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Extreme Makeover – Brands That Went Big With Their Redesign

3-minute read

They’re the brands that aren’t afraid to be bold. All of them hit the nuclear button on their image and turned heads with a bold new look…

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Most companies change their look over time, so slowly you barely even notice it. A tweak to the lettering perhaps, maybe a shade darker on the colour wheel. Subtle changes to freshen things up but nothing too radical.

And then there are the companies that go big. In one fell swoop they rip up their branding guidelines, consign their old image to the history books, and emerge with the kind of gasp-inducing makeover usually reserved for the closing scenes of DIY SOS. 

Here we bring you the drastic redesigns that caught our (and probably everybody else’s) attention…

Mailchimp

Mailchimp logo before and after

Mailchimp’s revamp flies in the face of lots of brands that are favouring pared-back simplicity. They plumped for a canary yellow colour scheme, a playful chunky font and a redrawn winking chimp (known as Frederick von Chimpenheimer IV, or Freddie for short). On top of that, they brought in a team of illustrators to produce a series of quirky hand-drawn sketches to use across their branding.  All in all, it cements Mailchimp’s reputation as a brand that knows how to have fun. 

Battersea

Battersea logo before and after

The animal rescue charity brought its image bang up to date with its total rebrand in 2018. Dropping ‘dogs and cats home’ from its name to simply be known as Battersea allowed for a much more contemporary look and feel. A series of hand-drawn watercolour illustrations of dogs and cats lent a sense of personality to things. Meanwhile, the tagline ‘Here for every dog and cat’ gives a nod to its new, straightforward tone of voice.

FatFace

Fatface logo before and after

This total rebrand was the equivalent of seeing your coolest friend suddenly swap sun-bleached hair, board shorts and beaded bracelets for a suit, brogues, and short, back and sides. FatFace did away with its surfer image in one fell swoop, unveiling a sophisticated, grown-up look to show the evolution of the brand.

And the ones that changed their minds…

Gap

Gap logo before and after

The US clothes giant famously made one of the fastest branding U-turns of all time. It launched its new-look logo to an unprepared public, prompting thousands of people to express their dismay. Just six days later the old logo was reinstated and order was restored. It was a costly mistake – the rebrand was estimated to have cost them $100 million.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail logo before and after

Another howler when it comes to total rebrands was the Royal Mail/Consignia debacle. People didn’t like the new name from the off. Just 16 months later it was given the heave ho and changed to Royal Mail plc, prompting a collective sigh of relief from a concerned nation.  

Your Quickfire Guide To A Total Redesign

Is a total transformation on the cards? Then read our top tips first…

1. Be clear on your reasons Think about what you’re trying to achieve with your image overhaul. What is the end game?

2. Do your homework first What do your customers like about your current look and feel, if anything? Find out before you ditch everything – you’ll be surprised what has a place in people’s hearts.

3. What’s in a name? Tread carefully before changing your name. For American brand, Dunkin’, dropping the word ‘Donuts’ has been a success story. For Weight Watchers, the switch to WW wasn’t so well received.

4. Look closely at the competition Get a really good feel for what already exists out there in terms of branding, and then look at how you can set yourselves apart.

5. Think about the reaction you’re after What qualities do you want people to think of when they hear your name? How do you want them to feel towards you?

6. Get your people involved They’re your brand ambassadors. It’s crucial they feel a part of this change and understand the thinking behind it.

7. Plan your rollout The way you launch a rebrand can have a big effect on its success. Plan how you’re going to reveal it to your customers, and make sure you’ve got everything ready for a smooth transition.

A specialist Brand Agency

An award-winning branding agency, Threerooms has spent over 15 years making brands stronger and businesses more successful. Whether modernising brands with meaning or crafting effective marketing campaigns, our amazing team is focused on delivering brand transformation while providing exceptional customer service.

We want to hear about all your opportunities and how we can work together. Let’s chat.