Our favourite rebrands of the past year
As we’ve discussed in a previous post, “your brand encompasses all elements of your business, from your values, mission, strategy, customer service, staff, workspace, imagery and communication and marketing tools. Branding should also spark emotion and resonate with your target market, build trust and loyalty.”
Sooner or later, the time comes when your brand outgrows your company, no longer does it justice, or reflect how your business has evolved and grown since you first launched.
Over the last 12 months, many companies have rebranded to keep up with changes in their markets, and remain appealing to the evolving needs and expectations of their customers. Here are some of our favourite:
Despite being a relatively new brand, Uber has already required two rebrands, however, their most recent had a real impact on the design world. As well as the company’s continuing global expansion, listening to customer feedback was a top priority for this re-brand:
“We set off to learn what the business needed globally during a period of transition. We used our learnings to drive our work of creating a brand that both served our business and engaged our audience.”
Addressing customer feedback, Uber made three key decisions for this re-brand:
- The colour black was positively associated with the brand.
- The brand name is just as important – it is now known in households across the globe.
- Many customers were wondering where the “U” symbol had gone.
What we like most about this re-brand is its versatility moving forward. Whilst creative freedom is important, a company which is growing at the rate of Uber needs a set of clear guidelines to follow to create a degree of consistency. The re-brand covered nine areas of the company’s visual identity:
- Tone of voice.
One of the most creative elements is Uber’s composition system – it provides a flexible set of rules for designers to follow whilst creating a subtle “U” wherever it appears.
Uber’s full case study goes into greater detail on what has been a successful rebrand.
It was felt that the UK Parliament’s brand was restricted in its usability, and generally created a lot of inconsistency. The focus of the rebrand was to unify the brand’s visual identity, make the parliament more accessible and understandable to the public, as well as create a digitally-optimised brand.
A significant aspect of the rebrand is a name change from Houses of Parliament to UK Parliament; according to a parliamentary spokesperson, this has aims to “highlight the role of the institution in the UK’s constitution, and distinguish it from the building it occupies”.
The logo has also been modified, retaining the “portcullis” icon, but tweaking it to make it digitally optimised, so it scales depending on screen size, such as moving from mobile to tablet or computer screen.
Two custom typefaces have also been designed for the project. The primary typeface, National, is a sans-serif font designed by type foundry Klim, and aims to be “simple” with a “distinctive but not distracting personality”. The second typeface, designed by foundry A2-Type, is a serif font created with a more traditional feel, inspired by “French Renaissance-era type and traditional broad-nib calligraphy”.
A new suite of flat icons, graphics and infographics have also been used across communications to demonstrate different options and statistics online. For example, infographics indicate how many Lords sit within each political party, and icons indicate options such as online petitions.
BBC2’s recent rebrand is the channel’s first for the past 20 years. The project centres around a set of 16 new idents for broadcast and digital use, all of which have been produced by different animators. The new idents present each animator’s interpretation of a curve shape, mimicking the curve of the number 2.
This new look marks the first major branding change for BBC Two in 20 years, and aims to reflect how the TV channel is “modern, contemporary and stimulating”, with an “eclectic channel schedule”, says the BBC.
The rebrand comes at a time when BBC Two controller, Patrick Holland, says the BBC is “working to reinvigorate BBC Two”, and adding to its programme repertoire.
The different idents include the curve constructed out of colourful felt fabrics, crystallised stalactites, large bubble shapes, and geometric, wooden blocks, and have been created by animators including: Aardman, FutureDeluxe, The Mill, Kenneth Robin, Ari Weinkle, David McLeod, Helmut Breineder, Conlan Normington, Kijek and Adamski and Mainframe.
Further idents will be created in collaboration with more animators and in-house at BBC Creative, as well as by other artists, including sculptor and installation artist David Batchelor, with the series of idents constantly being “refreshed and expanded”.
The audio for the new idents has been composed by sound designer Alex Baranowski, who has focused on using the same two musical notes that “evolve” to “create an atmospheric journey” for each ident, says the BBC.
Laurent Simon, BBC Creative’s executive creative director, says: “The BBC offers such a large, public platform for creative expression and exposure. What’s also exciting is that it’s modelled to be iterative, refreshed and expanded by as many collaborators as we see relevant for the audience and channel.”
Part of the excitement with this rebrand is just what the channel’s collaborators will be able to create in the future.
Michael Bierut has had another impactful year of rebrands for international companies, one his most recent being for global workplace chat app Slack. The company has seen rapid growth recently, however, Bierut claims “it hadn’t really thought through how the brand would evolve. It was improvised and there were a whole bunch of different expressions of the brand.” Addressing these inconsistencies was a top priority for this rebrand, which also involved a fresh logo.
Speaking about the brand’s previous logo – the hashtag – Bierut says “It’s a typographic symbol and not proprietary to Slack […] If you take away the colours, it doesn’t look like anything except a hashtag.” The original logo was also hard to reproduce, as it was rendered in 11 different colours.
The new logo is not a million miles away from the original, and this is because Bierut felt he had a solid base to work from; “The company has always maintained a really casual and relaxed style of management and that’s been a great part of its charm and appeal in the marketplace,” he says. “So we wanted to make sure the brand was still a bit playful.”
The multiple colours of the original logomark have been stripped back to 4 and sharpened up, and the typeface has been refined.
The new logomark was conceived under “the idea of weaving something to make something stronger – pieces coming together to make a new whole.” Four lozenges and four teardrop or speech-bubble shapes come together to create a logo that is “simplified and more manageable”, as Bierut puts it. What we like most about the result, is that the logomark itself can be broken down to create a comprehensive design system, giving a really solid foundation for the brand to run with and expand upon in the future.
We like Carlsberg new identity for two reasons. The first is the subtle design tweaks made to the logo and accompanying brand elements. The redesign focused on championing the company’s heritage by utilising the principles of great Danish design, whilst finding the perfect balance between form and function.
The Carlsberg logo, which hasn’t changed too much over the last 100 years, has been refined, thinning the letters and accentuating some of its quirks. The placement of the hop leaf has been altered to give a much more natural feel, and the “ber” section has been tweaked to give a smoother flow between the letters.
The challenge with this project was ensuring the brand identity works across packaging, promotions and POS materials for all of Carlsberg’s global variants. The brand’s core elements, which were refined in the project, include:
- Hop leaf.
- Brand typeface.
- Signature of Carlsberg founder JC Jacobsen.
The second reason we like Carlsberg’s new identity is the innovative new packaging. Back in September, Carlsberg announced its latest “Snap Pack” innovation, which is “set to reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1,200 tonnes a year – the equivalent to 60 million plastic bags.”
In their Press Release, Carlsberg explained “The Snap Pack replaces the plastic wrapping used around Carlsberg’s six packs with a pioneering technology that glues its cans together. A world first for the beer industry, it will reduce the amount of plastic used in traditional multi-packs by up to 76%.”
The technology has the support of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which has hailed it as a “big step” in efforts to tackle the worsening global scourge of plastic pollution, and likewise, we were just as excited by the design, and the positive ramifications it reaps for global sustainability.