Usually when a company wants a rebrand, they’re looking to make significant changes to the brand they already have. Sometimes, however, a company with a lot of positive brand equity will look to branding companies for a simple “refresh” of their current brand. So what exactly does a brand refresh look like and how does it differ from a complete rebrand?
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a youth organization that promotes and supports agricultural education. With over 600,000 members across over 7,000 chapters, the FFA has a very distinguished brand that has become synonymous with success in the agricultural industry, but their logo had remained virtually unchanged since their founding in 1928. It was time for a bit of a face lift.
When they first started working with us, they were skeptical about a logo change. After all, the FFA brand had invested a lot into their brand. They didn’t think that going through the whole rebranding process was a good move for an organization as revered as theirs to throw away a logo that had been worn on their traditional blue corduroy jackets for generations.
That’s why we decided to help them take their current brand, with all that it stands for, and go through a brand refresh where we tighten up their logo, color palate, messaging, and font selection to keep their classic brand contemporary with modern trends.
Look at these two logos side by side. They look pretty much the same, right? That was the point.
When refreshing a brand, half the battle is consistency. You want to make sure that, at a high level, the brand remains unchanged. When you work with organizations like the Future Farmers of America, you’re dealing with logos that have been worn by families through generations. There are kids in blue jackets today that look identical to their grandparent’s blue jackets from when they were in the FFA! If you’re refreshing a brand with that much history, you want to make sure that you keep consistency with their visual identity. Let’s look at some specific changes we made:
Notice how the eagle on the left looks less sharp? What about the red stripes on the seal that look bloated, or the misshaped stars? This isn’t uncommon to see in older brands. Unlike today, where you can keep your design files nice and secure on your server, in the past many logos were simply facsimiles of the original. Many of these distortions likely happened over years of copying and re-copying the same image over and over. We wanted to clean this up to make it more crisp.
We wanted to give the owl a little more personality. By cleaning up his feathers to make his breast less busy, it was easier for us to make his yellow and blue eyes pop.
Because the original logo was hand-drawn, there were some slight spacing and symmetry issues we wanted to shore up. This is one of the first things you should do when looking to refresh an older brand.
Before the brand refresh, the font and typeface seemed odd to us. It didn’t look great on small scales, like a business card, it was hard to read, and the “FFA” in the logo seemed to arbitrarily trail off. To clean this up, we introduced Klinic Slab as their new typeface and spaced the type in their logo appropriately.
There are tons of brands out there that are doing just fine, but could use a face lift to keep up with modern times. If you think your brand is one of them, make sure to start by reading Bold Brand by Josh Miles and doing a free brand audit on your current brand!