One of the biggest concerns for established brands is maintaining the recognition that your brand has successfully achieved. If you’ve been using your logo and a style guide for quite some time it is a valid concern to ensure that your current customers are going to recognize your rebrand. The first question you’ll want to ask is: What is currently working? That’s so important. Why reinvent the wheel when there are visual and verbal aspects of your brand materials that are successful? You may have a lot of primary and secondary branding elements that are already doing their job beautifully. Secondly you need to look at: What isn’t working? After making these two lists the starting point will seem obvious. However, let’s keep diving deeper. Next up and most importantly: How can you incorporate your mission and values?
These questions arose because I was mulling over my website redesign for almost a year. I was struggling to put together a visual platform that reflected my mission and values. I quickly realized that the issue was stemming back to my logo and style guide. My brand attributes were misaligned with my mission and values. This can happen over time—especially when trends and technology are influencing the meaning and usage behind colors, textures, and composition. Pictured below is a comparison of my old logo (on the left), versus my new logo (on the right). You could do this exercise with any type of branding material. Since I decided to start with my logo I figured I would share my thoughts below as an example.
1. What is currently working?
While I knew that the emblem needed some work I also really appreciate its origins and I feel that it represents my style. I like the combination of green and gray. What I like most about the logotype is that I created it—which means it’s original. That’s about all that was currently working for me.
2. What isn’t working?
Where do I start! The angles of the lettering in the logotype caused me a lot of trouble when matching with script fonts. Which meant that I couldn’t utilize a particular script font that I love—Fairwater Script, by Laura Worthington. Also, the thicks and thins were a bit too drastic for a logotype. When the file was reduced it made the letters hard to read. While I love green and gray the colors were off! They were cold and almost dead looking. The emblem was created more than 14 years ago and it showed. My capabilities have grown overtime and that should be apparent in my logo. The sans serif font that I chose for “Design & Creative Services” was plain and really didn’t say anything about my design style.
3. How can you incorporate your mission and values?
The emblem is a form of gratitude to those who came before and an acceptance of those who are here now. It combines cultures and recognizes differences in a way that I find beautiful so I wanted to enhance that even further by making it a little stronger, adding thickness, and refining it more to represent my current abilities as a designer. I appreciate the environment, all things natural, and alive! Therefore I needed to add warmth to my color palette. Ultimately, I needed to add more colors to my style guide that would compliment the green and gray colors that I did choose. I also needed to create an original logotype that could work well with my current branding needs and desires. That meant creating a straight script font that could pair well with the fonts I love most. Also, the logotype needed to reduce well as the web and social media has created a new set of branding needs at tiny sizes. Lastly, I knew that I wanted to add a little Italian flair to my rebrand. I did this by incorporating one of my greatest inspirations, Louise Fili, by adding her beautiful font Montecatini.
If you’re having trouble moving forward with a project it may be that there is a key component not aligning with your business. I encourage you to take a detailed look at what’s working, what’s not, and how you can incorporate more of your mission and values into your marketing material. A complete rebrand isn’t always necessary but reviewing what aligns will help you determine your next steps.