1. Create a Story

branding

What is your brand story? How do you describe your company, or product or vision? Is it consistent every time? And does the story and tone match the visuals?

Before you can go any further, stop and answer these questions. It might be a little harder than you think at first.

Here’s an example to help you really think about your story.

TOMS Shoes has a mission to give back with every purchase. It’s a message that is on nearly every page of the website and in every branding package. And even when you don’t think you see it, the story and message are there with images of children wearing TOMS, video on the homepage of lots of different people in the shoes and an entire marketplace of items from other companies that give back in the same way as this company.

The brand is based on this story of giving back. Every bit of published material from TOMS has the same tone – it’s helpful and empathetic, hopeful and caring.

While TOMS likely has resources you do not, this example of a story shows the unified message that you should try to create with your brand. So what’s your story?

2. Change Up the Images

branding

Sometimes something as simple as an image refresh can do a world of good. How old is your photo collection? Are the clothing and hairstyles starting to look dated? Mix them up with a few new images.

Whether you go the custom photography route or add in a few stock photos, just changing the photos you use for branding materials can make a huge difference. If your photo library is not that old, go through it again and switch some of the photos you have been using with ones that are not part of the regular rotation.

If you don’t have the resources for new photos, consider a photo effect for a fresh look. Try a black and white image with colored text or a color overlay for a fresh take on the “same old photos.”

3. Refresh Your Color Palette

branding

Take a good hard look at your color palette. Today’s color trends involve lots of bright, saturated hues.

You have three options when it comes to color:

  • Take the time to rebrand with a new color palette. While this is the most time-consuming and costly option, it can be a good move if your colors aren’t working for you. This includes color choices that are hard to work with, consistently don’t reproduce well or just keep your brand from standing out in the way you think it can.
  • If your color scheme is feeling a little bland but you don’t want to start over with color, try a brighter color mix for your standard palette. Go for something a little more saturated with less white or black.
  • Add an alternate color to the mix. Most basic color palette include three or four hues, consider an “alternate” color option for those times when you need an extra kick. An alternate color could be used in backgrounds as a text accent or any number of ways with the colors you already have.

4. Add in a New Typeface

branding

In the exact same way you can add or change a color, you can tweak your typeface palette. You have two options: Change a typeface altogether or change the way you use an existing typeface within your palette. We’re going to focus on the latter because it is a pretty easy fix that anyone can do.

Most quality typefaces come with plenty of options in addition to bold and italic. Take advantage of these weights to add impact to the design without breaking out of your palette or too far from your style.

The best ways to create impact with this “new” typeface is to think about using text in an oversized manner – think hero headers for website design – or by using type in a different way, such as all caps for headlines if you have used upper- and lowercase letters in the past.

This little change can add visual weight in different places and change where the eye goes in the design. Create even more pop with color and consider using colored lettering for key words or phrases and your standard black, white or gray for everything else.

These simple changes to contrast within your existing typography can freshen the palette and make it feel like you have new typeface options to experiment with.

5. Incorporate a Trend

branding

Not sure what to do with your brand? Try a trendy technique. The nice thing about trendy elements is that they can last as long as the trend. So for items such as flat design that have a long life you can create a new brand around it if you like based on a “trendy trial run” or do something with a shorter shelf life, such as an animated gif meme.

Trends are an easy way to introduce a small change and see how it works before launching a full-scale redesign. You can also add a trendy element without changing your entire framework. Here are three trends you can incorporate into almost and brand website:

  • Video
  • Animated user interface elements such as buttons that wiggle or change color
  • A more minimalist framework with more white space and less content on each page.

Conclusion

How drastic or subtle your brand changes are depends on whether you are just looking to freshen up a brand that feels stale or you are starting from scratch. Either way, you should think about all the things about your brand that do work and try to carry them over with you. If you have a large customer base, that should be a consideration as well, so they don’t “lose you” in the process.

Any type of brand changes come with growing pains. Think it through and if a refresh is what you need – that’s what we have really focused on here – try a few small things. Think about why you want the refresh in the first place and that should help lead you to the tweak that will help you find the greatest success.

Image Sources: Dominic Alves, Louise Ireland, David Blaikie and FontFont.