Rebrand vs. Brand Refresh: What To Do When Your Brand Needs a Face Lift

May 13, 2015

One of the most common inquiries I receive is from the frustrated boss lady who is tired of living with a visual brand that just doesn’t fit anymore. Like a pair of worn out shoes or a too-small top, a tired visual brand can simply suck the life out of you! Many boss ladies reach out to me about breathing new life into their branding, whether that’s a total overhaul or a strategic touch-up, and often times they don’t understand the difference between the two. You’d be amazed at how these seemingly similar concepts have such starkly different applications when it comes to your brand! So today, let’s take a peek at what it means to rebrand vs. refresh your brand, and how these two concepts can totally spiff up your visual brand presence.

rebrand vs. brand refresh: what to do when your brand needs a facelift | b is for bonnie design

Maybe you’re feeling like your logo and coordinating visuals simply aren’t a great fit for you anymore. Maybe your business has grown by leaps and bounds, and consequently has left that beginning logo of yours in the dust. That’s okay! Growth is something to be celebrated, and that frustrating feeling of limitation that comes from wearing a brand that’s a poor representation of your business’s capabilities is something that should be addressed ASAP. If you feel your branding is a poor representation of your business, your services, or your level of skill, then it’s time for a change, friend.

So what options do you have? Well, you can choose to either rebrand or refresh your existing brand! Often times we go for the term “rebrand” without giving it a second thought, when perhaps we don’t intend to totally overhaul our existing color palette, typefaces and more. When a client seeks out a rebrand, they intend to completely redesign their existing materials and start from scratch. This often works best when the previous logo was never a great fit for their business, or if they’re changing focus and moving in a new direction with their business. A full rebrand that involves totally new designs does offer a blank slate, but it also may be confusing for brands with large followings or loyal fan bases who are familiar with an existing visual brand and logo. If that’s the case, then it’s incredibly important to clue your audience in on the big changes ahead! Let them know a redesign is in order, and invite them to be a part of the process through behind-the-scenes photos and posts, as well as sharing the evolution of your new brand from the old. A full rebrand often involves new visuals, a new set of designs, as well as updated messaging. Although the brand’s name will stay the same, little else will.

But brand updates don’t always have to be so drastic! A brand “refresh” looks like making strategic updates here and there to reflect new growth, a shift in company focus or appealing to a more specific target market. This is a great option for the boss lady who loves her current brand, but thinks it could be a little snazzier. In a refresh, colors are often updated, logos are tweaked ever-so-slightly, and new complimentary designs are added to a suite to enhance it’s usability. A brand refresh enables a brand to remain current and easily identifiable to it’s loyal fan base, but with room to grow and keep up with current trends. Although your audience won’t be completely confused by your updated look, it’s still important to educate them on the change and share with them the rationale behind the fresh look.

Could a brand refresh or rebrand be in order for your business? If so, what approach do you think will help you reach the desired result? Sound off in the comments below, or get in touch to chat more about this exciting time for your brand!

  1. I love the distinction you’ve shared here! It’s helpful to have the language to share the changes you want to make to an existing brand, because I feel like that’s something I may do in several months. I did everything DIY (except my logo) when I first launched D&B in January and while I have a pretty solid grasp on the heart of the brand, when I get close to the one year point, I may end up doing a brand refresh since I’ll hopefully have the funds to work with an actual designer. 🙂

  2. Kristen says:

    Yes! Thank you for putting it into words! I was thinking “what the heck is the difference” myself. I’m currently going through a rebrand… What a whirlwind of mixed emotions. A part of me is still holding on to the past though I know deep down its totally ready for an overhaul.

    • Bonnie Bakhtiari says:

      Oh boy, a full rebrand is a big undertaking. Lots of emotions, especially if you’re still attached to your old brand. But you can do it! Change can be a little scary, but if it’s in your company’s best interests then it’s worth going for.

  3. […] you still have questions, I suggest you head to the experts!! This post by Bonnie is wonderful; this post by Ashlee is so helpful; and I also find this post by Lauren very […]

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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