When is it time for a brand refresh?

October 24, 2022
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We often get asked this age old question – what is the lifespan of a brand identity?

This is a hard question, as the real answer is – it depends! Many brands will go for decades without making any changes whatsoever to their identity, whereas others will regularly evolve and update their identity every couple of years.

So why is this?

The truth is that a brand is rarely static – an organisation will develop as it grows and expands, and its personality will change as employees and leaders come and go. As an organisation develops, so too does its identity, its voice, and what it wants to communicate to its audiences.

A major reason why brand identities become outdated is because they fail to keep pace with the changing global design zeitgeist (what is capturing the attention of the world culturally at any one point in time). Visual design is similar in many ways to the world of fashion and design – what is ‘in vogue’ one year may well become outdated and unfashionable relatively quickly.

For example, over the past few years, minimal design has been all the rage, with many organisations stripping back their identity to be as simple as possible. However, minimalism looks set to be replaced in the next few years with ‘maximalism’, a new trend where detail, bright colours and ‘business’ guide the narrative. Forget scandi-style, and keep an eye out for an ar art-deco revival – we truly are back in the roaring twenties!

This presents a challenge for brands – do you design for now, or design for the future? One way you can safeguard your brand from becoming outdated is to ensure that it is designed to be future-proof. The best brands are those that are designed to be timeless – those that don’t follow trends and are uniquely distinctive. Using another fashion analogy – think of a black cocktail dress or a pair of brogues – something that is simple, classic and never goes out of style.

Another reason why a brand may need a rebrand is because its visual identity no longer communicates the values and personality of the organisation it represents. An identity could be presenting an organisation to one particular audience, when in actual fact it is being served by a completely different one.

In any case, the decision to rebrand or refresh is one which can be daunting. There is no definitive answer to whether or not a rebrand is due, however a rebrand can act as an exciting catylst for positive change within your organisation.

The Quantock Approach to Rebranding

Our approach to refreshing a brand identity looks at rebranding an organisation on a scale of evolution to revolution, a process which we have found to regularly deliver the best results for our clients.
Evolutionary Routes

A subtle update to the current visual design, staying closely aligned to the existing visual equity. Colours may be refreshed, and any marks or typography tweaked, but overall retains a similar aesthetic. Design concepts at this end of the scale seek to modernise and fix errors in the existing identity, but not reinvent the wheel.

Revolutionary Routes

Starting from a clean blank canvas, we take a brand new approach to producing a graphical representation of the organisation, based upon our insights derived from research and consultation. Design concepts that are closer to ‘revolution’ can be particularly effective in disrupting a sector or market, and are a brave move that signal to customers of a change in direction.

If you’re looking for guidance on where your brand is at on its journey and what it needs to do to get to where it is heading, do get in touch – we’d love to share our expertise and opinion with you.

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