Brand refresh: Tips for updating your brand’s identity

Brands are constantly expanding and evolving to meet the challenges of the day. As your business grows, your offerings change, and your mission shifts over time, it’s good practice to reassess your brand to ensure it properly reflects your place in your industry. Sometimes, a little bit of polishing with a brand refresh is precisely what your company needs to mark these transitions.

What is a brand refresh?

A brand refresh gives your company a “facelift” in the public eye. This may entail changing the font a brand uses, redesigning the icon, choosing new colors, or incorporating a new slogan into the logo. However, what doesn’t change is the core of your brand. During a brand refresh, your company retains its name and the overall look and feel of the brand while introducing fresh, new elements that bring your logo and other visual elements of your brand identity into a forward-thinking, modern age.

Tips for conducting a successful brand refresh

Change can take some time, but with proper research and planning, executing a brand refresh will be well worth the effort. These five tips can help guide you and your team through this process.

  • Review your entire brand from top to bottom. Also called a brand audit, this review takes all components of your company into account to ensure nothing is accidentally left behind. This process also helps you to thoroughly assess your brand so you get the refresh right the first time around.
  • Do some homework. Before setting out on a brand refresh, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Have they made changes lately? If so, what changes did they make, and did they publicly talk about why they made those changes?
  • Have a “why” behind your decision to refresh. Making changes to your brand without a concrete, mission-driven reason to do so may not resonate with your clients and customers. Have a good handle on why you want or need to make changes before setting out on this journey.
  • Keep a visual connection to the old imagery. One of the biggest differences between a refresh and a rebrand is the connection between the new logo and the old logo. A successful refresh retains the more iconic, memorable, or recognizable elements of your “old” logo and other parts of your brand and gives them a fresh look.
  • Plan the rollout. Waking up one day to find a new logo can be a little confusing for your customers. Take the time to properly announce your brand refresh. This is a great opportunity to discuss why you decided to refresh your brand as well, further creating connections with your customers and showcasing your understanding of the importance of your brand in your industry.

5 benefits of a brand refresh

When you think of a brand refresh, you may first think of a total overhaul of your company’s visuals. But a brand refresh doesn’t go that deep, which helps to retain connections to the original branding. These five brand refresh benefits best illustrate its role in maintaining and advancing your company’s image.

  1. It keeps your brand relevant. Your brand is not a static, set-it-and-forget-it part of your company. Keeping up with market trends means revisiting your brand with regularity to ensure your brand assets truly represent your company — and that your brand is capable of standing out against the competition.
  2. It retains familiar elements of your brand’s look and feel. When giving your brand a makeover, you’ll hold on to some of its most recognizable components. This is to retain connections between customers and your company. So the most widely identifiable parts of your brand, whether that’s lots of blue hues or an iconic triangle shape, won’t be left by the wayside during a brand refresh.
  3. It costs less than a rebrand. A full rebrand of your company can be a more expensive endeavor which takes time, effort, and perhaps even the help of professionals. Those costs can add up! So if you’re mostly happy with your brand but just think it needs a little lift, a brand refresh is the way to go.
  4. It signals important change in your company. Whether you have a new CEO, you’re offering new services, or you’ve made a similarly impactful change in your business, a brand refresh is a great way to visually indicate that you’re evolving.
  5. It ensures all parts of your visual identity are cohesive. In some cases, you may have jumped into your company head first without thinking too much about a full visual identity. Your company’s visual identity goes beyond just a logo to include colors, fonts, patterns, and other parts of your brand that a customer sees and comes to associate with your business. A brand refresh is the perfect way to formalize your visual identity without causing too much disruption.

3 brand refresh examples

Let’s take a look at three famous brand refreshes so you can get a good idea of how this concept works out in the real world.

1. CVS

The pharmacy chain is an excellent example of retaining recognizable visual elements while pivoting to meet a new mission. In 2016, CVS took significant steps to align itself with wellness and a person’s whole health, uniting four disparate brands under the banner of CVS Health. Two years prior, the company famously decided to stop selling cigarettes in its stores — certainly a healthy move. And just a year later, the company bought the healthcare company Aetna.

CVS retained its signature red font and big block lettering in this logo, even with such a drastic change. The creative team added a heart to symbolize care and well-being, bringing this company into a healthy future without leaving recognizable components of the national pharmacy chain behind.

2. Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn Logo
HolidayInn Logo by Logos-download

The hotel and hospitality chain’s old logo retained some 3D elements reminiscent of ‘90s graphic design. As Holiday Inn moved to refresh its hotel rooms, it changed the logo to better reflect the direction in which the company was heading. This brand refresh, completed in 2007, retained the script-inspired “H” in Holiday Inn and the green used in the logo while choosing a fresh new palette and gradient. Under this new, refreshed logo, customers know that Holiday Inn offers a revamped experience wherever its hotels can be found.

3. Mastercard

apple pay
Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

The two overlapping circles in the Mastercard logo have been a part of the brand since the 1960s. The yellow and orange circles have been through several iterations throughout the years — paired with different words, striped to indicate an overlap — but the latest brand refresh in 2019 removed the “Mastercard” wordmark altogether. The two circles have become so closely associated with the brand that they could successfully stand in place of the name, and there would be no doubt which company stood behind the logo. It’s the perfect example of the power of imagery in a logo done right.

Use Namecheap Visual for your next brand refresh

Whether you’re marking 10 years in business, expanding your product offerings, or simply want to revive a tired logo, a brand refresh can help you keep up with the competition and remain relevant in a fast-paced world. Namecheap Visual is a suite of tools that can help you quickly and effectively complete a brand refresh. These easy-to-use and intuitive products help you create your new look with the help of the free Logo Maker, the accessible website builder Site Maker, and Card Maker to create new business cards with your refreshed look. And when you’re ready to share your refreshed brand with the world, Stencil by Visual helps you create images for social media and other digital marketing that can be shared with the world in minutes. Head to Visual to explore all our products and see how they can help you keep your brand relevant, attractive, and competitive.


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

Join Our Newsletter

Stay inspired

Get all the latest offers, articles, and industry news straight to your mailbox every month.

Need help? We're always here for you.