Here at Quality Logo Products®, we’re in the business of putting your logo on cool stuff. Since we see THOUSANDS of logos come across our desks every day, we like to think we know a thing or two about logo design and branding. After all, “quality” is in our name.
It may not be too common across the board, but rebranding is something many companies put into practice. In 2014 alone, a lot of companies launched major rebrands, including: Southwest Airlines, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, AirBnB, and Netflix, among others. These bold, forward-thinking companies released new logos and branding materials that helped them not only set themselves apart from the competition, but send a message to customers that they’re always evolving and changing with the times.
In this fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon for the trend from last year to be completely obsolete. Granted, there are still folks out there who rock a Livestrong bracelet or a trucker hat and think it’s cool. Still, logo design trends come and go, and you want to make sure your brand style fit with the times. It’s never a good idea to still have a Myspace icon on the bottom of your website, and it’s not recommended to use outdated graphic design trends with the world shifting toward gradients and bolder patterns.
Without further ado, let’s get into the winning rebrands from 2014!
The Best Rebrands of 2014
Southwest’s rebrand is definitely one of the best of 2014. The new logo and wordmark may not be revolutionary, but the new heart logo breathes new life into their brand and into air travel in general.
Typically when you think of the airport you think of long security lines, sitting in a boring lobby, cramped leg space, and screaming babies. Many airlines do very little to change your perception of the travel experience.
However, this new Southwest logo aims to put heart back into the air travel industry. If you’re going on a honeymoon to Hawaii or traveling across the ocean to see Europe, you want your flight to be more exciting than annoying.
Check out one of the commercials for the rebranded Southwest:
Takeaway lesson: Southwest’s rebrand not only accurately captures the brand’s mission, but it sets them apart from the competition. This should inspire brands to create logos that are completely unique to them. In addition, your branding materials should not only reflect the spirit of your company, but also the way you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand.
In November of 2013, Pizza Hut unveiled a bold new brand identity and logo, including the new “Flavor of Now” menu. By launching a vibrant new brand identity in tandem with exciting new menu offerings (pretzel pizza crust, anyone?!), Pizza Hut was able to get consumers excited about their brand again.
Pizza Hut’s rebrand is drastically different than their old branding strategy. They took a risk and totally revamped their brand to make it more modern. This completely paid off for the company, increasing their sales which were down 2% the previous year.
You can see more of how Pizza Hut has upped their game with their branding AND their pizza in the commercial below about their new Hershey Chocolate Cookie.
We bet your mouth is watering just thinking about this delicious slice of chocolatey goodness!
Takeaway lesson: Even though Pizza Hut moved into new territory with their change in branding, they still kept their well-known rooftop imagery as part of the logo. If you’re launching a rebrand, don’t be afraid to take risks, but remember people hate change…so don’t scare your current customers away!
I don’t know how many of you watch Disney Channel on a regular basis, but there’s something as magical as Disney World about the new logo. The original logo was temporary fix for the widescreen television sets on the marketplace. However, it ended up sticking around for years. As times changed, so too, did the kid-friendly television station, leading to a shiny new logo to go along with their new programming.
The new logo is not a drastic change by any means, but it’s a welcome switch from the old, outdated logo. The most important part is how their new design works within Disney Channel’s ubiquitous magic wand promos.
You can see the new logo in action in some of Disney Channel’s station identification spots below.
Takeaway Lesson: Disney Channel was able to launch a new logo without losing any of the channel’s magic. When you rebrand your company, start by identifying your company’s core values and missions. From there, create a new logo and identity that still maintains your brand’s spirit.
Placing Olive Garden’s rebrand among the best rebrands of last year may be a polarizing opinion, considering how heated conversations in the design community were about Olive Garden’s new logo. Many designers panned the new logo, but many others came to Olive Garden’s defense!
All of that said, now that the dust has settled, and we’ve all gotten over our gut reaction of hating change, it’s safe to say this new logo is a huge step in the right direction for Olive Garden. While the new logo loses some of the homemade, family-oriented, artisan vibe of the old logo, the updated font and olive sprig make the logo feel as fresh as a garden salad. Think of it as a branding Renaissance for this Italian eatery.
One of the best perks of the redesign were new menu options, such as the beloved never-ending pasta bowl!
Takeaway Lesson: While it’s true that not everyone loved the new Olive Garden logo, everybody was talking about it! Any publicity is good publicity right? You can make a big splash with your rebrand by unveiling a drastic overhaul of your brand’s identity and sticking to your guns. We can learn a lot from the best rebrands and new logos of 2014, but we can probably glean even more tips from the brands that missed the mark. Moving right along, let’s take a look at the worst rebrands of 2014!
The Worst Rebrands of 2014
When Monster.com launched their new logo in July 2014, they introduced an animated version of the flag design you see above, which admittedly was a pretty cool concept!
That said, this one is on the list of the worst rebrands not because the logo is inherently bad, but because of the application. The logo design is very eye-catching and dynamic, even on paper. However, the problem was the animated version of the new logo was nowhere to be found on Monster’s website, which is arguably the best place to use an animated logo.
Takeaway lesson: When you are designing your new logo, consider all of the mediums available to you and how your logo will be applied within each one. Monster.com missed a huge opportunity in not using their animated logo on their website. In fact, not using the animated logo on the web nearly renders the whole concept pointless!
The new logo for Hershey’s made a big splash in September 2014 when people discovered the new Hershey’s kiss in the logo looks an awful lot like Apple’s famous poop emoji. Whoops! Poop emoji aside, the new flat design of the Hershey’s logo loses some of the character and charm of the old logo. The new logo is almost too corporate for a company that sells chocolate!
Takeaway lesson: When you launch your new logo, you’ll want everyone talking about your brand in a positive way. You can try to avoid mistakes like this by getting as many eyes as possible on your logo before you launch it. Whether you hold meetings internally or bring in focus groups, you’re more likely to avoid a major slip-up with additional sets of eyes!
The launch of Airbnb’s new logo in 2014 was surrounded in much controversy. If you’re not familiar with Airbnb, it’s an online community for people to list and book travel lodging around the world. Can you tell that from the new logo?
Many people claimed that the new logo looked a bit explicit. If you look long enough, you’ll see exactly what they mean. The new symbol doesn’t convey anything about the brand at first glance. Then some in the design community discovered that Airbnb’s new logo bared a striking resemblance to the logo of Automation Anywhere.
All of those controversies aside, perhaps the most offensive part about the new Airbnb logo is how heavy-handed and borderline pretentious the reason is behind the new logo design. Airbnb has named their new symbol “The Bélo.”
Takeaway lesson: For starters, make sure your logo doesn’t look like something that could be misconstrued as vulgar. Second, do your homework and try to create a logo that is not even remotely identical to someone else’s. Most importantly, though, don’t make your message too convoluted. Consumers should be able to tell what your logo means and how it represents your brand right away. A video nearly 2 minutes long should not be necessary in order for people to understand what your logo signifies. So don’t overthink it!
The best word to describe Netflix’s new logo is “anti-climactic.” It’s almost like the logo doesn’t even need to exist, it’s really that simple. It’s definitely not a good idea to associate Netflix’s hours of entertainment with boringness and yawning, and that’s just what the new logo design delivers.
Netflix is among several brands that jumped on the flat design trend last year. The new logo will be used not only on the Netflix website, but also in the title cards and marketing for Netflix original programming. Similar to the new Hershey’s logo, this is another case of the flat design trend causing a brand’s logo to lose some of its character.
This video accurately sums up Netflix’s thought behind their 2014 logo redesign:
Takeaway lesson: If you’re going through the trouble of rebranding or creating a new logo, you might as well go big or go home. Sometimes subtlety works, but not if the changes are so small your customers are wondering why you bothered. Rebranding is a great opportunity to get people talking about your brand, so make sure you create something worth talking about!
In 2014 we saw some inspiring rebrands, but we also saw some duds. As you go forward planning your brand strategy for 2015 and onward, you can take inspiration and tips from the successful and not-so-successful rebrands of last year.
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