The Art of Subtle Reinvention

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The evolution of a brand is a great way to track the changes in a company, as it reflects and responds to the world around it.

One of the greatest examples of this is the evolution of one of the most iconic containers in the world: the Coca-Cola bottle.

The evolution of the Coca-Cola bottle

And whilst a brand might need total reinvention, sometimes, subtle changes can make the biggest impact on a consumer’s brand perception.

The Google Complex

Back in 2015, Google made headline news as it updated its logo, changing the typeface to a thicker sans-serif option, and muting the colours slightly.

But this is a logo that people are used to seeing several times a day, every day, and have been for as long as most of them have been using the internet.

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As such, it courted quite a lot of controversy and criticism:

So after all that, what happened? Well, nothing. People just got used to it.

In many ways, following the corporate shake up at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, it allowed them to break away from the old search engine logo, and forwards into its new diverse future.

And with a lot of the larger tech companies, there is a need to tread a fine line between innovation and heritage. Exciting evolution, with a trusted brand.


Over the past few years, branding as a whole has seen a ‘flattening’ – as everyone from tech companies to fast food chains have simplified, cleaned, and flattened their branding. And what caused this shift? Many credit it to Apple, so often a leader and innovated in technology and product design, when they moved from iOS6 to iOS7.

Apple’s iOS6 vs iOS7

Almost overnight, the visual language that hundreds of millions of people had been used to changed. Gone were the 3D reflections, the shadows, and the extrusion, and in were gradients, geometric iconography, and above all, subtelty.

iOS7 was released publicly back in September 2013, and since then, it has defined a generation of UX design, branding, illustration, and even video design.

Brand with a Purpose

Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from looking at how much success or controversy a branding update can garner, is making sure that you update your brand with a purpose. Before setting out on any branding review, it’s important you think about not just what you want it to look like, not even how you want it to feel, but the message behind it. Effective branding can communicate your company’s principles, what it values, prioritises, and the way it sees itself.

Then there’s colour, font, imagery, patterns, it all adds up to a complex set of assets that can tell a potential customer more about your organisation than a sales pitch can.

That’s why, especially if you’re rebranding, sometimes subtlety can be most effective. And whilst it sounds like a cliché to say it’s important to take your existing (and potential) customers on a ‘journey’. Chances are, if they notice your brand changing, they’ll be invested in the brand itself.

Brand New

One of our favourite sites is dedicated to tracing these changes – Brand New from Under Consideration charts changes in branding from companies across the world, comparing new and old logos and allowing the design community to comment and discuss the changes involved. It’s definitely worth checking out, and a great way to keep up with the latest trends in corporate design.

And if you’re looking to embard on a new branding project yourself, why not get in touch with us and find out more about our services! You can check out our new service built for SMEs, Pay as you Grow, which gives you the strength of a full agency without the strings or hefty price tag.