Question regarding rebranding

I am going to be doing a rebrand for my partner’s website. How usual is it to completely change colours and go for a totally new look? Her business is small, she doesn’t want to confuse or alienate current customers but at the same time she’s decided on a totally new look and colour scheme. I’m not sure, so I thought I’d ask people who do websites for a living, you’ll have the experience to know!

the best thing to do in the period leading up to the redesign is to alert users with some sort of notice on the front page of the site.

“Coming in April, is a whole new way to view XYZ”

or “To Celebrate our fifth birthday we are updating our site”

perhaps for bonus points, you could pre release some concepts and get the users to vote on the ones they most like. Audience participation is always a winner, and you will be able to test your designs out first, avoiding the alienation.

you will always get people that hate on the new designs simply because they dont like change, so by announcing it first, they wont be pushed out of their comfort zone… Perhaps offer a control panel that allows them to revert to the old look and feel if needed… unless youre seriously over hauling the site…

Because brands exist in the minds of customers, most rebranding fails.

Since you seem to be talking about the most superficial aspect of styling, not branding, I wouldn’t worry. Chances are you have zero brand preference and so can’t damage a brand that isn’t there.

Site revamps happen all the time so there’s nothing unusual there. The big thing to take into account is not to reduce the usability or accessibility of the site, in fact this is a good opportunity to make improvements wherever possible!

As w2ttyy suggested, if you’re making major changes to presentation and layout it can be a good idea to inform regular visitors that a change is coming, but that’s really up to you to decide whether you need to do that or not.

Thanks everyone, really great advice.

I like the idea of getting customers to vote on new design concepts and announcing the changes ahead of time. The business will be three years old in May so that would be a good excuse for the revamp.

One of the main reasons we started thinking about redoing the site was to improve usability, then my partner decided while we were tinkering she’d like a new look anyway!

Dcurx I know what you are saying (I think), but I didn’t mention in my OP that she will also be redesigning labels for her products to fit with the new website. But I guess that again is superficial styling, not true branding.

Thanks again guys, really appreciate the advice.

Glad we could be of help, keep us posted!

I know what you are saying (I think)

Chipotle rebranded. Here’s the styling, and then [URL=“”]here is the brand substance which makes the styling work.

Unless you concern yourself with the market reaction, it’s not branding. Changing style is not changing brand. If anything, it’s brand reinforcement of the kind of hyperventilatingly image obsessive self focussed company with little notice of what happen outside its walls.

Again, it doesn’t matter what buzzwords are used in the amped up client meeting, it’s the customer takeaway.

Thanks for the extra information.

My partner’s business is small and personal, she writes the copy, takes the photos of the products and even includes hand written notes with regular customers orders. I don’t think either of us are too worried about ‘branding’ so I I’ve used the wrong word. Revamp is better. Nothing as ‘breathtaking’ as the Pepsi brief :lol: