A friend of mine once conned me into chopping 12 inches off of my hair. A decision I made at the salon after the hairdresser already trimmed my hair the mere one inch I originally requested.
It was a decision I regretted instantly. This bob (complete with swooped sidebangs) was a spur the moment decision that I didn’t prep for in the least — with a hairdresser I’ve never visited to boot. What was I thinking?!?
I had the itch. The itch for something new.
Sometimes we get that desire to completely redo everything. Whether that’s our website, wardrobe, brand or, heck — even our hair.
Before you go out and get a pixie cut or a bob with swooped bangs (don’t do it!), let’s ease into it, shall we? I’ll be your wise + trusted hairdresser, and talk you through your creative itch.
Diagnose the issue
First things first, let’s get to the heart of the issue. What is it about your current brand that doesn’t sit right with you? Go beyond the “it just doesn’t feel like ME” comment, and do some digging. Could it be the messaging on your site, your current offerings, products or is it the visual identity? So often we jump to the most apparent element of our brand — the design — and skip past the core of your brand.
Maybe your itch to redo everything really comes back to services or products that no longer align with your brand. Step one: diagnose the issue. Once we have a firm grip on why you have this urge to switch things up, you can move forward with confidence.
But wait, am I allowed to change by brand design?
Ah… I hear this question (can we call it an insecurity?) creep up often. Us brand designers nail it in your head that you can never change your colors, type and logo in any way. Though that is a great rule of thumb to follow, there are times when it is necessary to make a change. The trick is to make sure you have a valid reason. Redesigning your brand without a legit reason behind it can lead you down a dangerous path. It sets the precedence that whenever you feel like it, you can change your logo and brand on a whim. This also tells me that you are paying too close attention to your competitors, possibly insecure about how your brand measures up, and swayed by current fads or trends. We definitely want to avoid this!
However, there are times when it completely makes sense to either adjust your current brand, or go through a complete overhaul. Here are a few situations that may trigger a valid redesign:
- Your business name changed — the most obvious need for a new brand!
- You never had a quality brand to begin with. It may be time to up-level!
- Your business just went through radical changes. This could mean a completely new business model, a shift in offerings or a new direction for your brand.
- You recognized your current brand no longer appeals to your audience.
- Your current brand was trendy (whoops!) and now looks dated.
- You’re trimming down your brand. Instead of offering #allthethings, you are narrowing down on what suits you best.
And PS, if this is you, let’s chat! We’d love to come alongside you.
A lean rebrand.
Though there are situations where you should overhaul your entire brand identity, sometimes what I call a “lean rebrand” will suffice. To clarify, a completely new brand identity involves a new logo, color palette and all marketing material. This shift would likely work toward better reaching your audience.
A “lean rebrand” could either adjust the current logo minimally (keep the same vibe, but clean it up a bit), and achieve a fresh design through color, photography and supporting brand elements.
I’ve worked with clients in both scenarios, so it completely depends on your goals.
Spruce Rd. went through a “lean rebrand” about a year ago. Once I recognized that my current brand identity no longer matched with my ideal audience, it was time to switch things up. As a brand designer I have to really check myself before I make any tweaks to my own brand! I’m constantly inspired to create innovative design, but I’ve learned to guard against creating for the sake of it when it comes to my own brand. A difficult thing to do!
For my lean rebrand, my goal was to shift to a more gender neutral identity, while not losing the recognizable Spruce Rd. brand. You can view the before + after below to see how I achieved this transition.
You’ll notice that two primary colors changed. I dropped the coral and gold, and subbed in a muted blush and olive. The photography styling remained similar, yet the background colors changed. My business card remained, and I dropped the florals.
For some reason, I’ve always been drawn toward how a shoe design represents a brand. I think through answering “If your brand was a shoe, which one would it be?” I can learn a lot about the visual aesthetic. In both Spruce Rd. brand shots, you’ll find a similar sneaker — minimal lines, muted neutrals, with a pop of a warm color. The main difference is in the feminine florals of the Nike sneaker, versus the clean lines of the New Balance. The shoe swap sums up the lean brand refresh — gender neutral.
Color and photography allow a minimal effort, and a large impact on a brand refresh. Before diving in deep with a complete overhaul (unless it is truly needed, or you never had a professional design), start first with these elements. See how it fits, and move forward from there!
… and don’t go straight for the bold haircut quite yet, trust me :).