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Five recent rebrands I admire

Times are changing, and so are brand aesthetics – to match the new trends in design and respond to the challenges of the digital world we live in, major companies have been redesigning their logos at a rapid pace. But not all rebrands are created equal – while most brands try to improve, few come out of their metamorphosis with butterfly wings.

As a designer, I believe that a makeover is only due when the new look will solve major pain points in the brand identity and make the company and products look categorically better in the eye of the consumer. If both criteria are not met, brand recognition and aesthetics can be harmed inadvertently. (you can read more on rebranding here).

In this article, I am sharing with you five examples of rebrands that I consider successful.

1. Nissan

Unlike some recent car logo makeovers, which were a complete disaster (notably Peugeot and GM), the Nissan logo jumped on the flat, minimalist bandwagon without suffering negative consequences. The new 2D look does not disconnect from the company’s rich heritage – if anything, the new Nissan logo looks classier and more stylish than its predecessor. 
The most significant improvement to me is the new, straighter sans-serif font that beautifully interacts with the circular frame by having the gap between letters and half-circles equal to the kerning space between individual letters. Overall, a beautifully composed, impactful redesign that will take the car company into the modern electric car age without sacrificing style and brand recognition. 

2. Starbucks

A household name in the coffee industry around the world, the Starbucks company, has seen a few major rebrands in the last half a century, each new logo becoming cleaner and more recognizable. The latest 2011 redesign was no exception – the Starbucks emblem, once cluttered and illegible, is now iconic and much easier to remember. 
An effective logo is simple – you need to be able to see it for the first time in just 5 seconds, close your eyes, and be able to sketch the mark on a piece of paper from memory. The design team behind the Starbucks logo has done an excellent job of keeping what is essential, the Siren and iconic green color, while getting rid of the superfluous. Also, the mono-color look is a no-brainer – I was never a fan of the dark green and black color combination in the previous logos.

3. Burger King

At the beginning of 2021, Burger King rolled out a new logo and brand identity, the first rebrand the company had had in more than 20 years. At first, I had mixed feelings about the makeover – I didn’t see how the new look would add to the brand. And then I noticed the new logo and the whole identity – the new packaging, ads, beautiful colors, and illustrations… and it all made sense! 
The new Burger King logo and identity are more fit for the challenges of the digital world, but above all, they help the brand reconnect with the roots of the burger industry. The 70s colors and vibe take you back to the years when burger joints were funky, and fast food was not a dirty word yet. The retro colors and proprietary new Burger King font ooze personality and create a fuzzy feeling inside you.

4. US Open

The new US Open logo was unveiled in 2018 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the event. The logo, created by the famous Sagi Haviv, is yet another excellent example of a redesign that keeps ties with the old identity and does not lose style and meaning in an effort to simplify and go digital. A logo makeover was necessary because the old brand mark was not iconic and memorable and was not fit for the challenges of the social media and digital age. 
The flaming ball is now iconic and more digital-friendly, and the italic font clicks well with the icon – both pictorial and caption show movement and excitement. I also love the inverted “u” and “n”, a tiny but essential element that adds a playful touch. The only thing missing is the connection to the US flag that the old logo had with the red color streak. 

5. Comedy Central

In 2010, the television network set out on a quest for a more trendy and youth-oriented logo that would be web and social media friendly. The Comedy Mark Logo was unveiled on December 9th, 2010, and officially aired in 2011.
The CC logo is clever and memorable and fit for use across all platforms – it works great as a profile picture, brandmark, and watermark. It is a far better foundation for building a dynamic and cohesive visual language than the old 3D emblem. 
Going for a complete logo overhaul is a risky endeavor – completely changing the branding approach can harm brand recognition. Still, in the case of the new Comedy Mark, the new logo was so brilliant that the overall effect of the rebrand was positive. 

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