On the surface, it might seem like "simplifying" your brand's logo or overall design is an easy matter of making it flatter, thinner and less complex. But Julie Zhou, who helps design apps for Facebook and drive engagement, recently addressed this myth in a special article for Fast Company. One of the five "most common design mistakes" that she listed was the privileging of style and specifically a simple feel over substance.
Although she refers specifically to app design, the general message can be heeded by any designer, including those fashioning a company logo or brand identity. Zhou says that some of the changes your brand could make in the name of improving the experience will be more for their company's benefit than the consumer. Instead of making an app less obvious and explaining certain functions, she recommends keeping the target demographic and their skill level in mind as a way to improve accessibility.
"Consider that as much as we want to design something we ourselves love, it's more important to design something that our target audience loves (Otherwise, your work might get included in a post about perplexing design decisions.)," she writes.
That's not to say your business can't decide to redesign your logo for something sleeker and simpler. But it shouldn't be at the expense of the overall experience or leave people confused at what they are looking at. You can also make the actual image yourself complex or multi-layered while rendering it in a style that keeps it easy to comprehend.
Once the logo has been devised, it should be ported over to common media like the vinyl signs that you are most likely to use over and over.