How do I decide to redesign or refresh a brand?

RussK's avatar By: RussK | September 09 2018 | (0) Comments | Categories: Design  Branding  Insight 

Over the last year or two we have seen a lot of big brands redesign or overhaul their corporate identities with varying degrees of acceptance and rejection from consumers. So, when does a brand logo need a redesign or just a simple “shave-and-a-haircut”? In this short article I’ll give a few guidelines to follow when assessing your approach to this question.

Arguments for a “Redesign”

A redesign would be a complete changing of a businesses look & feel. Basicly, throwing out the old, and relaunching with something entirely new. It may involve new positioning, typeface, brand stamp, color… the list goes on. Why would a brand opt for a redesign?

  • Change in business direction
  • Put bad publicity or public - or social - outrage behind you
  • Sadly outdated look that no longer reflects what your business stands for.
  • You need to breath new life into a stale brand - both internally & externally.

Arguments for “Refresh”

A refresh would simply be to update a brand logos look. When the process is complete, what you are left with is a design that is obviously the same business at a glance. You would be taking the most familiar and recognizable elements and simply updating the look and feel. So what makes a brand a good candidate for a refresh?

  • Positive brand equity
  • Recognizable and familiar face to consumers in the community
  • Aging and not keeping up with current design trends

Change can be a slow process for many companies and changing their outward face to the world can be intimidating & a little scary. Sometimes, taking a simple refresh as a first step can be a good way to ease yourself into being comfortable with the process.

Alternatively, if none of the cases above apply to you then maybe you don’t need to change anything at all. Remember that, even if a brand look is starting to feel old to you, it doesn’t mean that it does to your audience. Truth is, you live with it day-in and day-out, while your audience does not. Also, if you are well known, your brand likely has some sort of following within your market segment. The last thing you want to do is to confuse your current clients, prospective clients, and audience.

Whatever change you decide to make, be sure to communicate it to your clients and the business community. A redesign especially is a great opportunity to make a little noise and generate a bit of self-serving PR and talk to your audience.

When you examine and consider the various reasons for change, frequently, your path forward can be clear. Doing a little bit of soul-searching & honest self-assessment is a necessary first step to making the right decision.

Can you think of any reasons I’ve missed in the argument for a refresh vs. a redesign or even for just leaving it all alone? Let me know what they are in the comments below.

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