What are Uber doing?

What are Uber doing with their recent redesign of their identity? Whatever you may think of the original logo, it was distinctive and clear (if a little cold according to some design critics), However, the new logo is about as distinctive as a white blob in a coloured square (which it is). When the logo changed, I struggled to find it on my phone. I struggled even more to work out the meaning behind the change, but Uber have nicely provided a nice corporate logo to explain.

Frankly, I really don’t get it and whatever the intentions I think the new look will be a disaster, like many before (think of Gap). The new identity has no clear meaning, no clear connection to the previous identity or any connection to the business they are in or the job that their customers are trying to get done. They have turned something simple, clear and effective into something that nobody understands. They claim that Travis Kalanick, the CEO, has been working on the change for two years. Perhaps he would have been better off spending his time on improving the company’s PR and relationship with the drivers who work for it. This change is a disaster waiting to happen.

At the same time, GrabTaxi have moved in the opposite direction, simplifying their name to Grab and their logo to a simple green on white to white on green name. Moreover, the style of the text and the font used for the name implicitly communicate the idea of grabbing (wrapping around the a and b in Grab) and the idea of two lanes of a highway linking the logo to the job that customers want to get done.

My bet is that the new Grab identity will flourish and will last much longer than Uber’s but let’s see what the future brings.

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