The 12 Best and Worst Logo Redesigns of 2015

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends
The 12 Best and Worst Logo Redesigns of 2015

As we enter into the final few months of the year, some people like to reflect on what they've accomplished and how they've grown. Me? I'm a logo nerd, so instead of self reflection, I like to look back and think about which brands have changed. Some of the biggest brands in the world updated their logos this year and as always, the reviews are pretty mixed. Let's take a look.

Be sure to check out our list of the best and worst logo redesigns from 2014 as well.

1. CareerBuilder

Let's start this off with a bang. CareerBuilder might win the prize for the most universally hated new logo of 2015. Their old logo was a fairly simple, condensed wordmark with a nice color scheme. By contrast, their new logo is somewhat of a mess of colors, icons, typography styles and conflicting ideas.

logosPin It

Reactions

A poll on UnderConsideration allowed respondents to vote on whether the new logo was "Great," "Fine," or "Bad." 93% voted "Bad" for the icon and 89% voted "Bad" for the wordmark (each question had just under 900 votes total). The reactions on Twitter were about the same:

What Happened?

It's impossible to say for certain what made this redesign go so wrong, but my guess is that it's a classic example of a company simply expecting way too much from a logo and attempting to pack it so full of meaning that it just becomes cluttered and confusing. The list of things that the logo is meant to represent is pretty long:

  1. The matching of the right talent with the right opportunity
  2. Actionable intelligence and customized insights
  3. The smooth flow of data between systems and platforms
  4. Boldness
  5. Motivating
  6. Dependable
  7. Trustworthy
  8. Professional
  9. "The mark is intended to flip to emphasize the ‘T’ when referring to CareerBuilder’s pre-hire platform components, Talentstream Technologies."

The creative director on the project even alludes to this idea of too much complexity in her post on the logo: "Yes, this is a lot to include in a single logo. The project constraints, however, called for this level of complexity, requiring key inspirations be equally represented to highlight the company’s transformation."

Translation: the people in charge wanted too much from one logo.

2. Verizon

Verizon's logo redesign is kind of the opposite of CareerBuilder's. It's a prime example of a strong trend that you'll see throughout this post and across many top brands. Last year, logo design went flat. This year, designers are going much further than killing gradients and shadows, they're killing everything. Graphics? Out. Serifs? Who needs 'em? Helvetica Bold? Yes please.

Verizon's original logo was pretty dynamic. The italics and zooming red lines gave it a sense of motion and excitement. The new one is pretty plain by comparison, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

logosPin It

I've actually always hated the original and definitely agree that it needed an update. When I look at the new one though, it's hard to fight that sense of being disappointed in something so generic (even though that's probably exactly what they need).

Reactions

Reactions were a bit mixed for this one with plenty of people chiming in on all sides. The average response is somewhere between "meh" and "better..." Gizmodo has this to say about the new design:

"The new logo is not particularly interesting—it’s part New York City subway, part nuGap, part check this box to accept terms & conditions. But who cares?"

And finally, some random Twitter reactions:

The most notable Tweet by far for this one came from none other than T-Mobile's CEO. Shots fired! Stay classy John.

3. Google

This is the one you've been waiting for. I'm not sure any logo redesign in history has received as much press, social media coverage, and debate as Google's recent overhaul. Here again we see the "undesign" trend going strong.

logosPin It

Personally, I'm a bit sad to see those serifs go and I'm always hesitant to praise any logo design that feels like someone opened Photoshop, picked a font, typed a word, and called it a day. That being said, this new logo grew on me pretty quickly and I'm confident that in five years I'll look back and think the old version looks dated and awful.

If anyone can argue that they need a simple, timeless, sans-serif wordmark, I think it's the company that is known for bringing the Internet to the world as a bunch of plain text results on a white page. The new logo is clean and straightforward, with just a little playful disrespect (that's the part that's driving typography designers nuts). Now that it's had some time so sit with me, I really think it nearly perfectly embodies Google as a company.

Reactions

Medium has definitely become the place for thoughtful design posts and critiques, and its faithful users have been cranking out Google logo reviews at full blast.

Gerry Leonidas: "That the logo went from a flawed but characterful modulated style all the way to a geometric sans suggests that the branding agency had neither good ideas, nor typographic expertise."

Simon Darby: "I think I speak for most of the world, when I say the new logo is out of balance by just one character. The second ‘g’ looks like it was created by a separate design and development team."

WebDesignerDepot: The new design is a vast improvement aesthetically, but it’s unlikely it will stand the test of time because it’s too now, too of the moment. This is Google’s 2015–2016 logo.

Predictably, Twitter erupted with over-dramatic scorn and hatred:

It wasn't all negative though. My personal feed, which is heavily occupied by professional designers, contained more praise than critique:

4. Facebook

In theory, Facebook updating their logo is a situation that should be every bit as explosive as the Google change. Any time Facebook changes the slightest thing, literally millions of users threaten revolt and exclaim their undying love to the previous layout (which they hated when it rolled out too).

Facebook played it fairly safe though with a gentle refining that likely went completely unnoticed by 90% of the 1.5 billion people using the site.

logosPin It

Once again, we see a brand abandoning any notions of a unique identity by smoothing out all the quirks and personality present in their logo. The 2015 logo mantra is, without a doubt, "the plainer the better."

The old logo definitely had some quirkiness to it, but it gave it character. There were some nice touches that I really miss, such as the interplay of the slants on the "f" and "a".

logosPin It

Confusingly, the new logo keeps the slanted "f", but without the accompanying "a" for balance, it doesn't really make sense. Why keep the awkward slant?
logosPin It

Reactions

A lot of the tweets about Facebook's new logo were aimed at simply getting people to notice the change.

5. Life is Good

If you live in the U.S., Life is Good is a brand that you're probably familiar with, even if you don't know it. From t-shirts to Jeep stickers, you've no doubt seen these happy little stick figures chilling out or engaging in various outdoor activities:

logosPin It

As you can see, this is a brand that is absolutely built on a fun, messy aesthetic. Even such an openly wacky brand couldn't resist the lure of the 2015 undesign trend. They've traded in their messy text and are trying to look more like just about everyone else with a bold sans-serif typeface.

logosPin It

Obviously, their old logo is kind of ugly, but it was sort of an intentional ugly that played up the friendly aspect. The new logo admittedly attempts to retain a bit of this personality with the messy circle and heavily rounded text.

Personally, I really like the imperfect circle and the new color scheme. They're both a big improvement. I do find myself wishing the typography honored the old brand a bit more though.

Here's what the Life is Good Twitter account had to say about the "optimistic" new logo.

Reactions

This one received some pretty brutal ratings on UnderConsideration with over 77% of respondents putting it in the "bad" category. A cursory read through reveals that most (but not all) tweets about the update were negative as well.

6. Los Angeles Clippers

The new Clippers logo drops the serifs, but they've done anything but simplify the rest. The old logo has a nice, compact badge quality to it with a retro vibe that's attractive without feeling ancient. Conceptually, it's pretty simple: a flying basketball with some text over it.

By contrast, the new logo has quite a few things going on. In addition to the super condensed and slightly distorted Clippers text, there's the basketball with the "LAC" in it. The big lines under the ball give it a sense of motion, like it's bouncing. But it's not just a bouncing basketball, it's also cleverly styled to look like a basketball court.

logosPin It

I actually really like all the ideas behind the various pieces new logo without necessarily loving the end result as a whole. It's not terrible by any means, but I think some further refinement could've made it great.

Reactions

7. IHOP

I'll be honest, I laughed at the new IHOP logo when I first saw it. It felt like some creepy clown face concept that just went all wrong. That being said, this one has really grown on me. Now when I look at it, it feels happy and reminds me of a smiley face pancake, which is exactly what they were going for.

logosPin It

This teaches us an important lesson. Change can be jarring. If you hate a new logo design, it could simply be your brain grappling with something new. Try waiting a few weeks before you make a firm decision about hating or loving it. You might find yourself warming up to a concept that you previously couldn't stand.

Reactions

If you make your logo in any way resemble a clown, you have to accept the fact that people think clowns are creepy, and that's certainly the direction you get from a lot of the Twitter reviews for IHOP's new logo.

8. Tokyo 2020 Olympics

This one isn't technically a redesign of an old logo, but it was such a disaster that it is now getting its own redesign, so I'm tossing it in as an honorable mention.

The back story here is that each round of Olympics gets its own logo. From my perspective, these logos are almost always dreadful (remember that London 2012 mess?). For this reason, when I saw the Tokyo 2020 logo, I was pleasantly surprised. The modern art vibe won me over instantly. The shape is all at once reminiscent of a "T", a "2", and with the circle, a "0" (Tokyo 2020, get it?). I thought it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, Théâtre de Liège in Belgium also loved the unique shape... when they put it in their logo years before.

logosPin It

It's tricky to say whether we're seeing inspiration, coincidence, or outright plagiarism. The obvious similarities are striking though, and that caused quite the uproar in the design community. It quickly led to a lawsuit and a complete scrapping of the Olympic logo.

Reactions

9. Microsoft Expl.. Err... Edge

Microsoft is killing their infamous browser with the little "e" logo... and launching a new browser with a little "e" logo. They've gone from Explorer to Edge. I'm counting that as a rebrand.

I actually wrote a whole post about the new edge logo, titled "Why The Ugly New Microsoft Edge Logo Is Genius." The idea here is simple: yes, Edge's logo is awkward and ugly, but it's just familiar enough to prevent confusion with literally millions of users who only one thing about their computer: "the e icon = the Internet." Just think of all the customer support phone calls that won't have to happen.

logosPin It

Reactions

10. Opera

While we're on the subject of browser logos, Opera just rolled out a significant update to their iconic "O" logo. In recent years, they've played around with various levels of shading, shadows, and bevel while maintaining the same basic O shape. This time around, they've gone with a 3D ring shape with a very subtle (intentional?) nod to the original O in the negative space.

logosPin It

The new logo comes with a full new brand system with lots of supporting graphics and usage guidelines. Taking it all in, it seems like a well executed update.

logosPin It

As a bonus, my wife noticed that the new Opera logo looks a lot less like the "Oprah" Magazine logo than the previous version. As soon as I compared the two, I realized that her observation was pretty dead on.

logosPin It

Reactions

11. Spotify

In June, Spotify changed their brand green... and broke the Internet.

logosPin It

The seemingly subtle update was actually part of some really great branding exploration that included lots of bold color experiments.

logosPin It
logosPin It

Pretty cool right? It doesn't matter though. All people saw was that new green, and they freaked out.

Reactions

The new green was the topic of the week, getting tons of coverage on social media and tech blogs:

From the Twitter reactions, one can only assume that this new shade of green has been directly linked to temporary blindness and nausea.

12. OpenTable

To end on a positive note, we'll take a look at one final 2015 logo design: OpenTable. This is one redesign where I think the undesign trend paid off nicely. The old logo was pretty rough around the edges. Even though it nicely communicated the concept of the app, the 3D effect and quirky condensed type really feel like a dated aesthetic from the early days of when iPhone apps were just taking off.

The new logo feels simpler and more professional while still managing to steer clear of generic.

logosPin It

The O shape that doubles as a table with someone sitting at it works well. Their new brand direction and language is all about bringing people together around a table, a concept played out nicely in the animated version of the logo.

logosPin It

Reactions

The reviews on Twitter are pretty mixed for the OpenTable rebrand, with lots of people going the "it looks like..." route.

Pro Tip: Give Logo Designers a Break

Here's the deal: logo design is hard. Really, really hard. I know because I'm tackling two logo design projects at the moment and I fully admit that it is far easier to critique someone else's logo work than to build a great logo, or heck even a decent logo, yourself.

So even as we scratch our heads at projects like Career Builder's and wonder what went wrong, let's all admit that summing up an entire brand in one nice little icon or wordmark that pleases both your client and the social media firing squad is nearly impossible. All the designers behind the projects above faced a lot of challenges and I commend them all for tackling projects that are so open to the scrutiny of others.

Free lettering worksheets


Download now!

img

Download now!

Getting started with hand lettering?

Download these worksheets and start practicing with simple instructions and tracing exercises.

12 Comments

  1. I would like to think the logos I hate were beautiful at the beginning, but then the client asked for changes and killed it. I know it has happened to me. I have gotten to the point that I hate what the client makes me do to a design that at the end I can't even put it in my portfolio.

  2. I worked on the online video streaming launch of the London 2012 brand. So was one of the first people to see the logo outside of the direct Olympic marketing team. I really did call up the studio in London to make sure we'd been sent the correct files, after everyone uttered 'What the F#ck!?'
    That said, it did a brilliant job of self publicising, within an hour of launch it was a viral sensation.

  3. Amazing article. I really love the new Spotify branding, can't understand why would people freak out about it.

  4. Having worked mostly as an in-house designer over the years, my experience has been that staff and management feel a lot more comfortable putting their two cents in and turning an in-house design into the dreaded "design by committee." I always feel bad for the designers when an in-house redesign gets panned because it's probably not their fault, but they get all the blame. The designs that go in my portfolio are generally the ones that my coworkers from accounting and sales rejected.

  5. I'm surprised you didn't talk about Logitech. That was the biggest redesign I saw being talked about this year after Google's (which has also since grown on me).

  6. Everything is opinion based. No exception in this article. Definitely an interesting take on some of the re-designs, and I definitely disagree with some of them. But, what can you do?

  7. I think your sentiments at the end are spot on. Logo design is tough. Even as a logo designer myself, I have to keep in mind I don't have the brief in front of me. The challenges they needed to address may have been completely solved. We may not like them aesthetically but it could be the perfect solution…that being said there has been a lot of 'undesign' lately stripping away the uniqueness of original logos, in that regard I do think something may be off in the solution. (again, maybe it's intentional and necessary for the target though!)

You must be signed in to post a comment.

Made with Creative Market

Browse a gallery of inspiration made with design assets from Creative Market.

Explore the Gallery →

Meet the Creative Market Authors

Learn more about the talented writers behind the articles.

Meet the Authors →

Download Our FREE Branding eBook

Get a FREE, fun, and friendly guide to design your own brand.

Get your eBook →