October 08, 2018

The recent Uber redesign took me by surprise as I am sure it did a lot of people. In the wake of scandal and the ousting of its founder, Uber was in need of repairing its public image. One way to help initiate a company cultural shift and effect public perception is to order up a facelift – execute a rebrand.

The thesis of the rebrand created by world renowned Wolff Olins was: “The brand needed to work around the world. Its highest growth areas are in regions outside of the US, such as Latin America and India…instead of pursuing a complex identity system, localized through color and pattern, we moved towards a universal ‘beyond-simple’ global brand. Teams in diverse markets can make it relevant to their audiences with culturally specific content…”

The motivations for the rebrand and the thesis make sense,  I am just not a fan of the final execution. In the effort to wipe the slate clean and not generate any additional controversy, the designers over-intellectualized the final product and delivered a custom brand typeface – sans logo. Simply put, they designed a really cool typeface but forgot about creating a new emphatic symbol for Uber, a symbol for a company trying to re-invent and redeem itself in the public sphere.

Speaking of the typeface, ‘Uber Move’ – I think it’s well proportioned and finely executed. It has a refined, modern vibe that anyone interested in the esoteric art of typeface design can admire and appreciate. I do think a few letters look odd and unbalanced. Specifically the lower case ‘g’ with its prematurely truncated descender and the lower case ‘s’ looks like it took a hit of acid and is unsure of its stability – it seems to vibrate nervously compared to the letters around it.

My goal for the redesign was to create something bold, fun – to let some air out of the ego and add some personality back in. I focused on creating a logotype that utilizes shape and volume to render the letterforms and to abandon the use of convention fonts. This shape-dominant approach for a logotype is not new, but I had a sense that this was a good direction to explore – it fits the ‘uber’ moniker. The final design conveys a unique graphic silhouette and a bold confidence that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s moving forward and not looking to be safe or back at a checkered past.

A fictitious ad campaign features the uber ‘u’ as a graphic device I’m calling the tab. The tab displays a variety of people focused, selfie-like images that could be actual customer photos that are submitted for use in an extended campaign. To continue with contemporary memes, ads present phrases in a hashtag format to help illustrate how uber contributes to their customer personal journeys. I’m leveraging the current stark black and white color palette of the current identity, but also using a splash of bright, neon color in the tab photography to add focus, fun and positive energy.

Would love to hear what you think, please vote for “this” or “that” and post your comments below. Thanks!


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