The Best and Worst Branding of 2017

It goes without saying that a company and its branding especially ‘logo design’ is closely related and grows together. So, if you are thinking of embarking on a brand design journey or thinking that it’s time your company’s visual identity needs a visual face lift then this blog post makes a good read for you.

In this blog I have cherry picked The Best and Worst branding of the year 2017, here you go:

Instagram

In may, Instargram unveiled its new rainbow-gradient icon quite unlike its old skeuomorphic icon. Love it or hate it, this new icon is packed with some clever details like an image that referenced photography’s evolution from film based cameras to mobiles. And rainbow gradient that subtly refers the rainbow stripes of the old icon while the bright colors make the icon stand out in a sea of other icons. This new logo design is fresh, vibrant, and very digital. Along with the new logo design, they also redesigned the logos for all their products (Layout, Boomerang, Hyperlapse) to make sure they go with the  new icon.

Surprisingly, the new icon garnered mixed reviews from the users but was highly appreciated for the new user interface. In addition, Instagram introduced some exciting and engaging features as well.

The popular photo sharing site introduced a new bookmarking feature that gives users an option to save photos or videos for later in a private tab inside the application. Good thing is your followers or friends won’t be able to see which posts you have saved. Instagram also rolled out ‘Instagram stories’  feature that is quite inspired from Snapchat. It lets users share all moments of their day by adding series of photos or videos and they disappear after 24 hours. With all these refreshing changes, Instagram is a clear branding winner. As per Forbes, with annual revenue reaching $3.2 billion this year and estimated  to be $ 6.4 billion in 2017, Instagram has really pushed the envelope.

Sephora

Sephora ( a global beauty retailer), enjoyed a larger share of the pie with the double-digit revenue growth this year. The Brand experienced an increased no. of online sales and an expanding store base. Its unique features such as “Anytime, Anywhere and on Any Device” helped them to win over a lot of customer base. In addition, the launch of Sephora Virtual Artist Application proved game changers for the users.

Using smartphone’s camera combined with the latest technology developed by ModiFace, the tool maps a user’s face and give them an option to virtually try every lip color to find the perfect lip shade that complements their skin tone. The tool later expanded its functionality and also allowed users to try on false eyelashes. The virtual artist app amassed immense popularity and grew to 3.4 million visits and 753,000 basket items.

Sephora app is the latest in a series of digital enhancements that leverages exclusive augmented reality technology to give a more customized beauty experience to users. If this was not enough to get you hooked, users can capture their looks with photos & videos and share it socially with their friends and family to garner feedback or they can email with product links for future reference. These features allowed users to find their perfect products effortlessly and powered up Sephora’s branding game.

Helia

Another company that has made it to the list of best branding is Helia- a data science and analytics company. The otherwise less known company has entered the hall of fame with a stellar redesign. Its new circular logo is imbued with a gradient that changes colors based on real-time weather and geographic data. This eye catchy new logo redesign has done justice to company’s analytic capabilities as it creates unique data -informed expressions of the brand identity. This innovative logo serves as a unique data stamp and will surely keep the company on the list of best branding for years to come.

MasterCard

MasterCard one of the most recognizable brands revamped its new logo that echoed a more modernized, simple yet elegant look. MasterCard logo hadn’t been changed in the past 20 years, and this can be referred as company’s major redesign.

Without doing away with the decades of brand recognition, the new logo still has the familiar overlapping yellow & red circles but is sleeker and smarter.  While the comb effect in the center has been removed and the classic wordmark has been placed outside of the symbol.

This evolved brand identity is well optimized for relevance in an increasingly digital world yet preserving its heritage. Just by using the similar symbol without the wordmark, the system is now flexible enough to work across multiple platforms and products.

The new logo of this well-established global brand still maintains the essence of the old logo, thus brand recall will never be a problem.

Now let’s take a deep dive into the Worst Branding of the year:

Uber

This year in February, Uber rolled out its new logo and branding globally. The brand has dropped the iconic ‘U’ on a black background in its new design. The new uber logo has an obscure shape some has ridiculed at it by calling it a Pacman. Unlike classic black background, the new icon has been set against a background of blue lines for riders and some different pattern with red for drivers. This logo update was taken with a grain of salt by the users. However, the company has now quietly rolled back some of its much recognizable old graphic design.

Trump-Pence

The Trump-Pense logo is the undisputed winner of the worst brand design of this year. Well, dear designers behind this logo I hate to insult your intelligence in this way, but logo looks undeniably erotic and has become an object of ridicule. The controversial Trump-Pence logo shows an intertwining capital T and capital P set against the red and white bars of the American flag. The logo received  raving reviews and was widely mocked.

Wrapping up

The take home message from the listed example of these well known companies is when you are thinking of giving a fresher look to your brand or revamping your existing logo, you need to be clear how much you want to honor the past in redesigning of the logo or you want to come up with a bold redesign that erases your cherished brand’s history or may be you want to maintain a fine balance between the two. Whatever you plan to go for, just make sure it keeps your brand’s personality intact. And to avoid any disappointment it is wise to research your target market and audience, make necessary amends before you finally launch it in the market. Keep innovating!

Campbell Jof is a Creative Head for Designhill, as well as a blogger and designer. He writes on topics concerning design, eCommerce, start-ups, digital marketing, and interactive content. His creative work has earned him several laurels over the years.