When a client asks you to redesign their brand, you know it’s going to be a big job. In fact designing a rebrand can be harder than coming up with a brand image from scratch, in some ways, thanks to the limitations in place from the current branding. You need to have a strategy in place so that the project does not feel too daunting. To make things easier for you, we’ve established the three main stages in a rebranding process, from inspiration to launch.
Step One: Research
A rebrand involves more than just slightly altering the current branding; there will be a reason behind the change and you need to reflect this. Before you get started, it is essential that you carry out the following research…
Why does your client want a rebrand?
There are several reasons why a company might be in need of freshening up but you should only be interested in the reason behind your client’s company being updated. Perhaps that’s just what it is, an update. Perhaps your client wants their company’s look to reflect the modern times and how their customers have changed. Or, maybe there’s been some structural change in the company, such as a merger or a take-over. They might be repositioning themselves within the market to aim towards a different target audience or to gain a competitive advantage. They could even be trying to get away from a poor reputation.
These motives will all mean different things for you as the designer. Depending on which one is the actual reason, you could be making small changes or you could be coming up with completely new imagery as in this example of the Amalgamated Bank’s logo change. Here the company has decided to go for a logo that better represents who they are. The colour scheme mimics that of the New York City flag, where the bank was founded, and the abstract image symbolises strength and coming together, which is what ‘amalgamated’ means of course.
Get feedback on the current branding
When a company undergoes a rebrand, they usually keep at least a couple of aspects from the current branding. But which aspects? Have a sit down with your client so that you can discuss exactly what is it that they do and don’t like about their company’s visual identity at the moment. Do they like the imagery but not the colour scheme? Do they think the style is too formal? These are questions you need the answers to. You could even suggest that they conduct a mini survey with their customers for an outsider’s perspective on the brand.
Consider competitors’ branding
When it comes to branding, the secret to longevity is uniqueness. Some people talk about keeping your branding and logo simple so that it will fit in, whatever the current trends in design. But if you really want to stand the test of time, you need a brand image that is distinctive to you. Once you have a style that people can instantly recognise, all you need to do is update the look every few years to stop it from going stale. Just take a look at how the Google logo has evolved over time, nobody could argue that it isn’t instantly recognisable still but it has always kept itself fashionable.
What is your client’s new brand personality?
Perhaps the most significant piece of research you need to do is to discover what kind of emotions and feelings your client is trying to evoke within their customers, just like you would when designing a brand from scratch. Your client may be asking for a rebrand specifically because they are attempting to change their brand’s personality. If that is the case, you need to understand both the new personality and the old one so that you can communicate the change in your design.
It’s important to note here that creating a brand personality should always start with talking to customers and finding out what they actually want. Your client could have an idea of how they’d like their company to come across but if that’s not what their customers are looking for, it’s not going to do them any good. Ask your client if they’ve conducted a customer survey and, if not, strongly recommend that they do so before you move forward on your rebranding.
Step Two: Visualisation
Now you’ve gathered as much information as possible about your client’s company, you should be ready with ideas and inspiration for the project at hand. It’s time to get some of them down on paper.
Establish some style guidelines
Based on you research, mainly your findings on the brand personality, take some time to lay down some basic design elements for the rebrand. Having a defined colour scheme aids brand recognition by 80% so that would seem like a good place to start. The colour scheme might even be one of the main things that your client wants to change. After creating a finalised colour scheme, look to typography, another aspect of design that can increase brand recognition.
If you’re having difficulty knowing where to start when defining a colour scheme and a typography hierarchy, try reading our blogs; The Psychology of Colour: Is There Any Truth to It? and The Ultimate Guide to Typography.
Test your ideas
A rebrand project is a lot more than designing a business card or a logo, you need to create imagery for all aspects of the company’s visual presentation. That does include their logo and business cards but also their website and their presence on social media. Their logo will also be used on many different mediums. Your final design needs to work on all of these different platforms so make sure that you’ve tested it out in all of them.
Step Three: The Launch
Have everything ready
Once you hand over all the necessary files to your client, there isn’t much more for you to do. Your client should have been building the anticipation for the change across all of their channels and should continue to promote the change afterwards. They will be wanting to upload the new designs to all their platforms at once however, so you need to ensure that you have provided them with all the necessary bits and pieces, all the additional files in different formats and sizes. If they have to chase you up on something that you’ve forgotten, it will not look good for your service so do check and double check.
Hopefully after reading this blog you feel more up to the challenge of complete brand overhaul. If you’d like more specific tips on how to design a logo, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Just head over to our 8 Logo Design Tips for Designers blog.