Refreshing Your Identity to Thrive Online.

Ryan McGrew
5 minutes

Here’s the reality. Some brands just don’t work well online. Outdated colours and symbolmarks or a lack of supporting elements can lead to brands that feel dated or broken in a digital space. This can stifle creative potential, limit a website’s design, and degrade the user experience. The good news is that there’s often a refreshing solution that doesn’t need to involve reinventing your entire brand wheel. 

In this article, we’ll go over a digital identity refresh vs a rebrand, how to build a responsive brand and why it matters for businesses looking to create a modern, professional digital experience.   

A refresh is not a redo.

Many companies have invested years into building up brand equity and a loyal following. So the thought of even touching the brand can seem like a daunting proposition. It doesn’t have to be. Sure, there are times when a brand has become wildly outdated and needs an overhaul. But in many cases, a simple digital style guide is the practical solution to get your identity up to speed and ready for the digital world.

Take for example, these two projects that we completed below.

Style Trend and The Annex are sister brands that offer modern fashions and home goods. Their logos were decades old and their brands had no established colours or typefaces. They weren’t anywhere near the same level as the modern brands they were selling at their shops. With minor tweaks, we simplified the logos and added elements to build out the brands online.
The Pan-Canadian Voice for Women’s Housing takes action to ensure women and children have safe and affordable housing. Without touching their existing logo, we refined their digital identity to ensure it reflects the vibrancy and kindness of their cause.

Sometimes a rebrand does make sense. 

When a brand no longer appeals to the desired audience and does more damage than good for the company’s reputation, a rebrand could be in the cards. In the case of Revive Skincare, their generic and outdated branding was missing the mark with their target demographic. 

We worked with their team to develop a modern brand and custom website that steps up Revive’s digital presence and provides the clinic with a memorable identity. Confident design and trend-forward tones, paired with smooth animations and minimalistic content create a unique and luxurious digital experience.

Signs your identity needs a digital update.

Not sure whether you’re ready to revise? Here are five telltale signs that your identity is not fit for digital and needs a digital style guide:

  1. Your identity and/or website has not been updated in 4+ years.
  2. You have a logo but no supporting typography system, colour palette or graphic assets.
  3. Your identity no longer captures the spirit and personality of where your business is going. 
  4. Your business is looking to reposition itself in the marketplace.
  5. Your team is less than enthused to share the brand with others.  
CANSSI works with universities across Canada to further the practice of statistical sciences. We developed a refreshed digital identity and a custom web solution with a striking colour palette and contemporary design elements to create an engaging experience. 

Responsive logos and why you need one.

Just like you expect your website to be adaptable to various screen sizes, your identity should be responsive as well. Simply shrinking the logo is a no-go. As you scale down your screen, your logo needs to be ideally suited to the application. Consider the mobile navigation, favicon or social profiles, compared to a widescreen desktop. It’s not a one-size-fits all situation.  

As you can see in the examples below, different versions of the same logo are created for various application sizes by removing details. The smaller the application, the fewer details the logo has. This approach provides your company with a flexible logo that is right for the scenario.

Image from JUSTCreative

Our approach to digital identities. 

Our team starts by taking the time to get to know your organization better and familiarize ourselves with your existing brand elements. We’ll review your competition and gather insights to empathize with your users and deliver a brand experience that will resonate with them.

We believe the best brand experiences have distinctive elements that fit seamlessly within a cohesive system. Our team of designers are experts in creating hierarchy and differentiation within brands. This can include colour variation, graphics, iconography and/or patterns that set your digital presence apart within your specific industry.

The deliverable for this is a Digital Style Guide that includes digital fonts and type hierarchy, colours, button styles and online application samples. This gives your team a chance to review how design will interplay with imagery and content on your website before we get into development.

Kelowna Skin Cancer Clinic features some of the most innovative technology for preventing skin cancer. But their previous brand and website weren’t conveying their contemporary approach. We elevated their identity system to create a reputable digital experience that feels cutting-edge.  

Plan the brand before the build.

Getting a new website is no doubt an exciting game-changer for your business. Before jumping into design deep-end though, consider the mega huge impact that a digital-ready brand can have on the final product. Just like the parts that make up a perfect sandwich, what you get out of your website design is only as good as what goes into it. Your digital identity is a key ingredient that can’t be ignored. 

Whether it’s time for a simple refresh or a redo, let’s chat about the elements your brand needs to be successful online.

Ryan McGrew, Award-winning Copywriter and Creative Director at Twirling Umbrellas.

WRITTEN BY

Ryan is an award-winning copywriter and creative strategist with over a decade of expertise. He creates distinctive brand voices, builds thoughtful content plans, and writes compelling copy that provokes action.