Rebranding: An Uber case study

In a classic case of just how powerful ‘branding’ can be and in lieu of yet another rebrand, we thought we’d take a look at Uber’s new branding, break it down and show you just how much potential a rebrand could have for your company.

Uber has been through some major ups and downs in its time as a company. More recently for some of the not-so-good stuff, so it’s almost unsurprising that they’re taking such big steps to improve their brand identity.

Revealing a new logo, new mission statement and a completely re-developed identity. Let’s take a look:

The Mission Statement

A somewhat simple change, but one that packs a powerful punch. Their previous statement was “Make transportation as reliable as running water everywhere, for everyone.” A bit clunky don’t you think? And a bit ignorant to the fact that running water isn’t all that reliable everywhere.

Now, their mission statement reads at “We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.” A lot better.

The Logo

They’ve lost the all-caps look for a simple ‘Uber’, with a fully bespoke typeface to suit. Say hello to ‘Uber Move’, a sans serif by MCKL Type Foundry. First impressions have been mixed, from criticism of its kurbing to the exclaims that it’s a lot friendlier than its previous typeface, Clan Pro.

The rounded geometries of the new typeface is something that other brands such as Google and Airbnb have also undertook in an attempt to look friendly. It works for them, so will it work for Uber?

With a capital U and everything else lower case, ‘Uber’ is now legible to everyone. Scientifically, it’s easier to read letters of different shapes and sizes and most importantly it enhances the difference between the first and last letters of the word, which your brain acknowledges first. That’s why you can read words that have been misspelt and still understand them.

 

Uber is trying to proof itself against spelling mistakes.

The logo is aimed to be more approachable and to reflect safety and accessibility. Keeping the appearance of it clean, washing away their past (good or bad) and signifying a clean slate.

 

They want a fresh start.

When designing the typeface, they did a whole load of research into transport fonts and this really was the base of their new design. They wanted something that could be recognized when going 50mph, it needed to be fluid and mobile.

This new logo has been fired out replacing everywhere that the Uber icon was, from their social media, to their app logos, that old icon is gone.

The previous intricate atom design, which had caused plenty of confusion and controversy in its time has been scrapped. People wanted the black and silver ‘U’ back from which the atom replaced, well now they have it… kind of.

This confusing logo has not helped them with their trust issues, people would get picked up in a car that would say Uber, but that is not relative to the app. Plus, it’s said that apparently a lot of drivers/riders didn’t even understand what the atom was.

Since their new logo was installed, the company itself has also been hit with various sexual harassment allegations and criminal investigations. No wonder they’ve changed it, ehy?

Why did this happen?

Woiff Olins is the brains behind this rebranding endeavor. You may already know of them from the 2012 Olympics logo. They’ve been working tirelessly with the Uber Brand Experience Team and MCKL Type Foundry for the past nine months on this.

Their last rebrand wasn’t all that long ago either, back in February 2016 they wanted to show themselves as a “fundamentally different company” and now here they are, doing it again.

Woiff Olins spent some time abroad, researching how well Uber works in other situations to the American one in which is was born. What they found was that the branding doesn’t translate on a global level. For instance, not all countries that have Uber use cars.

“To reimagine how the world moves, we looked to design a system that connected with all modes of transportation, in all places, for all people, and ultimately delivered by all teams across Uber,” Wolff Olins said in a statement.

Your brand identity is important, simple changes can make a world of difference. Whether this version of Uber will last is still out for question, but from all the work and thought that they’ve put into it, it surely looks promising.

 

If you’d like help constructing a rebrand, please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.