Rebrand or Refresh? What’s the difference and which is right for you?

It’s a big decision when it comes to making changes to your brand. But when is it the right time to start from scratch? How do you decide between creating a complete new look or evolving your existing logo and brand? Understanding the difference between ‘rebranding’ and ‘refreshing’ is an important first step.


If your logo is already established as a recognisable icon, trying to re-invent the wheel could confuse your customers.

Subtle changes such as simplifying your logo, a new typeface and refining your colour palette, can bring your brand up to date without alienating your existing customers.

A refresh can also work as a tool for transitioning your brand over time. For example, you’ve noticed that customers shorten or abbreviate the name of your business and you plan to drop the name down. Rather than abruptly changing the name of your business with a full rebrand, which might confuse rather than clarify, you can build a series of brand updates into your strategy, that lead onto the full rebrand.

Iterations of the Google logo from 1998 to 2010
Google is a classic example of keeping with the times through incremental logo updates.
Credit: Aja Frost, Hubspot


If your brand no longer truly represents what you do, you want your business to be seen in a new light, or you’re planning a major growth, a full redesign is likely to be what you need.

A rebrand is a signal for major change. Perhaps you want to attract a new market demographic, or look for new investment opportunities. Perhaps you took on some work in a new sector recently and want to move into that area permanently. 

It’s also the perfect time to start over with any issues you previously faced: listen to your customer feedback and build on improving your service. A full rebrand will involve looking at the future of your business and what has (or hasn’t) brought you success to date, with your customers at the heart of the exploration and result.

The original Airbnb logo compared to its rebranded version in 2014
Airbnb completely transformed their brand in 2014.
Credit: Marion, The Branding Journal

So what next?

As with any project, it’s vital to identify the reasoning behind doing the work first so you can choose the right outcome. Has your business changed ownership, direction or are you targeting a new market? Or is your visual identity simply looking outdated? Whatever the motivation for change, we’d love to talk through your needs and ideas.

Thinking of undergoing some brand TLC? Get in touch to find out how we can help.