Best and Worst

December 27, 2016 • Posted in Branding

We all have opinions. Here’s mine…

Just this week, Fast Company came out with their Best and Worst Branding of 2016. Typically, I take these articles with a grain of salt. Best and worst lists – whether they come from a group of professionals about the best cars of 2016 or a Buzzfeed list of best memes of 2016, are just a collection of opinions and … we all have one. Then again, it’s interesting to see what others in the design world think about their peers’ work.

First up with a “best” ranking that I’m going to give my nod of disagreement: The MasterCard rebrand. MasterCard says the evolution of their brand identity “simplifies, modernizes and optimizes for the increasingly digital world.” I hear that a lot about rebrands, and sometimes I find “simplifying” an excuse to strip down a logo. There’s nothing wrong with keeping pieces of a logo that make it stand out. In this case, the logo lost the woodcut type design between the orange and the red circles that we’ve all come to recognize. We see a Venn diagram of their colors that could identify as anything. The font is now understated and kind of “cute”. No longer do we see a symbol of financial options, freedom from cash and the icon of a large corporation. It may look friendlier, but trusting your money to cute and friendly vs. strong and bold probably shouldn’t be what they’re going for, right?

I’ve given my humble unsolicited opinion of a best that I’d throw into the worst arena, so how about the best? In a time where everything seems to be stripped down, the Sydney Opera House  rebrand came out fluidly dimensional and bold. The 3D typeface (which had entire alphabet created for it – so cool) has a similar look and feel to the iconic roofline of the opera house. Blacks, whites and greys give dimension to the otherwise flat serif font. And although the icon of the roofline itself is somewhat simpler, combined with the chosen font, it makes for a statement brand that can’t be ignored. Well done!

Is there a ranking for MEH? Fans of VSCO, the photo-editing app for shutterbugs, saw a redesign of their logo and the user interface. As someone who regularly uses the app, I find their simplified interface a little vague and non-intuitive. There are no words telling you what to click. When I have to guess at what an icon means to make something happen, the designer didn’t do their job. But again, this is my own opinion – what say you?

In agreement! Belongs on the worst list. The UBER  redesign is/was simply bizarre. Is it a micro-chip? A backwards “C”? A blue map? Who knows. I think a simple modernization and cleanup of the old “U UBER” icon would have sufficed. It became recognizable, popular and in high demand. Why fix something that’s not broken?

Read on…I’d love to hear your opinion(s):

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