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It’s not likely many people will be thinking about the connection between branding and the Fourth of July this Thursday. Most will be too busy consuming large quantities of food, spending time with family and friends, and watching fireworks to consider the importance of an established brand and the feelings it can generate within an audience. But let’s take a moment to recognize the value of the most iconic element of America’s visual identity, the flag, and use its evolution to help guide your brand’s appearance.

While it might seem largely unchanged throughout history, the American flag has actually been modified over 20 times since its inception. The changes are often small, mainly applying to the number and pattern of stars in the upper left quadrant, but demonstrate a willingness to change and dynamism when called for. In our country’s case, it’s adding a state or two; regarding your brand, it might be a new product, software version, or messaging. Yet, even with all the minor additions, the flag still remains consistent, never sacrificing its essence on a whim. Take this useful bit of advice from the Stars and Stripes when considering a radical overhaul of your brand’s identity.