When I heard there was controversy about the “new Uber logo” I went to Uber.com, and couldn’t see anything even remotely controversial about their new wordmark. I then looked up the press release, and still couldn’t understand what the fuss was about.
It’s only after googling “new Uber logo” and skimming through a couple blog posts that I understood: people were complaining about the app icon, not the logo!
Why is this important? Because it illustrates that the thing Uber users relate to is not the logo, but the icon of the app that lives inside their pocket. In other words, the logo is not the brand anymore, the icon is the brand.
As someone who doesn’t use Uber (I never got past the “verify your phone number” stage inside the app) this wasn’t obvious to me.
And I suspect it wasn’t obvious to Uber’s branding team either, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the new icon announcement a footnote of their press release.
The lesson here is: your brand is however your users relate to you, not what your branding team says it is. So the interesting thing about the new Uber logo is that it’s not a logo at all!
The above Written by Sacha Greif, Creator at Sidebar
——- BELOW IS WHAT UBER OFFICIALLY SAID ABOUT THEIR NEW LOOK ——-
If you prefer you can read the original post on Uber’s newsroom blog by Travis, here.
Have you ever looked at someone’s hairstyle and thought “oh my, you peaked in the 1990s?” Well that’s a bit how I feel about Uber’s look today. It’s not just that we were young and in a hurry when we replaced our red magnet logo with today’s black badge four years ago. It’s that we were a fundamentally different company.
Uber began life as a black car service for 100 friends in San Francisco—everyone’s private driver. Today, we’re a transportation network spanning 400 cities in 68 countries that delivers food and packages, as well as people, all at the push of a button. And thanks to services like uberX and uberPOOL we’ve gone from a luxury, to an affordable luxury, to an everyday transportation option for millions of people.
This change didn’t happen overnight, but it sure feels like it did. Almost two years ago Shalin Amin and I started a journey to refresh how Uber looked so it could better represent what we were going to become. The unique aspect of Uber is that we exist in the physical world. When you push a button on your phone, a car moves across the city and appears where you are. We exist in the place where bits and atoms come together. That is Uber. We are not just technology but technology that moves cities and their citizens.
So today, we’re excited to roll out a new look and feel that celebrates our technology, as well as the cities we serve.
The first thing you’ll notice is that our logotype is at once more grounded and elevated. Some might say it’s less fussy (in part because we have cut the curls, our 1990s hairstyle). This will help you see Uber from afar, and when it’s in small places. It also reflects a more substantial look as we too have matured as a company.
We’ve also introduced the concept of the bit throughout our design framework. This will put our technology front and center, as well as provide consistency, highlight information and make our brand easy to recognize. Here are some examples from our web site, and it’s at the heart of our new app icon as you can see below.
The old Uber was black and white, somewhat distant and cold. This belied what Uber actually is—a transportation network, woven into the fabric of cities and how they move. To bring out this human side—the atoms—we’ve added color and patterns. The team has spent months researching architecture, textiles, scenery, art, fashion, people and more to come up with authentic identities for the countries where Uber operates.
In Mexico, we were inspired by Mexican pink and the patterns in the local tiles; in Ireland, from the Georgian architecture and the lush greens; and in Nigeria, from the ankara, which came up again and again because of its bright colors and beautiful geometric patterns.
But this is just the start. Every city has its own character and our long term goal is to have unique designs for cities as well as countries. This will mean adding hundreds more color palettes and patterns overtime.
A new app icon
One of the big changes over the years is that Uber no longer moves just people; we’re now moving food, goods, and soon maybe much more. With the potential for many apps with many app icons, we needed one approach that connected them all. So we came back to our story of bits and atoms. You’ll see that both rider and driver icons have the bit at the center, and then the local colors and patterns in the background. This is a framework that will also make it easy to develop different icons for new products over time.
Uber started out as everyone’s private driver. Today we aspire to make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere and for everyone. Our new brand reflects that reality by working to celebrate the cities that Uber serves. We’re excited to share it with you. And oh yes… hopefully this haircut lasts a bit longer than the last 🙂
CEO and Co-Founder