• halfbutfull

Facelift or makeover?

Updated: Jun 12, 2019



“Change it, but not too much”


“Just make it look cleaner”


“I want the same feel, but a better look”


“Just change the colour”


These are not requests made to a barber/stylist, these are requests every designer comes across at some point in their lives.


Essentially a lot of clients mistake the term rebrand as equivalent to a touch up job. They prefer to tweak their identities, hold on to the essence of their past; have the best of both worlds if you will.


And as a recently branded agency we understand the deep set affection, clients have to their current identities. The element of nostalgia outweighs the promise of a brighter future for such clients, and when they finally decide to have the much prolonged rebrand conversation, they feel obliged to retain at least some of the essence of their past.


They ask for a rebrand, that changes them, but doesn’t change, change them(you feel?).

Which is what essentially entails in a design facelift as opposed to a design makeover. A design facelift involves a cut here, snip there, slight bump in colours if need be, and viola!


A facelift is not a dramatic change, but a subtle one — and at most involves

Tweaking your current design or logo.Changing your colour palette.Refreshing marketing materials.Using a new font.




Which is what Uber went for, with its recent rebranding.


Since its official revamp in 2010, Uber has grown exponentially. It’s market crossed international borders bringing the need for inclusivity without a stark change in its original personality. Which required them to opt for a holistic route and create a brand system that is instantly identifiable, works irrespective of geography and is way more efficient in terms tone of voice.


The tone of voice required tweaking in light of the recent accusations against the brand for mistreatment of drivers and therefore Uber revised their public image through a brand facelift. The incorporation of the renewed ideology across platforms brought about a new set of ideals: safety, accessibility and global ambition.

They wanted to make sure they came across as aides of global mobility which was realised for them by Wolff Olins.


Apart from nostalgia, and global growth/recognition other reasons that generally warrant a brand facelift are:


Integrity : you wish to preserve the integrity of your brand


Keep up the image : you wish to have a subtle change, and maintain your current image


Bump up your outreach : you wish to expand your reach to new customers, however not dramatically.


Sometimes, however, a facelift just does not cut it. The ugly mop of unkempt hair is too wild to tame or vice versa. Here comes the makeover, where we either begin with a clean shave ie start fresh, with a clean bald shiny slate. Or revamp — cut and colour and change what little or lot you have in hair (read design) and change it beyond recognition.

Both options are design makeovers, and basically means its time to go big, go wild — it’s time to ride!


A brand make over involves change, in every sense -


It involves Creating a new personality.Designing a new background for your company.Establishing yourself within a different market.Reinforcing yourself within the current market


It will, on the whole be a 360 degree turnaround in the sense of ideology and identity, in a way that will achieve the new goals that are set for the brand.


For, Uber its initial and first ever rebranding came from the foresight of globalisation.

The convenience that came from the idea of hiring a cab on demand set fire across the globe and Uber decided to become more recognisable and establish a new global personality.


However, unbeknownst to many the early Uber brand was an attempt at luxury that allowed people to paint the town red whilst riding fancy BMW’s and Audi’s made available at the touch of a button.


Since then Uber has evolved to a multi billion dollar global enterprise that provides you a ride to anywhere on demand. The journey from a luxury service to one that provides easily accessible transportation, has been a strategically planned makeover that has led to the Uber we know today.


So, then what does this mean for you, as a client? How do you decide whether to go with a facelift or a makeover?


It is not unknown information that sometimes a rebrand can exponentially backfire and cause major harm than help, like some examples below.




Therefore, it is wise to make sure that the decision to rebrand is justified. That justification comes from keeping in mind that we live in a world that is paced to adapt to quick fire changes, and every brand will need a change at some point.


However, the extent to which you change, and the size of the decisions that you make to adapt to your new marketplace, depends on you.


A facelift, is for when you wish to improve upon that which already works for you in every area of business. Meaning a facelift is chosen for a brand that is achieving goals, and has a viable audience in place but could do better with a little tweak .


A makeover is restructuring the very skeleton you built on. It is starting fresh, and rethinking every aspect of your business, from goals to audience, to ideology; all of which finally reflect in a newly formed identity and tone of voice.


To make it simpler, ask yourself these questions before you have a rebrand conversation


Does your brand tell a story about you, your product or service?Will a rebrand compromise your brand equity?Can you identify an actual problem with your current branding?Are the fonts, colours, graphics you use outdated?Is you brand story still relevant to your demographic?Can people understand your ideology at a glance?Does your brand create a memorable impression with your target audience?


Answering these questions will be a certain step toward making a facelift/brand makeover decision that can be justified and aid only to the progress and achievement of business goals.


And when you know for sure, we’ll be here, awaiting, with scissors (only on illustrator of course, we’re all pacifists) to give you the life changing makeover or facelift your brand needs.

Get in touch

Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is success.

- Henry Ford