Can you alter your visual identity without doing a full rebrand? I say, yes!
While rebranding has its appeals, it's also a LOT of work.
The process is tedious and long, plus you have to make sure the transition from old to new branding is smooth and well-advertised so you don’t lose the audience you’ve worked hard to attract. However, rebranding is also really appealing because it means something new and pretty and exciting! When you’re so used to looking at your branding and working with it everyday, it’s easy to get tired and bored with it and feel like everyone else is bored with it too.
But before you jump into a rebrand, there’s one more option you should consider: a brand refresh! Doing a brand refresh is the perfect in-between point of keeping your current visuals intact enough to maintain brand recognition and also having something new and fresh.
Keep reading to learn more about whether your business needs a rebrand or a refresh, plus a list of simple ways you can breath new life into your branding!
Rebrand or Refresh?
Rebranding is a big decision and is one that should be seriously weighed before deciding to start over from scratch. Finding the right inspiration and direction, the right designer, the right finishing touches to make it all come together, and the right tactics to create anticipation around your launch makes rebranding a long and tedious process.
Your brand identity and related visual elements are the biggest component of building brand recognition. When you rebrand, you’re changing the entire visual identity of your business, which means you’re taking away what people have come to associate with your business. You have to reteach people how to find and recognize you. There’s a way to make the transition smooth and get your audience on the rebrand train, but rebrand too soon or too often, you run the risk of disconnecting from your readers and potential clients.
That being said, there’s definitely a time when change is necessary. If your business has matured, your audience has changed, or your focus has shifted dramatically, those are circumstances where a rebrand should be taken into consideration.
Rebranding is like a fresh start for your business, but if you’re not quite ready to go all in for a full head-to-toe branding makeover, there’s always the option to refresh your branding!
As my business has developed, there have been moments when I’ve considered doing a full rebrand. When you’re so used to looking at your branding and working with it so much, it’s easy to grow tired of it.
Sometimes that boredom with your branding can falsely translate to needing a total revamp. Something new, something exciting! But, that’s not always what’s needed. Oftentimes as soon as we’re getting tired of something it’s then that people are starting to notice it.
Opting to breath some fresh air into your brand will usually be less costly, less risky, and less stressful. You’re still keeping the foundation of your existing branding, it’s just getting a wee bit of an update.
In my opinion, there are two approaches you can take with a brand refresh:
- You can work from having a very general visual identity to gradually incorporating more specific design elements. Start off with a logo and colors that resonate with you and the mission of your brand; little by little you can start building out your colors to include a robust secondary palette, you can add in some patterns, icons, or illustrations, and get some professional branded stock photography. You’re refreshing your brand by giving it more definition, more individuality, and more maturity.
This is personally the approach I took. When I first designed my brand identity, it was quite basic: I had my main logo, a simple color palette, fonts, and some watercolor design elements. As my brand grew and I clarified my overall vision, I added to my color palette, designed a secondary mark, created more variety in my blog post graphics, and painted more branded illustrations to use on my website and a variety of collateral.
- The other way to approach a brand refresh is for brand identities that are already well-rounded and defined. You keep the foundation of your branding, like your logo and main color palette the same, but swap out or add new elements. The key to a successful refresh for an established brand is to change very subtle supporting features, like colors, fonts, graphics, and images. In the end, you're keeping the same look and feel of your brand so you don't lose brand recognition, just updating it as your business grows and matures
While refreshing your branding is a great option for a lot of businesses, it's important to note that the changes should be subtle and add to the vision of your branding. You also shouldn't alter your branding every time you feel like you need a change, even if the alterations seem minor. Small changes can make a big impact, so make sure that they're done with intention, forethought, and restraint.
Simple Ways to Refresh Your Brand
Here are some ways to build on your existing brand identity to give it a breath of fresh air:
- Expand your color palette
- Introduce a new font
- Custom illustrations or icons
- Incorporate patterns
- Invest in branded photography
- Design a couple new blog post templates
- Give your website a facelift with new graphics, photos, etc.