Uber Rebrand is a Mega Mistake

Not too long ago I wrote a post about brand refreshes. It was about finding strengths in existing brands and using that as a jumping-off point for a refresh. Well, the popular taxi company Uber has rebranded itself, and I think they jumped off the cliff.

When I used the service in other cities I loved it. It’s a great product. I wish we had it here in Buffalo.

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But their new brand is another story. Not all is bad. I don’t mind the word mark, seen above. I think they made some smart decisions here. They took a thin word mark that, I would imagine, they had trouble communicating when small, and thickened it up. They kept some of that confrontational edge to their brand by creating some pointed edges within the lettering, but tried and failed to soften their image with those curves. Too much curve. And the kerning, the KERNING!!! It’s so tight compared to the previous version. I wish they would open it back up.

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Now the other aspect of the brand, which I think most people are noticing, is the app icon. This has been misidentified as their logo, perhaps because it’s what we most often see, in the context of the icon on our phone screens. I would call it an icon or secondary mark, or maybe a brand mark. Either way, this is a complete departure from their “U” icon of past. This is where they began to lose me.

Maybe over time it will make sense, but scrolling through my phone even before I knew they rebranded, I saw this funny looking icon that I almost deleted until I read the finer print that it was in fact the Uber app. I thought I may have downloaded a reverse-matrix Pac-Man game or something.

Then they made a brand video explaining how bits and atoms are now one. My favorite takeaway was the line: “The atom is responsible for everything, from BLTs to moms everywhere…” Bacon to mom = glorified cab rides.

In trying to explain what Uber is, they forgot what Uber is, and lost me.
Someone needs to take another look at this.