice University looks at how logo redesigns or font changes can affect the brand attitudes of consumers. Ed Mayberry reports.

Rice University professor Vikas Mittal says there hasn’t been much research on the impact of changing logos or type fonts.

“When we talked to some people in the industry and, you know, this is what they told us: they said, ‘well, you know if you change the logo a little bit, it’s not going to affect the customers a whole lot, especially customers who are really committed to our brand.  They won’t get affected too much.’  So in other words, what we find is when a company changes its logo, it risks alienating its most committed customers.  Customers who are not committed to the brand actually like the brand more after the logo has changed.” 

Mittal says it’s a big decision to change a company’s font style or logo.

“You know, a logo has a symbolic meaning.  It almost sort of becomes like the conduit to establish the consumer brand connection.  Right?  And if these are the consumers who are unhappy with the brand after the change in logo, you know, you have to realize that the highly-committed consumers are also the ones that are most likely to be the most loyal consumers.  They’re also more likely to buy more.  So alienating that consumer base is likely to have a very high impact in terms of lost sales.”

A recent switch by Swedish furniture chain IKEA from Futura to Verdana in its most recent catalog sparked criticism.  The new font is intended for easier reading online.  The company says it isn’t worried that its typical customer will be affected.  Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

 IKEA catalog before and after


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