#WaybackWednesday: Retro Insurance Logo Edition

June 6, 2018 Jayci Morrison

 

retro insurance logos

 

Logos are vital to portraying who your agency is in an instant. They are an important part of your branding, too. Think back to when you created your insurance agency’s logo. Was it fun? Overwhelming? A bit scary? There’s a lot riding on that logo, after all.

Now, imagine you've used that logo for the last few decades, and it’s time for a change. You’re tasked with revamping the logo. How would you modernize it, yet still keep the same essence?

Well, for #WaybackWednesday, we're going to look at five insurance companies who did just that.
 

1. Kemper


kemper logo

 

We're starting with the oddity of the group. A big company buys a small company (not the odd part, that happens every day). About a decade after the acquisition, they rebrand using the small company's name.

Unitrin acquired Kemper in 2002 and rebranded to Kemper in 2011. This was a brilliant move. Not only does Unitrin sound like a prescription medicine, Kemper is easier to say and spell.

So, let's look at their logos. There was nothing exciting about the two original logos. Both used serif wordmarks, which are indistinguishable from other carrier logos. But, check out the rebrand.

They used a yellow gradient. Not only was everyone moving to flat design at the time, no one in the insurance industry was using yellow. According to their press release, the color “Reflects the warmth and approachability of the Kemper brand and its team members."

It's a good look that helps Kemper stand out in the insurance carrier market.


2. Farmers Insurance


farmers logo

Whew, that old logo is busy! Good thing Farmers revamped it. In the new version, they kept the sun rays and shield, and pared down the other elements. They explain the symbolism as, "A sunrise suggesting the optimism of a new day, the sun’s rays representing our broad range of services and our strong network of agents, and a shield to symbolize protection."

Farmers added in a light blue which modernizes it a bit. They flattened everything by eliminating any three-dimensional effects.  They also switched out their original serif for a bold sans.

I like the concept, but it's not amazing. It lacks personality. I like what the logo stands for, but the shield should have stayed from the old logo. You'll know the icon, but the logo in its entirety doesn't stand out in a crowd.

 

3. Mass Mutual

mass mutual logo

The old logo had good bones. But, it seems they blew them away to create this new logo.

For its new logo, Mass Mutual said the five dots represent "the community of people that MassMutual is helping to connect." But, dots are quite common in other logos. They lack distinction. And the thick, oddly-proportioned sans-serif does the wordmark no favors. They didn't even keep their traditional blue. They used a darker blue that isn’t as noticeable against all the other blues of the insurance world.

I'm not a fan of serif typefaces, but for insurance it works. Mass Mutual should have kept the serif, as it would have helped them stand out. And, while I like what they intended for the dots, there’s a more creative way to symbolize community.

 

4. MetLife

metlife logo

Snoopy is back in the doghouse. MetLife ended their association with the Peanuts gang after 30 years. But, that's not the only change they made. MetLife did a complete rebrand after the Peanuts era.

They changed the wordmark to a thinner sans serif and made it black. They also added a geometrical M icon in a bright blue and green.

You rarely see pure black used in a logo because it's intense and can be off-putting to consumers. This black may be the reason for the addition of the brighter blue and  green.

MetLife explained the color choices as follows: "The iconic MetLife blue carries forth the brand’s legacy, but has been brightened and now lives alongside a new color - green - which represents life, renewal and energy."

The bright colors will help the logo stand out. But, it's too simple and there's nothing notable about it. As for the wordmark, I do like the thinner letters and I hope they keep the black. It’s fearless.

 

5. State Farm

state farm logo

Like everyone else, State Farm rebranded into simplicity. They removed unnecessary words and kept the signature red. And, designers everywhere are thanking the branding firm for fixing those a's and e. Other than that, the wordmark stayed the the same.

I like simplicity, but too much simplicity can feel unfinished. There's an exercise in design class; You take a logo and make it minimalistic. Then, others have to guess which company's logo it is. This logo reminds me of that exercise.

 

So, there you have my #WaybackWednesday rundown. Five big insurance firms are a drop in the bucket of the hundreds of rebrands each year. But, it’s always interesting to see what they do.

For me, only one logo got a check in the win column - Kemper. But all this to say, try to learn from the big corporations on what not to do. From these five examples, you can see the trend is a chunky sans-serif with a blue, red, or green color palette. Be bold and stand out from other agencies.

Give me some purple or orange and a serif any day of the week.

About the Author

Jayci Morrison

Jayci Morrison is a design and media specialist on ITC's Insurance Website Builder team. She's responsible for giving each website its distinctive look and then bringing that look to life. She also has a hand in creating AgencyBuzz email templates, ITC marketing collateral, and any other design needs the team has. When she's not staring at a computer screen, she can be found anywhere outdoors with her husband and their two dogs.

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