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.
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.
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:
Oh boy…possibly the worst rebrand of the year?: “New Logo for CareerBuilder done In-house: http://t.co/ijIjIGRdIQ“
— Laura Biel (@LauraBiel) September 21, 2015
Yikes. That Career Builder logo is atrocious.
— Joey Lomanto (@joeylomanto) September 23, 2015
@CareerBuilder Can’t get over how totally 80’s your new logo is.
— MomChewington (@momchewington) September 23, 2015
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:
- The matching of the right talent with the right opportunity
- Actionable intelligence and customized insights
- The smooth flow of data between systems and platforms
- “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.
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.
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 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:
Here’s a good contrast to the Google logo revamp. This… not… good (but still better than the last!) pic.twitter.com/b40NQNUDAl
— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) September 3, 2015
this undesign trend has gone too far, Verizon’s new logo looks like Arial Bold
— kidd radd (@EthanRedd) September 25, 2015
I’ve lost all confidence in Verizon’s executive team since they approved this new logo.
— Evan Freeze (@evanfreeze) September 25, 2015
— Kenneth Chevalier (@one_ch1potle) September 24, 2015
i personally hate the new verizon logo, sorry pentagram. http://t.co/fT3LMUAk8I
— megan p learn (@learnmp) September 23, 2015
The most notable Tweet by far for this one came from none other than T-Mobile’s CEO. Shots fired! Stay classy John.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) September 2, 2015
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.
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.
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:
— Shannon Spears (@CN_ShannonS) September 24, 2015
The new Google logo now evokes children’s refrigerator magnets, McDonald’s French fries, and Comic Sans: http://t.co/VLm5aloSC7
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) September 4, 2015
#GoogleLogo I HATE IT……
SO original…… NOT
Did they hire a kindergartener who likes to color? ? ?
— Doug McGilvery (@jcnme2020) September 22, 2015
Holy Mother of God, I hate the new @Google logo.
— Westdael (@westdael) September 19, 2015
It wasn’t all negative though. My personal feed, which is heavily occupied by professional designers, contained more praise than critique:
I am so loving the new Google logo. At first it was jarring—but I liked it. Now, I just love it.
— Vin Thomas (@VinThomas) September 10, 2015
After giving it virtually no thought and just seeing it many times each day, I quite like the new Google logo/wordmark.
— Will Smith (@willsmith) September 10, 2015
Chances are pretty good you didn’t like the old Google logo. So if you don’t like the new one, the world is still the same for you.
— Jason Santa Maria (@jasonsantamaria) September 2, 2015
— M.G. Siegler (@mgsiegler) September 1, 2015
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.
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”.
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?
A lot of the tweets about Facebook’s new logo were aimed at simply getting people to notice the change.
— The Verge (@verge) July 5, 2015
— TAXI (@designtaxi) July 4, 2015
— TAXI (@designtaxi) July 2, 2015
— iA Inc. (@iA) July 1, 2015
— Buffer (@buffer) July 1, 2015
Facebook’s new logo isn’t new, only tweaked a bit #facebook#make moneyonline http://t.co/DE1O5qXl2r
— free online dating (@freeonlinedati3) September 25, 2015
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:
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.
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.
Our new logo is a symbol of optimism. Like humanity, The Yellow Dot has no sides or corners.It’s perfectly imperfect. pic.twitter.com/JY31GK4y1B
— Life is Good (@Lifeisgood) August 13, 2015
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.
Life is Good, New Logo is Bad http://t.co/YTxDH6KtHw
— Kosta (@finnllow) August 10, 2015
Life is Good apparel co. redesigns logo, not for better. http://t.co/YzcLxzWTMl
— John Fries (@JohnAFries) August 7, 2015
— Justine Andrews (@andrews_justine) August 13, 2015
Trust me, I love Life is Good, but I’m not feeling this new logo 😕
— Kevin Gehringer (@Kevin_Gehringer) August 18, 2015
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.
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.
New CLIPPERS logo looks like it was created by EA SPORTS pic.twitter.com/uTk32qhiKw
— Miguel Peralta (@MainMigga) September 26, 2015
The new Clippers wordmark is generic and predictable, but the “LAC” logo is 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/WkvgXkEpwS
— Josh Williams (@jw) June 18, 2015
— Terry Fahn (@terryfahn) September 24, 2015
I don’t hate the new Clippers logo per se but that tattooist groupon money might have been better applied somewhere else
— Steven Starkweather (@starkweather77) July 31, 2015
— ScoreBoredSports (@ScoreBored_SBS) July 24, 2015
— Gowhere You Love (@gowherehiphop) July 16, 2015
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.
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.
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.
The new IHOP logo kinda creeps me out
— Tight Pants (@djTightPants) September 24, 2015
— Kathleen Villa (@kalcazar) September 22, 2015
Am i the only one who thinks IHOP’s new logo is creepy https://t.co/LDi3r1Ax0K
— T (@hi_im_tz_nutz) September 9, 2015
I love the new @ihop logo. It’s so simple but creates a sense of happiness and fulfillment
— J$ (@jedonwimberly) September 9, 2015
Just realized there’s a smile in the IHOP logo and I’m forever changed
— Alex McIntosh (@themctosh) September 8, 2015
I love ihop’s logo so simple but insanely genius
— R.L Stx (@LordLemon_) September 6, 2015
— Mr.Pachan (Mr.P) (@BrandonPachan) August 23, 2015
— Krista Renee (@Krista__renee) August 16, 2015
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.
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.
— Core77 (@core77) July 30, 2015
— Liz Broekhuyse (@Theysaurus) July 27, 2015
Tokyo’s Olympics Logo Is a Confusing Geometric Mess | WIRED – Wired http://t.co/vvzr5IQXMS
— Tokyo Olympic 2020 (@Olympic_Tokyo) July 27, 2015
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games logo is minimal and abstract. The animation really sold me on it. Nice logo. https://t.co/HEEhZVBee5
— Michael Boys (@MichaelRBoys) July 27, 2015
the Tokyo Olympic logo looking like a Belgian theatre’s logo distracts from the awfulness of the Olympic logo pic.twitter.com/v55oJcOxBX
— Dale Hawerchelsk (@redhero) July 30, 2015
— Paul Bailey (@paulmarkbailey) September 17, 2015
— Jon W. Chambers (@jonwillchambers) September 16, 2015
— James (@james_on_thames) September 16, 2015
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.
The new Microsoft Edge logo is unsettlingly similar to Internet Explorer… 😑 pic.twitter.com/NxXCdlrWiI
— Nicole Bouchard (@nbouchard0415) September 8, 2015
Microsoft Edge: “We’ve changed everything except the logo so you can still easily avoid using our browser.”
— rows & colins (@domigan) August 25, 2015
— Zoombroom (@_Zoombroom_) August 11, 2015
The Microsoft Edge logo is awful. There, I said it.
More ‘broken’ than ‘edgy’.
— Grant Bunyan (@grantbunyan) August 10, 2015
@Microsoft What gives? You say that you are putting ie out to pasture but you give us Microsoft Edge – seriously? Even the logo is the same.
— Jody Smart (@Jo_Magoo) August 5, 2015
I see that people are hating the new Microsoft Edge logo. I actually think it is not bad at all.
— Nikola Kostić (@KosticType) August 5, 2015
Wait, does the Microsoft Edge icon really still resemble the IE logo? Way to distance yourself from that horrible browser.
— Bryan Y (@technor) August 5, 2015
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.
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.
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.
Opera’s new branding is pretty much the polar opposite of the new Career Builder logo. Meaning, it’s very nice. http://t.co/B9jiqoRq3J
— Todd Coleman (@todd_coleman) September 22, 2015
— Dan Edwards (@de) September 22, 2015
— Odin Hørthe Omdal (@odinho) September 22, 2015
— thomas (@thomasoffinga) September 22, 2015
In June, Spotify changed their brand green… and broke the Internet.
The seemingly subtle update was actually part of some really great branding exploration that included lots of bold color experiments.
Pretty cool right? It doesn’t matter though. All people saw was that new green, and they freaked out.
The new green was the topic of the week, getting tons of coverage on social media and tech blogs:
- People Are Freaking Out Over Spotify’s New Logo
- Revealed: Spotify had no idea how much you’d hate its new logo color
- Spotify changed the color of its icon and it’s driving people crazy
- Spotify changed the color of its logo and everyone is freaking out
- Spotify’s green logo color change is making users see red
From the Twitter reactions, one can only assume that this new shade of green has been directly linked to temporary blindness and nausea.
Every time I look at the new @Spotify logo, it pisses me off more. It’s such an aggravating shade of green.
— Lisa (@mikaylexia) September 23, 2015
Spotify appears to have very slightly changed the green of its app logo and now I can’t see it anymore.
— grit (@justgrit) August 27, 2015
I’m more disturbed than I should be by the Spotify logo’s new shade of green.
— Chloe (@cholaybaratheon) August 23, 2015
When did that spotify logo turn in to that yucky shade of green?
— Mikkei Lim (@mikkeilim) August 21, 2015
The new green used for Spotify’s logo and UI is making my stomach turn. #puke
— Dan Andersxon (@dandersxon) July 30, 2015
Spotify’s new logo is such a sickening shade of green.
— Gyanna (@belleofdablvd) July 30, 2015
The Spotify logo has changed shades of green and I am INCONSOLABLE
— Lex (@avlamper) July 28, 2015
“Minor improvements” @Spotify? The logo color went from green to light green. How can my entire world in shambles be described as minor?
— Ryan (@RyanBrady13) July 28, 2015
my life has been complete shit since spotify changed it’s logo to a lighter shade of green
— Iommie (@Jewcas) July 28, 2015
Oh god, Spotify have changed the shade of green their logo is, I DON’T LIKE CHANGE IT WAS FINE THE WAY IT WAS
— Muzz (@GatorPhox) July 24, 2015
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.
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.
The reviews on Twitter are pretty mixed for the OpenTable rebrand, with lots of people going the “it looks like…” route.
Still can’t see the new @opentable logo as anything but a pair of wheels in a machine waiting for a fan belt. I guess it’s a plate and…?
— Kelson Vibber (@KelsonV) April 17, 2015
I love the new logo of @OpenTable. It provokes a table setting that brings together people. It provokes that both are one.
— Todd Maciejewski (@ToddMaciejewski) March 9, 2015
— BMays Design (@BMaysDesign) March 9, 2015
— Rachael L Moore (@morewry) March 6, 2015
— Robert Stephens (@rstephens) March 10, 2015
Sooo…@opentable did a rebrand? Looks like a reversed Target logo.
— Amy Do (@AmyDoStafford) March 8, 2015
Does Consumer Reports know that OpenTable stole their logo?
— Mandy M. (@daintyinferno) March 7, 2015
— Eat Retreat (@eatretreat) March 6, 2015
— brendanfoley (@brendanfoley) March 6, 2015
— Brett Quigley (@BrettSQuigley) March 5, 2015
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.