Why and When to Update Your Brand

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Brands evolve. It’s amazing to watch the (often) subtle ways that a company may edit their logo to reflect changing trends or address a shift in their ideology or culture. At times, the changes are so minor and executed so well you may not even consciously notice them—while other times the change can be so abrupt that it leaves you scratching your head.

You may ask yourself “Why spend time and money on making a change that no one notices?” The point is, that while some changes may seem minor, they can in fact, have a huge impact.

Why the Change? 

As a company ages, it often finds that their brand isn’t growing with them. Maybe the font is outdated, maybe the colors are too flashy or too expensive to print or perhaps the tagline no longer speaks to what they do as a company. Maybe it was just poorly designed to begin with.

Whatever the reason, sometimes a company needs to take a hard look at their branding and ask themselves, “Is this really who we are?” And sometimes the more important question may be, “Is this really who we want to be?”

A Little Goes a Long Way

Allagash Brewing Company had done very little to their logo since opening their doors on Industrial Way in Portland, Maine back in 1995. Since then, they’ve grown from a one-man shop to becoming one of Maine’s largest breweries. When they finally decided to take a look at their branding, they found that all it needed was a little tweaking. By cleaning up and making “Allagash” look less distressed, they increased legibility without sacrificing brand recognition. 

Additionally, by increasing the size of the “leaf” they’ve elevated a logo element that may have been easily overlooked into something that can represent the brand as a standalone logomark.

Change as a Way of Life 

As most branding experts will tell you, the three most important considerations in branding are consistency, consistency and consistency. For one of Maine’s most recognizable brands, L.L. Bean, change has always been a part of their corporate identity. 

It’s a testament to the strength and durability of their brand that their logo can be so fluid—yet still retain such strong consumer recognition.

With the exception of their “vintage” logo (that still appears on apparel today), the font and overall “look” of the L.L. Bean letterforms haven’t changed much over the years. Instead, they often change the accompanying imagery (the Katahdin sunset, Katahdin mountain range, etc.) to give the logo new life and vitality.

Some Change Isn’t Always Good

You may remember several years ago when the city of Portland, Maine rebranded with an updated slogan: “Portland, Maine. Yes. Life’s good here.” The blowback was swift and relentless. Some called it too long and “choppy”. Others questioned why the word “yes” was included at all (as if they were trying to convince themselves that life was in fact “good” even while uttering the phrase.) Still others felt it went without saying that life was good in Portland. At any rate, after investing time, money and resources into the creative, there is no longer any trace of the slogan on the city’s website, collateral or branding. 

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The takeaway, sometimes nothing at all is better than the overthought and overly complicated. 

When is the Right Time to Re-evaluate My Brand?

When isn’t the right time? At Trueline, we recommend assessing your business’ goals at least once every year—and that should include a deep, long look at your brand. If you’re investing in a pay-per-click campaign through Google Ads, part of your strategy is to stop and assess how your money is being spent and how it’s working for you. Looking at your brand should be no different. 

The bottom line is that there are things (both big and small) that you can do to your brand that can positively affect how you’re perceived. 

Taking Our Own Medicine

Here’s how we assess how well our brand is representing Trueline. First, we ask ourselves, “What do we want to convey?” To answer this, we’ve created a list of adjectives that describe who we are. These terms include: hardworking, fun, active, fresh, energetic and reliable.

When you look at the Trueline logo, how well are these feelings conveyed?

Here are some of the considerations that went into our logo:

  • Color: Believe it or not there’s a lot of psychology behind the colors used in a logo. Orange conveys excitement and energy. Gray on the other hand, elicits a sense of conservatism and balance. Together we hope our logo conveys two of the adjectives from our list; energy and reliability.
  • Iconography: The “shaka” or “hang loose” symbol evokes images of Hawaii, surfing and an over all relaxed vibe. This speaks to our desire to be seen as “fun”.
  • Fonts: A sans serif font is easy to read but also goes further. The clean, modern style demonstrates a straight-forward, simple and “hard-working” aesthetic.

Now that you know how we assess the success of our logo, how does your logo hold up to this scrutiny? Have you made a list of the goals you have for your brand? Take a moment to look and see if the colors, fonts and iconography you’re using are working together to tell a story. And more importantly, are they working together to tell your story? 

Whether your logo, brand or tagline need a little tweaking or are in need of a complete overhaul, Trueline can help. We’re a full service marketing agency. We specialize in finding—and telling—a brand’s unique story through thoughtful design, writing and promotion. Contact us today to find out more.