Most designers, when faced with the mandate to “redesign” an existing print or web property, groan uncontrollably and slink back to their cubicles with steam pouring out of their ears. Unless, of course, the property in question was not of their origin, in which case they relish the opportunity to flex their skills and otherwise justify their salaries.
These are entirely human, natural reactions. However it is the rare work of art or graphic design that stands the test of time; restoration, perhaps even improvement, are not beyond the realm of possibility. A subtle and fervent eye toward any improvement (however slight), is the hallmark of success in many, many cases. Take the redesign of Google’s header, for example. Simple and clean, the two backgrounds (black and gray) separate header content and navigation from page content, without providing undue distraction… In other word the brand is stated, once, as is your location and any other pertinent information, after which your eye tracks down the page, not back up. A subtle shift from their previous, somewhat amateurish look, but a stylish and welcome one nonetheless.