The decision to redesign your logo comes down to how much your brand may have changed, not design trends

by Darlene Veenhuizen

 When a client comes to DASH with a logo project, especially a “refresh” or “redesign” our first question is always – What is it about the logo that is not working now? 

Darlene at DASH here, and while I love doing logo designs, I also place a lot of emphasis on the brand as a whole, and it’s strength. So if you come to me with a logo redesign request, my answer or push back, might surprise you. You may not need a redesign, you may just need a refresh. 

Your brand should be consistent, and while your logo may feel dated, is your brand still relevant? In what ways is your brand being expressed that doesn’t feel aligned with your logo? 

Does your logo need a whole new design, or does it just need to be refreshed?

Rebrand or Redesign logo flowchart

Here’s how DASH defines the difference between a logo redesign and a logo refresh: 


ReDESIGN: starting over, starting from scratch, and a complete recalibration. 

ReFRESH: cleaning up, adjusting parts of the logo, such as type or color or fixing smaller design elements. 

Still not sure? Consider these questions when deciding on a redesign vs. a refresh:

  1. Do I absolutely have to change my name or logo? (like, is there a legal reason that you are being forced to do so?)
  2. Am I changing my business offering, core focus, or adding a product line that should have it’s OWN brand under my umbrella brand/company?
  3. Is there anything about this current branding that I could keep?

So if you DON’T need to change your business name, and you are not changing your core business, then you are likely going to be happier with a brand refresh.

During a brand refresh, you might do the following:

  1. Update your colors (are there colors that can just shift in shade, but still carry the same psychological meaning?
  2. Update your supporting fonts. These are fonts you use on your website, in print materials like your business card, or on social media graphics.
  3. Add new brand textures, icons, illustration style, or other graphic elements. These shouldn’t change ALL the time, but if you are refreshing, look at these elements too. Try to stay true to your brand, not just using whatever style is trendy (that is true for all of these graphic elements when it comes to your brand).
  4. Update your photography. Your photo style should match your branding. This is also a good time to look at all the photos you are using on social and on your website and make them current. Use your updated color palette and find objects to use as props in those colors. Another idea is to use neutral-colored props and wardrobe and allow graphics and fonts to be the pop of color.
  5. Update your tagline. This one is controversial because a tagline is part of core branding and should ONLY be updated when necessary. I’ve seen brands, like Humm Kombucha for example, successfully update their tagline twice in the last 10 years, but it was done well! So ask yourself, is your core company attitude or message shifting? Maybe you’ve honed your messaging after you’ve been in business for a while? Then a tagline change can really help you feel like your brand is staying current without getting rid of the logo you’ve spent time building up brand equity with. Another consideration is to leave the tagline out of your logo and experiment with taglines on your website or in advertising before committing to putting one in with your logo design.
  6. Finally, you could update your logo font, as long as the symbol of your brand isn’t changing. For example, Nike has used different fonts for their logo over the years, but always uses the swoosh as a symbol. 

Rebrand or refresh, keep it about your audience

If you really need to rebrand, then keep in mind that a rebrand starts with strategy – look at your core audience, what they like, what they want, and then figure out how your offering will speak to that.

Remember to look at your competitors! You may be tired of your branding, but it might be really unique and effective compared to what else is in the market. You want to stand out, be different, and appeal to your audience.

I know it’s hard, but your branding isn’t really about what you like – at least that’s not the main thing. It’s about your audience and what they like. It’s worth it to spend the time and money on the brand strategy and research before diving into design.

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