Hitting refresh: What goes into a branding project

Rachel Lemieux, Art Director
Kelly Freitas, Art Director
Arielle Tiner, Senior Designer
Posted on Apr 23, 2021

Everyone needs an occasional refresh – including your brand.

One of our favorite things to do as designers is to work with clients on brand refreshes and redesigns. In the website world, things change quickly. A top-of-the-line feature from last year is today’s standard. If your brand thrives on being ahead of the curve, a brand refresh can help reflect your values even better.

A brand refresh vs. brand redesign

Let’s talk about the difference between a “brand refresh” and a “brand redesign”. The goal of a brand refresh is to give the brand an external “facelift” to modernize it. A refresh does not touch the core values of the company, it only covers the visual identity. Many components are affected by a brand refresh, and every bit of consumer-facing content must be updated.

On the other hand, a brand redesign is a complete overhaul of a brand. This includes the identity of the company, from the core of your brand (mission, vision, values) to its visual identity.

Why do you need a brand refresh?

You can undergo a brand refresh any time you’d like, but here are some occasions when it’s extra important:

  • It’s been years since the brand was updated.

  • You have a new audience you want to appeal to.

  • Your company has new leadership.

  • You are expanding into a new medium (web or app design, events, etc.)

  • You don’t have the budget for a full brand redesign.

  • You want to start small and then fully rebrand in the future

What’s included in a brand refresh?

The brand refresh should include all components of the brand. Let’s start with the obvious parts: the logo, the website, and any piece of collateral that has the logo on it (which can be quite a lot).

A brand refresh often includes:

  • An elevated look and feel of the original logo, but not a complete deviation.

  • A refreshed color palette and typography system to the website and collateral.

  • Competitor analysis to gauge competitors’ logos, design, and palettes.

  • Updates to the logo tagline.

  • Refreshed content and copy.

  • Print collateral such as business cards, datasheets, letterheads, envelopes, white papers, etc.

  • Updates to social media platforms including profile pictures, cover photos, etc.

  • New web banners, ads, landing pages, and email templates.

  • Revamped trade show booths and pull-up banners.

  • Updated brand guidelines.

Don’t forget about your brand voice! Updating your brand voice and tone to align with your new visual brand will have a huge impact and show consistency through all aspects of the brand.

How to approach this process

Find the right agency

When you’re ready to refresh your brand, finding the right agency to work with can make all the difference. You’ll want to choose an agency that’s easy to work with, understands your goals, and has experience with branding projects. Imarc has a winning streak, and we love branding projects! Check out what we did for North Shore Realtors, Eastern Petroleum, SIMCON Solutions, and ReadyWorks. You can take a look at our other projects here.

Make the time

Allow for plenty of time to refresh all of your brand components. We recommend doing it in stages to help make it less overwhelming. Create a list of every item that needs to be refreshed and then prioritize them.

Share it with others!

How do you plan on rolling out your new updates? It’s time for show and tell! Your agency will likely help you with the roll out. Internally, you can share the work at a company meeting. For external communication, a blog post or press release may be the best option. Make sure your customers, board members, and investors are notified as soon as possible.

Looking to refresh your brand? Imarc is here to help! Let’s talk.

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