Finding a Better Alternative for the Much-Debated Uber Rebrand
400 designers try their hand at an improved logo for the ride share service
Uber‘s recent unveiling of its rebrand went over like a lead balloon; the logo was chewed up and ripped apart by critics within hours of its public release. Perhaps inspired by the myriad posts and articles that had titles such as “Uber has a new logo, and a lot of people really, really don’t like it” and “Why everyone hates Uber’s New logo,” DesignCrowd, a crowdsourcing site held a competition asking designers to redesign the Uber logo in a way people might actually enjoy.
Over 160 entries were submitted in the first 24 hours of the contest going live, and more than 409 logos were received before the deadline. “Uber” was the only word allowed to be featured in any logo and the design needed to illustrate the company as a lifestyle brand, not just a car service.
The winning design (pictured above) went to Philippines-based designer Arcolex, who described his design as playful and elegant. Other designs submitted played with the idea of movement and connection with continuous lines spelling out the Uber name, as well as themes of connection and ease.
Rebranding is not an easy thing for any organization, especially for high-profile and well-liked brands like Uber. Dramatic change to something familiar is difficult and risky. There are a number of beloved brands that received an outpouring of complaints from consumers when they have dared to make changes to their visual identity system. Who can forget the 2009 Tropicana Pure Premium package redesign debacle? The Tropicana package was so heavily criticized by the public that the brand was forced to replace the new design with the suddenly beloved previous packaging.
Perhaps Arcolex’s redesign would have had a more positive public reception than the actual Uber re-brand. To think though that any rebrand is immune to criticism is absurd. The idea that you can quietly unveil a logo today is unimaginable—changes will be noticed.
Graphic Designer Michael Bierut summed up the current ethos that new logos enter into perfectly saying, “Graphic design criticism is now a spectator sport, and anyone can play.” Brands today must first acknowledge the deep emotional bond that the public has with their visual identity, and second, the universal truth that most of us dislike change. These two facts combined with the fact that the Internet has made all of us critics protected by a cloak of anonymity, makes any change precarious and challenging.