Maria Clara Santos Oliveira Rego

Rebranding versus Redesigning: Inputs on the thinking and evolution of contemporary brands visual systems

Fernando Jorge Matias Sanches OliveiraUniversidade Europeia, IADE, Laureate International Universities
Daniel Raposo Martins, IPCB/ESART, Escola Superior de Artes Aplicadas do Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco

This work aims to present the intentions and current situation of a PhD study about the dynamics of rebranding and redesigning strategies in a visual context. Methodologically the work is using essentially a non-interventionist approach. A qualitative methodology based on a literature review and the presentation of tree national rebranding or redesigning cases (Fidelidade, Novo banco and Belas Clube de Campo), occurred in the last ten years in Portugal, in order to exemplify and show how these concepts are being implemented. It is also envisioned to conduct interviews and a Delphi study. With this method it is intended to have the opinions of experts through a series of carefully designed questionnaires interspersed with information and opinion feedback in order to establish a convergence of opinion. With this study we will be, hopefully, able to give tools for designers and marketers when implementing rebranding and redesigning strategies in the design process. It is intended to present contributions to rebranding and redesigning projects. Whether through simple visual changes or profound strategic ones brands should be connected with their “statement” and have elements that create the notion of family which are vital for the visual systems and support the brand identity (Oliveira, 2015).

Keywords: Brand, branding, rebranding, redesigning, visual identity


In contemporary societies, the market is extremely complex and competitive, due to the variety of brands and products vying for consumers' attention, forcing companies to adopt new attitudes toward how their brand is perceived.

It is essential for brands to consider that in modern societies the spirit of times has changed. Technological developments, fashion and the constant changes in contemporary visual culture compel brands to follow these changes and trends. (Olins, 2008; Wheeler, 2009)

Repositioning, revitalizing or redesigning an organization or a brand, is an extremely challenging and a risk involved process. It is important to find tools and mechanisms to minimize those risks.

Introduction of the study area

The study intends to focuses on the visual components of rebranding and redesigning strategies. These have emerged as significant features of contemporary branding strategy and have therefore been increasingly applied by brands that intend to change.

According to Olins (2008), there is always a reason for changing a brand. A loss of market share due to increased competition or poor performance. An out-of-date Look and feel. A merger or takeover, or a new CEO who wants to make a fresh start.

Considering that brands sometimes require drastic or subtle changes and that rebranding or redesigning are the tools for those processes it is intended to deepen these areas of study as a basis to understand the challenges faced by all professionals involved.

It is our intention to study tree rebranding and redesigning cases that have occurred in the last ten years in Portugal. Establishing parameters of analysis such as color, shape and symbology may become useful for further analysis and results comparison.

Research aims and goals

The study aims to answer the research question: How to minimize error and failure when rebranding or redesigning a brand? It is intended to find appropriate strategies and design processes to provide bases for further academics studies, mainly for designers and marketers by its primary role when setting new strategies.

Through the presentation of tree national case studies a practical view is presented on how these concepts are implemented in Portugal.

In order to fully answer this research question, the following objectives have been set:

  • Understand what makes a company or a brand feel the need to change their identity
  • Perceive that if by changing the identity, brands gain or lose costumers
  • Identify the relationship with visual trends
  • Explore how to minimize risks when changing the identity
  • Apprehend when to do it and how to do it

To try to give answers for the primary questions, based on a literature review,  it is intended to study concepts of brand, branding, rebranding, refreshing, redesigning and visual identity  territories. We intend to explore the systems and methods of authors such as Wheeler (2009) and Olins (2008) in order to help to minimize error and failure on rebranding or redesigning processes.

The presentation of the tree selected practical national cases will indicate positions to take and give tools for designers and marketers when implementing new strategies.

It is also intended to make a contribution to the university and the enrichment of specialized personal knowledge.

Research relevance

We are surrounded by brands in our daily lives both personal and professional. Brands tend to influence the behavior of consumers, shape cultures and have the ability to influence the choices of social groups in our society. (Olins, 2008; Raposo, 2008; Wheeler, 2009)

Contemporary societies live in constant change. Brands that tend to ignore it by refusing to adapt can lead to obsolescence. According to Olins (2008), although sometimes it is the right thing to do, changes can bring risks. Minimize those risks through effective tools and processes will be of vital importance for designers and marketers when setting rebranding and redesigning processes.

The markets have experienced hard times and companies struggle to survive. In times of crisis brands tend to invest in difference to excel competition. Rebranding or redesigning can be an answer.


Based on the aims and goals of our study we have consider that a qualitative methodology  is the most appropriate method to adopt with essentially a non-interventionist approach. However It is also envisioned to conduct interviews and a Delphi study (mixed methodology). With this method it is intended to have the opinions of experts through a series of carefully designed questionnaires interspersed with information and opinion feedback in order to establish a convergence of opinion.

It is intended to realize how rebranding and redesigning strategies are created and developed by Portuguese designers in order to identify the most effective methods and procedures nationally. Deepening state of the art which involves a literature review, the five selected and relevant case studies, the interviews and the Delphi study will help to formulate an hypothesis that would lead to conclusions. Cross data from all of the processes involved in the research is crucial to achieve the goals of this and future works.

  1. Olins, W. (2008). The brand Handbook. Gower publishing limited, London.
  2. Oliveira, F. (2015). Diagramas e Marcas: Contributos sobre a utilização de diagramas na construção e análise da linguagem visual das marcas. FA/UL, Lisboa.
  3. Raposo, D. (2008), Design de Identidade e Imagem Corporativa — Branding, história da marca, gestão da marca, identidade visual corporativa. Edições IPCB, Castelo Branco.
  4. Rosa, C. (2012). Sistemas de Informação Pictográfica – O universo dos pictogramas: métodos e procedimentos de design para obtenção da coerência formal. FA/UL, Lisboa.
  5. Wheeler, A. (2009). Designing Brand Identity; an essential guide for the whole branding team. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.