A rebrand can take many forms, but in essence it’s the process of updating the name, logo, values, or visual system of a brand. This can be treated as either a refresh of the existing visual system, or creating something entirely new. A refresh is better suited to keeping the legacy of the brand alive, while starting from a clean slate is often used when there’s been a major change in the brand itself or the consumer landscape. Both have their time and place.
Below are two examples. The first is an example of a brand refresh. Squarespace recently updated their visual identity by creating a more balanced weighting of their icon in relation to their wordmark.
The second example is a rebrand that started from a clean slate. Woodbine Entertainment Group went through a complete overhaul of their visual system last year, using a much more modern aesthetic.
Each brand and industry is unique, but below are a few clues to look for that could indicate it’s time for a rebrand.
1. Your visual identity and branding look dated.
A good brand identity should be timeless and not immediately associated with a specific trend or point in time. That said, even the most iconic systems require updating once in a while. For instance, Pepsi has been using its famous ‘globe’ icon since the early 1970’s, but has updated this particular graphic seven times since then. Most recently, in 2009 they altered the balance of the white, blue, and red sections to follow a more meaningful balance using the golden ratio.
2. Your brand presence is limited by your existing visual identity.
Sometimes brands limit themselves by suggesting too much within their logo. When their offerings and services expand or change, they may find their existing visual identity too limiting. This is a good time to update, both so their logo better represents their offering, and to signal to consumers that the company is evolving. Dunkin’ Donuts recently simplified their visual identity by removing donuts and the coffee cup from their name and logo, signalling an expansion beyond coffee and donuts. They kept their existing visual legacy intact by using the same typeface and only slightly modifying their colour palette.
3. Growth and expansion (going from local to national) .
Growing as a brand is very exciting, and often means your audience, values, geography, service, or product offering is expanding. Aurlands shoe manufacturer (located in Aurland, Norway) went through a much needed rebrand in preparation for the launch of their e-commerce platform. They elevated their visual system in order to compete with other fashion brands from around the world, while keeping a close connection with their history and legacy of the brand.
4. Connecting with a new audience .
There are many reasons to target a new audience, including company growth, shifting demographics, or new product launches. For instance, Mailchimp is known as an industry leader in email marketing, but recently they expanded their offerings and are targeting small businesses with more a robust platform for connecting, engaging with, and monitoring customers. They moved towards a more modern wordmark and kept their existing monkey icon, with a few simple but much-needed refinements.
5. Differentiation in a crowded market.
Competing for marketshare as a new brand is challenging, especially when your name is similar to an existing, well-known brand. When cannabis review site Lift & Co (formerly Lift) approached Eighty-Eight, they were having issues with their name being too similar to a popular ride hailing company, which affected their ability to be found through organic search. Eighty-Eight started with a naming exercise to see how we could add to the existing brand name to make it more unique and ownable. & Co was added to represent their brand attributes; community, collaboration, and connection. A suitable typeface was chosen, and the ampersand was stylized to mimic a laughing face.
While a longstanding logo lends credibility to your brand and cements your relationship with customers, there are times when a light logo refresh, a complete overhaul of your visual identity, or something in between, is exactly what you need. If any of of the above situations remind you of your own brand, it might be time to chat with the team at 88.