20 Jul Top 5 Rebrands of 2016 (So Far)
As my colleague Pete Larmey explained in his blog post last month, “there comes a time in every company’s life when the organization needs to reinvent itself.” He was talking about rebranding. Now, the term “rebranding” is very loosely defined. In short, it’s the creation of an updated corporate message, style, ethos or mythology. And while rebranding campaigns typically consist of much more than just a logo refresh, the centerpiece of these efforts is often a change the company’s mark.
Introducing a new logo can have a huge impact on a company’s public image. However, it does not always engender positive reactions. The move is inherently risky; but with great risk comes the potential for great reward.
Already in 2016, we’ve seen no shortage of buzz-worthy rebranding efforts. Here are my top five favorites:
Instagram disrupted design forums everywhere on May 11th, when it announced anew look for both inside and outside the app. The social media company’s logo changed from a retro style to a minimalist white outline on a sunset-like gradient background. The Guardian covered this transformation, highlighting some of the (occasionally explicit) comments from disappointed fans.
In retrospect, Instagram has gone through many changes since its initial logo debuted. But the company didn’t just replace an app icon this time; it created a set of unified icons for Hyperlapse, Layout, and Boomerang, while updating the user interface too.
In a video, Instagram shared some of its thought process behind the logo change.
Guinness is one of the most popular beer brands in the world. But recent media coverage has been focused on the company’s rebranded logo, which was released sometime in late April. Guinness seems to have been one of the drivers of what has become a “flat design bandwagon” of late. (As you can see from the picture below, the Guinness Harp logo has stayed relatively consistent since 1968.)
The new logo, a product of Design Bridge, could well be the start of another design trend. The flat logo has transformed into a sculpted, detailed, three-dimensional gold harp, inspired in part by Design Bridge’s collaboration with Niebisch & Tree Harps. It appears this collaboration has paid off, as the majority of critics have responded positively.
On February 2nd, 2016, many Uber users probably wondered if their app had been deleted. The black app icon with “Uber” written in small, white sans-serif font had disappeared, replaced with a strange geometrical shape on an abstract background. That’s not all though; the Uber partner app’s icon received a makeover as well, as did the app’s user interface. Apparently, this upgrade was in the works for two and a half years.
The transformation from the simple “U” logo was much needed, though. Since the company’s inception in 2010, Uber has grown tremendously and is now perceived as a national brand and quite possibly the world’s greatest startup story. Now a leader in the tech industry, Uber’s new modern, tech-themed identity is a good fit.
Netflix recently unveiled what proved to be a controversial symbol for the company. A new icon appeared in late June, which many took to be the company’s new logo. But according to a tweet on June 20th, the old logo isn’t going anywhere, and the new icon is just an added element.
@J_Mendoza8 We just got a new 'do- keeping it fresh. Our logo isn't going anywhere, the icon is just a new piece of our overall look.
— Netflix US (@netflix) June 20, 2016
In the context of modern design trends, this new ribbon style 3D icon fits right in. (It’s been a common style for logos within the tech industry in 2016.) But does the new look fit with Netflix’s existing brand? The Next Web used Twitter polls to find the answer. The verdict in my opinion: I don’t care as long as I can binge watch shows for hours on end.
POLL: How do you feel about the new @Netflix logo? 😍 or 😱
More info: https://t.co/vnai2PPdSJ
— The Next Web (@TheNextWeb) June 20, 2016
MasterCard makes our list for shocking users with its new logo after 20 years of consistency. The Venn diagram-style circles are still there, but with a minor adjustment in hue. The biggest change is that the “MasterCard” word mark has been slimmed down, lowercased, and moved below the circles.
After 20 years of having the same logo, you may wonder why they made the move to change it now. Aside from going with a more modern and minimal approach, Pentagram, the agency that designed it, was inspired by elements from MasterCard’s original logo from 1968.
So whether you mean to freshen up your brand like Netflix, or return to your roots like MasterCard, it’s the strategy behind a logo refresh that’s paramount.
And though the risk involved is always great — so is the potential for creative reinvention.