10 of the Most Radical Brand Refreshes & Rebrands from the Past Few Years
March 5, 2018
In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, it seems like just when a company has finished undergoing a major brand refresh or rebrand, they decide to change up their brand once again.
Whether the colors, look, typography, tagline, or all of the above, brand updates are happening more often and more quickly than ever before.
And this makes sense. After all, the internet and social media have changed the way we look at brands. Consumers want choices, transparency, and authenticity. Brand loyalty isn’t the same as it used to be.
Freshness and innovation are admired, but we value nostalgia, too. (Why else have there been so many brand reboots in the past few years? For more on this, look at Disney and how it’s resurrected the “Star Wars” and Marvel franchises.)
So, what is there for a company to do to stay competitive and engaging – while also remaining true to its voice and feel – in the eyes of current and future consumers from different generations?
Why, a brand refresh or rebrand, of course!
As an example, here’s a quick look back at some of the most radical brand refreshes and rebrands from the past few years that were curated by the talented (and hilarious!) team at Brand New (a popular blog run by the graphic design firm UnderConsideration).
10 of the Most Radical Brand Refreshes & Rebrands from the Past Few Years
1) Tender Greens (Restaurant Chain)
Established in 2006, Tender Greens is a restaurant company that believes “that everyone should have access to healthy, high-quality food at an affordable price.” Their model is truly a local one and very farm-to-table; they are proud to work with local farmers, wineries, breweries, and more to provide healthy, high-quality food and beverages to their customers.
In 2017, Tender Greens worked with Pentagram, a New York-based independently-owned design studio, to give their brand a complete overhaul. For this rebrand, Pentagram designed a new logo, color palette, and totally new look and feel for the growing company.
2) El Pollo Loco (Restaurant Chain)
Founded in 1980, El Pollo Loco Mexican Grill has grown into a considerable quick-service restaurant chain with 455+ restaurants throughout the American Southwest. Their new logo literally encapsulates their brand and introduces el pollo loco (the crazy chicken) for the first time. Another obvious difference is a more refined and sleek color palette.
3) General Mills (Global Food Company)
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., General Mills is one of the largest food companies in the world, with several famous brands falling under its umbrella: Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, and Haagen-Dazs, to name a few.
Last year, they unveiled the sixth new official logo with a tagline that fully embraces the various brands owned by General Mills: “Making Food People Love.” In a December 2017 blog post about their new logo, they wrote:
“The updated logo and branding nods to our tradition – the big blue G – and adds a splash of red to make our passion clear: Making Food People Love,” says Mary Lynn Carver, chief communications officer for General Mills. “And the logo is just the beginning. Our corporate brand is about telling the General Mills story thoughtfully, proactively and consistently.”
4) Tapestry (Modern Luxury Lifestyle Brands)
“Tapestry” is no longer just the name of singer-songwriter Carole King’s bestselling album. When Coach Inc. acquired Kate Spade in 2017, they decided they needed a new name to capture all three unique and noteworthy luxury brands. This led to Tapestry.
The new name and complete rebrand were designed by the New York-based Carbone Smolan Agency (CSA).
On their showcase page for this client, CSA described the rebrand as follows:
“To bring Tapestry to life, CSA created a new tone of voice and visual language. We chose a vibrant, optimistic yellow in conjunction with an elegantly designed system of typography and photography that embodies the spirit and energy of the global company.”
5) Real Canadian Superstore (Supermarket Chain)
Owned by Loblaw Companies, the largest Canadian food retailer, the Real Canadian Superstore is a 40-year-old supermarket chain with 100+ locations throughout Canada. Their new logo includes a similar color palette, but a completely different look.
Without the italicization, Real Canadian Superstore’s refreshed image is more sophisticated and bolder than before and poised for growth, just as is the company itself.
6) Diet Coke
Coca-Cola announced the “full brand restage” of their best-selling, zero-calorie beverage in January of this year.
A favorite since 1982, Diet Coke’s redesign comes with four new flavors and a slimmer size that reflects what Diet Coke is: a less unhealthy, sugar-free and calorie-free version of its parent (regular Coke).
In their announcement, Diet Coke North America Group Director Rafael Acevedo stated: “We’re contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new flavors that are appealing to new audiences.”
In particular, they wanted a new design that would appeal to Millennials.
7) Smoothie King (Smoothie Franchise Company)
Headquartered in Louisiana, Smoothie King is one of the largest smoothie franchise in the world and has 900+ locations scattered throughout the globe.
In 2013, they worked with Columbus, Ohio-based WD Partners for a new logo redesign that would bring them into the 21st century and be recognizable as they continued to expand.
In a press release announcing their new logo, they explained that the “fresh and sleek marquee serves as a symbol of the company’s aggressive growth strategy led by owner Wan Kim.”
8) Batch Organics (Food Delivery Company)
Batch Organics is a UK-based company food delivery company that delivers organic, flash frozen plant-based foods ready to enjoy on the go. Originally called Natural Blender, Batch Organics worked with Ragged Edge, a graphic design firm based in London, for a whole rebrand which included a name change.
Ragged Edge explained the rebrand as follows in their portfolio page for this project:
“In a health and wellness market crowded by ‘miracle cures’ and unrealistic diet plans, Batch Organics is a breath of fresh air. Its frank, truth-telling approach cuts through the fanfare. So we created a no hype, no hassle health food brand for busy people who want to eat well.”
9) Chobani (Food Processing Company)
Founded in 2005, Chobani has become one of the largest and most-recognized Greek yogurt brands in North America.
In 2017, they unveiled a completely new look including new typography, colors, and packaging designed in-house by their chief creative officer, Leland Maschmeyer.
As Brand New writer and editor Armin Vit (who is also the co-founder of UnderConsideration) explained why he loves this rebrand:
“The new wordmark manages to capture that feel-good sensation of the product in a rich, smooth, curvy, chunky serif that looks absolutely fantastic…. The brand’s new photography style, and overall presentation, has an Amélie-meets-Norman Rockwell-meets-Works Progress Administration aesthetic that feels earthy, nostalgic, and wholesome but without being cloying. The extra saturation of colors gives it a nice contemporary feel.”
10) Ugly Drinks (Beverage Company)
Diet Coke wasn’t the only beverage company to undergo a recent brand refresh. The new UK-based sparkling water manufacturer, Ugly Drinks, hired independent creative agency Jones Knowles Ritchie to do update their brand, logo, and packaging just this past year.
The new logo, font, and color palette – both fun and in-your-face – embody the very mid-1990s, tongue-in-cheek voice of their brand (consider their merchandise, which includes bumper stickers that say “Whatever” and “Get Real. Get Ugly”).
What are your thoughts on some of these rebrands and brand refreshes? Are there some you can think of that we didn’t mention? Let us know!