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There’s a common misconception that ‘brand equals logo.’ Companies are often nervous about words like ‘branding’ or ‘rebrand’ because they assume it means a logo redo is in order. The thought of a new logo strikes terror in even the most open-minded of key stakeholders. They cannot stop thinking about all the signage, business cards, t-shirts and office supplies in which they’ve already invested.

Fear not! If you’re looking to spice up your visuals for a stronger social presence or modernize your collateral for an upcoming event, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s very feasible to use an existing logo to build out a new brand system. We like to call this a ‘brand refresh’ or a ‘brand evolution,’ and here’s how you can quickly and cost-effectively tackle this need.

Find a Visual Anchor in the Existing Logo

When starting the brand refresh process, be sure to review all the existing branded materials. Don’t discount anything. Even the smallest asset could provide inspiration. The first priority when creating fresh branded design elements is ownability. You want your brand to feel custom and anything but generic. Most often, there is an element in the existing logo that can be pulled out, slightly modified and used as the baseline for your new brand visuals.

Here are a few sample assets from a brand evolution we provided for a client, Fortress. This example shows how you can use a shape from an existing logo as a key design element.


Embrace Existing Colors (and Supplement When Necessary)

Existing brand colors can be viewed as sacred…or the entire office lobby is painted in the brand PMS color and changing it is out of the question. Not a problem! When the existing color palette is locked, suggest adding a few tertiary or accent colors to help build a more robust color scheme. Be sure to utilize color theory to provide the rationale for the additional colors. If the existing color scheme is a little too expansive, try to assign meaning to the primary colors and whittle down the secondary colors.

The Fonts Need to Get Along

Look closely at the font of the existing logo; try to categorize it (san-serif, serif, hand-written, slab?) and then select complementary brand fonts. It’s not recommended to use the logo font as your main brand font. You want to retain contrast. When the same font is used for both the logo and headline, the design gets muddy or starts feeling redundant. It’s best to select two fonts – one for headlines and subheads that offers contrast and commands attention, and another for body copy that offers optimal readability. Google Fonts is a great resource, as it suggests popular font pairings.

Give the Images a Point of View

Unique imagery can truly make your brand stand out. Try to find a visual theme that helps support the company’s mission, product and/or solution. In the previous Fortress example, all the brand images were aerial shots, to help reinforce the company’s holistic view of risk across the business landscape. When there are images with a visual theme that connects to the company’s mission, they feel more ‘ownable’ and less generic. Don’t forget about the audience. Make sure all imagery will clearly resonate with the company’s key demographic.

One Brand. One Sheet.

All the new brand elements, along with the existing logo can be shared as a brand one-sheeter. This resource will prove to be a quick guide for anyone creating brand assets for your company. Below are a few examples of brand one-sheeters that we built from existing logos.

 Sheet 1    Sheet 2

Sheet4     Sheet3

You don’t have to be afraid to refresh your brand. It’s ok to be attached to your logo. In fact, your logo can help anchor an ownable and memorable brand.

Next time you find yourself in need of new visuals or a brand refresh, keep these tips in mind to save both time and effort…or just contact Merritt Group.

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