The topic of this blog post is definitely hard hitting – Everything That’s Wrong in Branding Today. We’re taking a different look at inspiration today, by looking at the opposite side of the tracks. By showing you what not to do, using the new Uber logo as my sounding board, I hope to inspire you to create something beautiful.
The New Uber Logo
What do you see when you first look at this logo? A square. A circle. A strange basketball-style pattern with irregular line widths. I actually took a poll in the office and not one person, upon seeing the logo, could identify this as a redesign of the Uber logo.
So, how did Uber get to this place? Their previous logo represented style, elegance, and simplicity – 3 key identities of their brand. The prior U logo was an easily identifiable and digestible representation of their brand, as any good logo should be.
To say that the new Uber logo is a diversion from this is an understatement. And, this coming in a year where we’ve seen some great strides in logo design – i.e. Facebook, Stubhub, Lenovo. But, my goal with this article is not just to tarnish the Uber name. My goal is to help you learn from their mistakes. To inspire you to create something great, in the face of mediocrity.
Breaking Down the New Uber Logo – Bit by Bit
Let’s start from the outside in. If you watch the video that Uber released (in the Source link below), the background was inspired by a tile pattern in a floor. That alone floored me. (Get it!) A revolutionary tech company should have more oomph behind their brand meaning. Then you have those line widths! These faux hand-painted, inconsistent line widths are more reminiscent of a 1980s craft project than a tech mogul.
Next, the center piece of the logo is not a square or a backwards C. It is a bit – representing their technology. But, the use of a bit no better represents technology than a tea leaf represents the history of the East India Trading Company. (Thanks for the paraphrase, Douglas Adams!)
They didn’t end there. The main part of the logo is not just a bit. It is a bit fused with an atom. Two great building blocks of the world – the building block of life and the building block of technology – fused into one! How astounding! How revolutionary! How… atrocious. I’m not quite sure who Uber thinks they are – but apparently the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is a car service app.
Learning from Uber
The beauty of bad design is that we can learn from it. By identifying where others have gone wrong, we can inspire great design. Here are my inspiration tips for your next logo design project, dictate by the failure of Uber.
- Simplicity is key. If you need a 5 minute video to explain what your logo is, you’ve over complicated it. Be simple. Be identifiable.
- Focus. Identify the best parts of your brand and translate those features into a readable design.
- Your logo should stand on its own. The new Uber logo is only unique thanks to its background, as horrible as the background is. Remove the background, and you have a circle.
- Be consistent. The bit/atom representation in no-way connects to the new Uber text branding that was also re-done. There is no consistency between the icon logo and the new font logo. Be consistent across your design to really wow customers.
- Hire a professional. Kalanick, who lead the Uber branding refresh, is not a designer. He is an engineer. And, an engineer has no more right redesigning your next logo than your mother does. Use a professional designer. Please.