After Google switches up its logo, here’s our list of global companies that have bravely undergone brand redesigns in recent years
After Google’s questionable change of logo was unveiled on Tuesday to much sniggering from the internet community (some choice reaction tweets included “I hate the new Google logo”, “I wonder how much the designer got paid to design the new Google logo” and “At 17 years old, shouldn’t the Google logo be going through a goth phase or something?”), it got us here at TechWeekEurope thinking – and, trust us, that’s no mean feat.
Specifically, we started thinking about which other famous brands have braved a makeover in recent years and have come out looking relatively OK. And then we started thinking about lunch. But then we went back to the matter in hand: which companies have ripped up the form-book and gone for the most outlandish design in an effort to win over new customers? Which brands seemed to let the surprisingly-skillful intern handle the marketing side of the company one idle Tuesday afternoon? And how have these brand redesigns actually affected our overall perception of the brand itself?
Well, here goes our attempt to answer said queries in the form of an unordered top 10 list of the best brand redesigns in recent memory.
We’re not talking about the current Windows logo, with its perfectly-smooth, 3D parallelogram-like shape. That’s Microsoft playing it safe, right there. No, we’re taking it back. Way back. To 1995, in fact: the launch of Windows 95 would bring many great things to the world, namely Microsoft Encarta 95 – that pre-Wikipedia, Mindmaze-featuring hub of knowledge that provided hours and hours of fun and learning. What made the branding of this early edition so special was how it tipped the previous incarnation – 1992’s Windows 3.1 – on its side to make the beloved Microsoft rhombus look like it was floating through the air, leaving a trail of block-y goodness in its wake. Vibrant, noticeable, and now wonderfully, wonderfully nostalgic.
Vodafone’s de-reddening of its logo in 2006 was a welcome sight in some respects – it emphasised the highly-recognisable Speechmark (their actual term for it) by removing the pesky SIM card shape that it was kind-of-cleverly encased in for the previous nine years. Less is more, as they say: certainly true by 2013, when Vodafone booted their own name, Apple-style, off their own logo to leave the Speechmark as the clear defining symbol of the company. Suave.
Hewlett-Packard decided in 2009 to go glossy with their look, probably in reaction to the wave of new media and technology that had swirled across the globe during those halcyon, late 2000s days. Retaining the circle logo, at the expense of its previous blue rectangle casing, brought sharper focus to the company’s oh-so-important two letters, italicised as ever in the slantiness. But then, possibly under the spell of madness that so coloured those wild 2013 days, HP decided to adopt a turquoise backdrop for that aforementioned circle, which still remains in place today.
Yahoooooooooooo! Don’t you just love a good corporate yodel every now and then? The search engine of choice for technological contrarians – although it’s perhaps more recognised now as a news resource – has had many facelifts in its time, trial-and-erroring its way to the current purple iteration that adorns Yahoo!’s front page. And by many, we actually mean many over the course of two years – 1995-6, to be precise. As a start-up, the Yahoo! guys experimented with a number of logos – including a very ‘90s design that saw a thick yellow stick-man seemingly jumping out of an entirely blue planet in an effort to not drown in its bluey goodness – before settling on the simple, upper-case creation that is so eminently recognisable today.
Our technological overlords Apple – resistance is futile – haven’t put too much thought into a rebrand in recent years; seemingly at ease with the metallic overhaul that they treated their half-eaten apple design to in 2007. But our personal favourite Apple logo was the rainbow-coloured edition that reigned supreme for over 20 years – chances are it may be revisited in the years to come as a means of playing on people’s fondness for nostalgia.
The formidable AirBnB app wasn’t once so formidable: many commentators have put their recent boom in success to a dramatic rebranding regime that occurred in 2013 which has since seen the fortunes of the app transformed on the global market. The identity of the brand improved with a new logo (nicknamed the “Beló”), as well as a new app and web design, that apparently “delivers the idea of ‘belonging’ in a form which can be drawn by anyone and recognised the world over.”
Less of a literal rebrand of a logo or web design, and more of an marketing/advertising overhaul. UK readers will no doubt be very familiar with the price-comparison site Compare The Market following the introduction of its Russian-accented meerkat mascots in the series of TV adverts that begun in 2009 (and continue to this day), which, somehow, was the very formula required for ordinary people to get very interested in comparing the prices of their insurance premiums online. Other companies, take note: employ cute CGI animals in your advertising campaigns and you’ll probably see a huge upturn in fortunes.
EE was the beautiful butterfly that hatched out of the cocoon that was the merger of the ailing T-Mobile and Orange mobile phone companies in 2010. Offering a 4G service was its first major point of interest in 2012, as was the downsizing of its original name, Everything Everywhere, into initials that formed a breezy new teal logo. That colour eventually took over the entire logo from its original yellow background, and thus looked very smart in the process.
The Swiss company “shocked” the tech world last year by announcing that, yes, they were changing their name. Ish. Goodbyes were said to the ‘tech’ suffix, and hellos were waved at the new name: Logi. We’ve already seen that less is indeed more for many brands, and its seems that the big wigs in Logitech HQ concurred with that maxim, announcing that all products from now on would simply carry the ‘Logi’ name. But fear not, Logitech enthusiasts – the company itself has retained the original name, ‘Tech’ and all.
Yes, Google. But not the recent rebranding – that’s just not very cool at all, really. No, we’re talking about the move in May 1999 that stopped all the tomfoolery that had preceded that particular redesign of the world-famous multi-coloured logo. Dropping the superfluous exclamation mark and the child’s writing to adopt the much classier font that lasted up until… well, last week, was a genius move by Google, establishing their well-known logo just as the internet was seriously kicking off.