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10 Incredibly Subtle Logo Evolutions

Peter M March 31, 2021 · 4 min read

When it comes to corporate rebranding, subtlety is often the key. Most corporations don’t have the luxury of throwing everything away and starting from scratch, so often a designer is called upon to give an identity a modernised look or a fresh coat of paint. Even then, getting through any major breaks from tradition or the status quo can be a tough task for even the most persuasive creative. That doesn’t mean a fine-tuned identity refresh can’t be beautiful. In honor of the subtle logo evolution, here’s a before and after comparison of some of our recent favorites. If these inspire you to tweak your own, make sure to check out our simple guides here and here.

1. Guinness.

When a brand’s been around for a few centuries, like Guinness has, it’s wise to draw on its rich history when incorporating any modern tweaks. For the latest iteration, the beer brand took its famous harp symbol and redrew it with all the embellishes of old. When every other brand is going flat and minimal, Guinness took a brave bet by going back in the other direction.

2. Aston Villa.

Aston Villa is one of the renowned English Premier League teams and it has a rich, storied history. As such, for this recent brand refresh, they didn’t stray too far from the mark. They’ve brought in a slightly bolder, thicker wordmark and redeveloped the heraldic lion to be a hair more regal.

3. Oi Vey.

Oi Vey is one of the largest telecommunication companies in South America. Its previous incarnation was a fresh, colorful blob that came across as fun and laid back. This recent tweak simply added a bit of a color gradient and extended the mark for use across multiple platforms.

4. Uber.

If you haven’t heard of Uber by now, you’ve probably been living under the proverbial rock. In any case, this logotype is a smart and simple update on the previous one, which was a little too thin and insubstantial. In its place is a more solid, reliable wordmark.

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5. Johnnie Walker.

Johnnie Walker’s ‘Keep Walking’ tagline has accompanied its walking figure on liquor bottles and in bars for decades. This recent update refines and gives a bit more definition to the silhouette’s lines, whilst keeping in spirit with the charm and personality of the logo’s look throughout history.

6. Facebook.

Another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it refresh. Facebook has only been around for fifteen years or so, but in Internet terms that’s a lifetime. As such, it made sense to give the ubiquitous blue wordmark a bit of a belt-tightening. The new mark softens and humanises the font, allowing it to feel less techy and more people-focused.

7. DC United.

DC United is an American soccer club based in the nation’s capital. While it doesn’t boast the heritage of Aston Villa, it had been around long enough for the brand to give it the above refresh. The new take still sits in line with where the existing logo was, but adds stronger sans serif lettering and a bolder, prouder eagle. The results are subtle but satisfying.

8. Channel 4.

Channel 4’s number mark has become one of the most recognisable identities in Britain, with the three-dimensional ‘4’ being seen on every television in the nation. This new incarnation flattens out the look, making it a bit more streamlined and efficient in its communication.

9. Alitalia.

While some brands (like Guinness, above) are adding detail to their logos, the current trend for most is to streamline and simplify. Alitalia does a bit of both with this update, giving their lettering a bit of a tweak, but also adding a gradient brush across the mark’s surface.

10. The Ritz-Carlton.

The most subtle of them all. The main change here is in the typeface, which is bolder and comes across as a bit more premium than the previous version. The visual of the roaring lion has changed too, but can only be seen if you look closely. Like Johnnie Walker’s walking figure, the vector lines have been redrawn to be less blobby and more beautiful.
So there you have it. 10 subtle brand identity tweaks for your inspiration and viewing pleasure. Which is your favorite? Your least favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Brand New.

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Peter M
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