Rebrand Review: Uber gets a new look
Uber is presently the largest transportation and logistics company in the entire world; spanning across 400 cities and 65 countries. Since starting up in 2009, Uber has exponentially grown and utterly disrupted the taxi industry. They’re moving people, objects and food – basically anything that can be transported from point A to point B.
Bits and atoms – the underlying concept behind Uber’s controversial rebrand. Uber’s rationale to support this concept is that the bits embody the idea of technology; while the atoms signify their people - being everyone. Uber believes it is building a connection between the two parallels – adopting a utopian philosophy. While this all sounds revolutionary and game-changing, the overall identity that is visually translated to the world is somehow misleading and inconsistent. Uber decided to rebrand itself from within (using inhouse designers as opposed to outsourcing brand specialists); heavily micro managed by the CEO, Travis Kalanick and led by Shalin Amin (head designer). As a result, the new identity has entailed multiple facets and is a bit of mishmash.
The newly reevaluated logotype is legible and better suited to its context. The letters are kerned tightly and a bold weight is selected for the newly combined typefaces that make up the entirety of the logotype. The subtle rounded corners balance out the letterforms and make them appear to be more organic and humanistic. Overall, its an improvement in terms of usability and future applications; however its predictable and a given.
The Colour Palette
The extension of Uber’s new brand identity is where it gets a little fickle. While the logotype is definitely an improvement and the refinement was much needed, not much can be said for the rest of the visual identity. To cater to its global market, Uber has released a variety of colour palettes and accompanying patterns that sum up the culture and country they service. All is well in this, it creates an area of differentiation and puts a firm focus on their people – taking on a more human-centred approach. The patterns themselves encompass the idea of the ‘atoms’; their customers and their cultural/ethnic backgrounds.
The App Icons
Uber’s largest platform to connect with its customers is undoubtedly their smartphone application. A great app icon needs to be familiar yet stand out against other app icons on the screen. Uber’s new app icons (for both riders and drivers) doesn’t exactly seem familiar neither does it reflect their new identity. The abstract nature of it will definitely leave some existing customer’s baffled and searching.
Another extension of the new identity features new icons and illustrations displayed throughout the new website. The illustrations are friendly and enhance the content. Its definitely great to see Uber adopting the trend of incorporating playful illustrations throughout the applications of their identity. It really brings their intentions to life and shifts them from being seen as a luxury form of transportation to one that expands its horizons and welcomes growth.
Whether you like it or not, Uber is changing the way we get around.