LearnDash and a Branding Wobble

LearnDash takes cutting edge elearning methodology and infuses it into WordPress. More than just a plugin, LearnDash is trusted to power the learning programs for major universities, small to mid-size companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and bloggers worldwide.

LearnDash’s previous branding looked like this

For a long time now, LearnDash has had quite a static brand. Their logo, whilst fresh when they launched, had started to look quite dated alongside newer plugins and online learning specialists.

LearnDash updates their branding

That all changed earlier this month when LearnDash finally released their new branding; a fresh take on their name, and a fresh look for their website and all their assets.

In the main, it was well received by the elearning community, many of who are, like us, fans of the product and everything it can do.

A few days later they had to release another version.

Can you spot why?

New LearnDash logo released earlier this month

Compare it to the version they have now released:

Final version of LearnDash’s rebrand

That’s right; they’ve removed that extra “finger” and made it look less like they were flipping everyone the bird by levelling off the bottom so it looks less like a hand and more like a growth bar.

So what went wrong?

These things happen all the time and LearnDash are no different to anyone else. During any rebrand you can go blind looking at concept after concept until eventually you nail down the shortlist and end up with what you think is the winner. Then comes the hard part: taking that new new brand and applying it across all of your assets, everywhere, to make sure it plays well and hits your brief. Meanwhile the pressure munts to launch launch launch. Once you have a new look, even if it’s still on the drawing board, everyone internally within the organisation who is aware of the new branding wants the new brand out there. The old brand is always diminished in their eyes at this point and all they can see is the new look and what they believe this will do for sales, industry perception, and all the other business objectives. They start justifying previous performance as being a direct result of the old brand.

It’s just human nature.

In amongst this rush, people stop looking at the details. They tend not to stand back and view the new branding with a critical eye anymore: it’s shiney and fresh and to some extent that is all that counts.

LearnDash shouldn’t be critisised for this. It happens to lots and lots of brands. You only have to look at how much Royal Mail here in the UK spent on their rebranding as “Cosignia” back in 2001 only to bin it shortly afterwards.

What can you do to avoid this?

If you accept that these things happen, and that they can happen to anyone, including you, you’re half way there.

The most important thing is to find a bunch of critics – and your own commuity of users and clients are typically your fiercest critics – and ask them what they think. At least one of them will spot any clangers, like you flipping the bird, and won’t be afraid to tell you.

We always ensure any designs and branding we do is shown to people in our team who haven’t been invested in the project before it goes anywhere near the client. It’s avoided presenting classics like “that new logo makes his luxury houses look like factories” and “what does an ice cream have to do with a school?” (that last one was intended to represent a marker on a map but did actually end up looking like a giant ice cream cone). Once the client sees their concepts we encourage them to show people within their circle who they can trust to give them an honest opinion. We’re not scared of critisism and we encourage our clients not to be either. It’s healthy, and can save a huge amount of money and embrassment later.

That’s it. It really is that simple.

But if that fails and you end up with a LearnDash logo on your hands, don’t worry. Front foot into it just like they have done. Revise it quickly and get the new one out there. In time nobody will remember those few halcyon days where you flipped them off and you’ll be basking in the joy that comes from a successful rebrand. The worst thing you can do is fight it.

LearnDash and Thinking Fox

We use LearnDash to power elearning communities for many of our clients. We love the features, and our clients love the simplicity of managing their content within a familiar editing environment coupled with all the features of an enterprise-grade LMS, at a fraction of the cost.

We can even pull in all your legacy SCORM content and present it alongside modern responsive elearning experiences without having to rebuild all your old lessons and courses from scratch.

Now that really is ROI in action.


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About us

We’re a digital marketing agency based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire covering London and the South-East.

We’ve been around since 2009, providing consultancy and strategic services to clients across a number of sectors such as Healthcare, Technology, Telecoms, Publishing, Retail, Finance, and Travel.

We build digital experiences for companies and organisations that are finding their feet, pivoting, or who require a refreshing change.

If you need help with your next project click the big button below to get started:

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