Best and Worst Rebrands of 2014

What You Can Learn from the 8 Best and Worst Rebrands of 2014

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 It’s never a good idea to still have a Myspace icon on the bottom of your website, and it’s not recommended to use outdated graphic design trends with the world shifting toward gradients and bolder patterns.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 Airlines

Southwest Airlines

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.

Southwest SnacksTypically 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.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut Logo Change

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.

rebranded pizza hut boxPizza 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!

Disney Channel

Disney Channel Logo Change

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.

Olive Garden

Olive Garden Logo Change

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!

Olive Garden ExteriorAll 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

Monster Logo Change

When 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. 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!


Hershey Logo Change

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!


Airbnb Logo Change

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!


Netflix Logo Change

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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  1. Chase

    Really good post. It seems like most companies are learning that when it comes to printing, the best way to get their name out there for the best price is to have a one color logo that is simple to print. Almost all of these either have become more simple in design or have adjusted to just a one color imprint. When it comes to getting promotional items or really anything printed. The least expensive process is always that of a one color print. On top of that a simple logo can also be printed on almost anything. I cringe when I see people send over these super complex logos with a ton of colors, they just never turn out looking as people expect. Not to mention I know that a rookie make the logo. True pros make a one color version for printing purposes and ease of use. That is a game changer! If your Graphic Designer comes to you with only one version of a logo you are looking to get and it doesn’t have a one color version. You might want to find a new designer. Good luck out there!

  2. Scott L

    I have to admit that the changing of the Olive Garden logo kind of bothers me. I totally get what they are doing, as there have been many changes happening over the last few years that go along with the new logo. It makes sense to change the logo and have more mass appeal, it just makes me sad to see their classic sign replaced!

  3. Jay Hoffman

    Good read. I’m kind of a nerd about this stuff and it’s nice to see there are actual websites (not to mention blog posts) dedicated to such nerdery. I’m a fan of logos being simplified like the Olive Garden logo seeing how the old one was an affront the the advertising gods. A lot of the biggest companies in the world have incredibly simple, one color logos. When you see the Nike swoosh or Apple logo, you don’t even need text, or to be told where to go buy their products. A LOT of companies overthink their logo and lose their message. I disagree with the Airbnb and Netflix as being some of the worst though. Less is more if you’re already a household name. No need to muck it up with cursive letters and drop shadows! 😉

  4. Matt

    There is a definite trend I’m sensing in the best re-brand category and that is simplicity. Every single one of the best re-brands stripped down their branding to the basic components while still highlighting the more iconic parts of the brand overall. Pizza hut kept the “roof” image in their new logo but stripped out the excess. Southwest kept their iconic colors but got rid of the enormous plane flying through their old logo (at this point I’m pretty sure Southwest doesn’t need to keep reminding everyone that they are an airline). Disney keeps their iconic Mickey ears but now it doesn’t overwhelm the brand. I think that simplicity is the best thing that any sized company can take away from this post. Especially on items with smaller imprint areas a lot of people really want to hold on to their logos when a nice clean line (or a few) of text will get the message (and much more information) across to their customers just as well. In my experience, in almost every single situation, less is more. Really good stuff, except for Hershey’s poop logo, that one stinks.

  5. Bret Bonnet

    I think Southwest did the best job, not because of their logo or design, but how it ties into their cohesive advertising and brand strategy. Southwest just “gets it”. They put customers first while no other airline does.

    As far as Pizza Hut goes, I haven’t honestly eaten Pizza Hut since I got point and free pizza for readying via the “BookIT” program growing up, but after seeing that pretzel crust on TV so many times this past week I’m 1/2 tempted to try it again.

    Lastly, the Olive Garden logo is an improvement in my book, but it looks like something those $25 logo design companies could make for you in an hour or less. It’s not very inspirational, it’s a departure from their brand, but in the error of Apple driven design, it’s clean and it works.

  6. Greg

    Cool blog. I have to say sometimes simple is better. I really like the new pizza hut logo and the olive garden logo. I can also see why Netflix changed their logo. Red box has the red logo, due to their name.I think the arched logo for Netflix is a nice change.

  7. Rondell Caraos

    Cool Blog… Thank you! Normally, my motto in my personal life and taste in what I purchase is “change” is good! Not everybody could just use a symbol and not even put the name of their company in their logo like Nike, but a simpler logo is the way to go! I do like what Southwest, Pizza Hut, The Disney Channel, and Olive Garden did with their logo. They look more clean and sharp.
    My brother is a Graphic Artist and watching him design logos for companies is pretty cool to watch. He always asks the company exactly what kind of market they are trying to shoot for but for the most part, they let his creativity take over. I consider his style to be very hip and modern. Being in this business for quite some time now… I see a customer’s logo and know right away if it is going to work or not. If a customer wants a Full Color Imprint that is fine as long as the Item they want allows something like that, if not, it gets pretty expensive to have a multi-colored imprint.
    If you are in the middle of doing a rebrand; try to think of your logo as a 1 Color as well. See if you would like the look of it. For the most of my clients, they like to promote their company but also don’t want to break the bank in doing so. If so, then a 1 Color / 1 Location is the way to go.

  8. keith

    Simple is better and effective. You do not need a big, flashy, complex, and colorful logo. I think all of these companies are doing the right thing. They are all improvements in my book.

    Sometimes you need a refresher to your brand. There is nothing wrong with updating your logo after a few years, and some of these were in need of doing so.

    Great read and thank you for the side by side comparisons!

  9. Erik

    I’m sure that rebranding a logo has got to be an exhaustive and lengthy process. You have established your brand, put a logo to it, and have made it your identity. To be able to put a new “face” to your brand by creating a new logo can be exciting and scary at the same time. When you get it right, you look like a hero. When you get it wrong, well you can see how it looks in the worst examples below. To have your logo associated with private parts or poop is no laughing matter.

    I think one thing to note is what the best rebrands have in common: They took a very simple approach. When it comes to branding your logo on items a simple design is often the best approach and the most cost conscience. All of the better conversions took their more complex logo down to one or two colors, but still managed to make the logo look fresh and relevant. However, the flip side to that is taking it too far like Hershey and Netflix did. In my mind, the Hershey brand is to classic of a design to touch. They evoke nostalgia and history. Why change that for a very simplistic design? It just doesn’t make sense. Netflix has not been around long but it looks like they just gave up and simplified for the sake of simplifying. They lost some recognizable brand identity.

    So the moral of the story is this. Simple is good but be sure to keep it fresh. Otherwise you risk looking like you just didn’t try.

  10. Erin

    I LOVE logo designs and am loving this blog post! Clearly the overall theme for the 2014 rebrands is to simplify and I couldn’t agree more that it’s a smart move. A clean simplified logo not only has a more modern look, but is also more versatile for printing and can fit more easily into marketing materials and branded collateral. Kudos to Southwest and Pizza Hut for keeping great brand recognition intact with the revamped design, and for the simplified shape of their new marks.

    The Disney logo update injects some fun into the signature text and removes an unnecessary background which is now easily converted into a 1 color logo for printing when needed. I don’t love the new Olive Garden text but I feel some good moves were made in removing the textured busy background & converting this to a 2 color logo. “Italian Kitchen” seems to float below the new logo and would feel more cohesive with some sort of connector or graphic that extends to it.

    As for Monster – they should have followed their own advice to “Find Better”. This new look actually makes it feel like less of a brand. If you’re going to go with a text only logo – you better make it unique. Airbnb…really? If you need a video to clear the air of pornographic thoughts and explain what your symbol is I think it contradicts the very purpose of a logo. Now that I know what Airbnb is I think that the compass marker used at the end of the video would have been a great choice for the updated look – no video clarification required.

  11. Ashley

    This blog made me chuckle! It used to drive my husband nuts when we would be watching TV and I blurt out, “Oh! why did “Olive Garden” change their logo!?” Now it has become a bit of a game and he will try to point out branding changes before I can notice them. While I was not excited by the new Olive Garden logo at first, my promotional printing brain took over and thought, they will be able to print this simple and modern design on so many more items! While full color printing is coming more and more in to the forefront of this industry, spot color screen and pad printing are still the most common and cost effective avenues. For this reason, along with an appreciation for simple, clean design I want to change my gut reaction and give Olive Garden a thumbs up (and who doesn’t love their brradsticks). On a quick side note, I am so happy Southwest finally got rid of that ugly giant airplane! I LOVE the new heart; pun intended.

  12. Ryan

    This is awesome! I would have to agree that when I first saw the Olive Garden re-branding, I was not a fan. But the more i thought about it the more I came to realize that the simplicity made it more memorable. Simplicity works for brands that are already household names. It is almost like a right of passage for large companies. Once you reach the point where you can successfully connect people with your brand with something as simple as an apple or a swoosh you have reached the “big time”. For Olive Garden they have reached the point where they don’t need a memorable logo anymore, they have a brand that people already know. The timing was perfect and I am a fan.

  13. Angie

    A logo is the first thing someone notices about a company. A lot of thought must have went into the decisions to make changes to the existing branding. What were the reasons? Declining sales? Sluggish growth?

    It doesn’t always make sense to make changes. The Netflix change I don’t get. The original logo was simple enough, and was easily recognizable. The new version doesn’t do anything. It’s boring and bland.

    I do like the new Olive Garden logo, as the busy background has been eliminated. I never understood why they had a bunch of grapes instead of an olive branch before anyway. I do think they could have kept the original type font.

  14. Michael Wenger

    A brand is a company’s public face. Get it right, and you tell a story, increase perceive value, and make your company instantly recognizable. Get it wrong and you could offend, repel, and take a step back with those who value your brand the most. As such, re-branding is a very sharp double edge sword. We have seen some major flops in our day. Remember when PepsiCo thought it was trying to bring a modern look to the Tropicana brand? No different than Olive Garden, and SWA in this article; they just wanted a fresh look. What did they end up with? Some sour fruit and a costly re-brand that only lasted a few months. Tropicana had SUCH a strong following, affinity, and identification amongst consumers with the original branding that there was no “need” to update it.

    And then there was Gap’s 6 day re-brand around 2010 that ended up costing something north of 100 million. Now don’t quote me on the specifics, but all I know, is we all know the Gap logo well. To change it, like they found out post haste, caused a major disruption amongst their brand loyalist. Now, this is not to say PepsiCo or Gap did a bad job in their design, to the contrary, they did well, but those events highlighted the overwhelming power that time has with brand association.

    Now specifically with the ones we discussed in this article, I agree about Monster and Netflix… they are not inspiring. I really like that olive garden decided to change things up but I don’t know if basil (thyme?) leaf was the way to go. On the other side of things, I think Disney and Southwest did an outstanding job. I like how they both captured the zeitgeist of the old with a taste of the new. Bravo. Now with all this said, having gone through a few re-brands, the process is NOT an easy one. Everyone has an opinion and trying to anticipate design is the most informative and palatable to the consumer can be tricky. But as they say, once you are over your head, you might as well keep going. Business caters to the bold, brave, and relentless. So no matter where you are at with your brand, keep working at it, and of course, keep buying promotional items to promote it!

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