Tweaking Your Brand Identification
Keith Borshak

Creative Director

Take the angst out of tweaking your brand identification.

 Your brand is a promise. It’s a deal you make with those who come in contact with your brand. It informs pretty much everything surrounding and supporting your offering. Your brand identification. is usually the first thing your customers or clients physically see that sets the stage for who they believe they are dealing with. 

 

Nearly every established brand has gone through some sort of brand revitalization at some point in its existence. Naturally, every so often, business owners and marketers will wonder if their brand ID accurately reflects their promise. Fashions change season to season. Every year Pantone releases their annual “color predictions” for the year. Typography is often the biggest driver that signals to a consumer or client who you are and your particular standard regarding taste and style. All those aspects of design can go a long way in getting your target to understand that you are someone they want to interact with or purchase from. 

 

A quick Google search for Logo Evolution Examples is a great way to see how often even well-known brands tweak or even completely redesign their brand identification. As an example, Apple has had several iterations of the Apple mark. 

 

 

Most notable is the huge difference between their first attempt at a brand ID and the subsequent apple shapes. While nothing has changed with the basic shape of the apple itself, obviously, it has become so recognizable over time that any number of colors, textures, or visual nuances can occur without creating a disconnect for the viewer.

 

This is a shining example of a simple, well-designed “icon” that holds its own and can evolve on a regular basis. 

 

As your offerings change over time, you may want to consider updating the look of your brand. Perhaps even make it an annual assessment of everything related to your brand ID. Making use of this list of do’s & don’ts may actually help alleviate some of your hesitancy to consider making a change and following through in a responsible way.

 

DO:

 

1. Get objective opinions. Seek the opinions of people who have nothing to win or lose if they give you their honest critique.

 

2. Listen closely. Listen for descriptions that reflect both emotional and rational critique. 

 

3. If you suspect it’s time for a rebrand or brand refresh, seek out a professional. You’ve invested way too much time, energy, and emotion to leave what may be the only visual introduction of your brand to someone with no track record of successful design executions.

 

DON’T:

 

1. Don’t let price be the deciding factor on who you choose to do the job. The adage; “you get what you paid for” applies to graphic design just as much as it does with, say… tires for your delivery van. 

 

2. Don’t allow personal likes and dislikes to play too big a role in what you move forward with. Always keep in mind that you may not necessarily be the “target.”

 

3. Don’t expect your logo or brand ID to do the heavy lifting. A good, effective mark leaves a very quick first impression. Too often, even sophisticated marketers expect their logo to do too much communicating in what should merely be an introductory friendly “hello”  There’s a good reason The Golden Arches doesn’t include renderings of a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke.

 

4. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 

GAP clothing had enjoyed excellent brand recognition and recall with consumers. In 2010, GAP hired a design firm to redesign their iconic logo completely. Gone were the familiar tall, serif, all-cap letters in a blue square. The New logo was composed of the word Gap, set in Helvetica extra bold with a small blue box as an accent. Consumers and GAP devotees voiced their extremely negative response, and within one week of the new logo appearing, GAP reverted their logotype to the previous, more familiar look. Since that exercise, the short-lived redesign has been widely known as the worst logo of all time.

 

Sometimes, even seemingly small changes to your brand ID and logo can have an impact. Just remember, your identity is as important as the service or product you sell. When you suspect that it might be time for a peek under the hood, don’t anguish. Just know that there are these simple things to keep in mind when doing so. 
 
Related Links:
 –Check out more of Keith’s insights on branding here.
 –See some logo evolution from well-known brands.