In October 2021, I was approached by Liz Milsom, a local estate agent whose business, Liz Milsom Properties, was established in 2006.
Liz felt her logo design, unchanged since she founded the business, was due for an update. Her business had grown and evolved over 15 years, and her old logo no longer reflected the company as it stood.
This project was a logo update rather than a complete rebrand.
Liz Milsom’s red and black sale boards are very well known locally, so to keep this brand recognition, I needed to retain a link to her brand colours.
The old Liz Milsom Properties logo
Time for a refresh
I looked at the existing logo, and some immediately obvious things needed changing.
The red and black colour scheme was bold but a little dated. The background red contained a very subtle gradient of the type fashionable in the mid-2000s but since fallen out of vogue in favour of flatter, softer colours.
From a typographic point of view, the typeface used (Kabel) had been altered, and the changes made the logo less legible. The letter spacing also needed improvement, and the whole logo looked unbalanced.
The existing logo used a four-diamond motif, and while Liz explained what these stood for, they weren’t directly relevant to the business.
The final element of the redesign was to consider whether to keep or lose the strapline “properties”.
The first element of the project was competitor research. This is an important stage that many logo designers omit. No brand competes in a vacuum, so it’s essential to understand its trading environment.
Estate agency is a highly competitive market, and there was no shortage of competing companies to research. Liz Milsom’s catchment area centres around North West Leicestershire and South Derbyshire, and I identified over 20 companies serving this small area.
I was primarily interested in the quality of the branding, the icons or symbols used, and whether the companies used a strapline. In the end, two-thirds did not use one. Having a recognised local brand after 15 years of trading, I suggested Liz could lose her strapline too.
Of the companies I identified, only one used red as its primary brand colour, and no other striking colour or icon trends were apparent.
Logo design proposals
When I design logos, I develop them with six principles in mind. They must be simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, appropriate, and always original.
As this design project was updating an existing logo, I proposed three designs, each evolving further than the previous one. This gave Liz options based on how far away she wanted to move from her current branding and how brave she felt!
I proposed three designs – Options 1, 2 and 3, which progressively moved away from the existing logo.
Option 1 (left) was a refresh of the existing logo using a much more recent version of the Kabel typeface. I retained the existing colours but lost the gradient. This option was a natural evolution from the existing logo, not stepping too far from the current brand while bringing it up to date.
In Option 2 (centre), I retained the red and black colours but softened them. The red became brighter, and I changed the black to dark grey. I introduced a new roofline icon and a bolder, softer typeface – Dunbar Tall, which works very well as a contemporary display font.
This logo was a more significant step away from the current branding but still retained a relationship to the old logo. I refreshed the colours, and the resulting logo was bold, strong, confident and modern.
Option 3 (right) represented a further development and took the logo into new territory. While retaining the red, I changed the black to a dark grey blue, which has the same tonal qualities but was softer and more vibrant.
I introduced a new home icon in a rich yellow-green. Introducing the third colour opened up some exciting branding opportunities, including die-cut business cards and sale boards.
I suspected this modern option might be a step too far, but it was an intriguing process showing how the brand could evolve.
Wider branding applications
As part of my design presentation, I always include examples showing how clients could use each logo in real-life situations. In this presentation, I showed business cards, sale boards, Rightmove advertising, compliment slips and social media graphics.
Liz chose option two, with the only change – adding back the word properties as the strapline.
The completed logo, with optional colourways.
Since completing the logo project, smart new Liz Milsom sale boards have started appearing in our local area, and Liz will roll out the rest of the rebrand soon.
If you would like help with a new logo or a logo update, call me on 01530 588110 or drop me a message below.