Subtle Changes; Big Impact – Rebranding

Written by - 15/09/2015

Recently, I’ve been thinking about brands that have adopted a ‘refresh’ approach as opposed to a complete change.

The reason for a refresh is simple…  You already have a recognisable brand or logo that you want to maintain, but it needs bringing up to date, perhaps to make it stand out within a crowded market or to make the brand and logo integrate better within web and mobile app design.

eBay is a prime example of this, their old logo was becoming dated yet was easily recognisable and of course, they want to maintain this. It’s clear to see that the solution is to keep the simple marque of the original and update it with a simple yet playful typeface, therefore retaining the presence of the original.

As with anything new, negative feedback is bound to happen – just as it did when the new eBay logo was launched a couple of years back. Many comments followed a similar theme, which boiled down to ‘I could do better’. But the logo has weathered the storm well, having been designed with simplicity in mind. This requires it to be adaptable – the simpler the better because special effects and intricate detail don’t always recreate well at various sizes.

Now that the new eBay logo has had time to bed in, it has proved that it works effectively with the modern design of their company and emphasises the usability of the new logo while retaining it’s key brand values and being instantly recognisable.


Naturally, being a designer this has made me consider other brands that have chosen a refresh rather than a complete change. A good example of a successful refresh is the rental company, Hertz, who subtly adapted their logo by using a new typeface. The brilliant thing about the Hertz re-fresh is that most people wouldn’t recognise the change.

What’s the point of that, you might ask? Well, it demonstrates that the logo has retained its original identity and company image, while also offering a more modern presence which integrates seamlessly into modern web design, social media, mobile apps and works well on their range of rental vehicles. Their older, more dated logo would stand out for the wrong reasons on modern applications so I think they made the right choice with a refresh.

Chances are, you have spotted the recently updated Google logo.

We have all been so familiar with the logo we have been seeing on a daily basis for 16 years, that this change came as a bit of a shock and provoked very mixed reactions. The familiarity of the colour sequence remains, but the serif logo that has represented Google for so long is no more. It admittedly needed a more modern refresh but with such a huge audience, a drastic change was a risk.



Another recent change was the Facebook logo back at the start of the year – a much more subtle change which was overlooked by many.

At first glance, the change is barely noticeable but critics have still slated the change, claiming that it isn’t Facebook anymore. Facebook’s Josh Higgins mentioned that “Now that we are established, we set out to modernize the logo to make it feel more friendly and approachable,” and we agree, the adjustments have given it the modernising it needed without causing too much fuss.

The ‘F’ icon remains the same, although the full logo has been adjusted slightly; the letters are more rounded, the ‘a’ is now single storey and a slightly thinner font has been used.

Is it time to refresh your brand?

All of these examples show how careful consideration of the original design can bring a brand logo up to date without losing the presence the original design holds.

If you feel it could be your turn, why not get in touch with us and see how we can help you to refresh your brand?