Thought Leadership

February 11, 2016

What We Thought of Three 2015 Rebrands


Major brands revamp their images all the time – with varying levels of success. From the Uber rebrand fail that may have sent its head of design packing to Spotify and IHOP’s flat design revamps, check out a few of our favorite (and least favorite) rebrands of the last year.


Major brands revamp their images all the time – with varying levels of success. Our CEO Anne Green shared a few of her insights earlier this week in her post, The Real Problem with Uber’s New Logos. This inspired us to look at some our favorite (and least favorite) rebrands of the last year, from the Uber rebrand fail that may have sent its head of design packing, to Spotify’s 2015 revamp. Read on to find out what we loved – and didn’t – in 2015.



Last March, Spotify boldly declared “We’re a music brand, not a tech company!” with a flashy rebrand. In addition to refreshing its logo, it recast its ads, playlists and design stylings in an explosion of color, with emphasis on vintage-inspired duotone treatments. The changes were spread across the app and website, as well as major advertising campaigns in 2015. While most of us are used to the new look by now, many Spotify users didn’t love it at first glance.


“Spotify added all the colors of the rainbow to their site… saying it was because ‘millennials like colors.’ It took me a few seconds of my brain rejecting the new look before I clicked around and was comfortable with it,” said Kristin Cockerham, one of our senior account executives. “Rebranding can sometimes improve the user experience, but you can always expect some level of backlash.”


IHOP also rebranded in 2015, using the same typography from its original logo and turning it into a more modern, flat design representation of their brand. A big motivation for IHOP was taking the red “Restaurant” banner that always looked vaguely like a sad face and turning that frown upside down. This was their first rebrand in 20 years, so it was a big shift for them.


“For IHOP, while the logo is overall cleaner and more modern, the red smile under the O and the P exudes a somewhat creepy vibe to me,” said Jen Korngut, an account coordinator at CooperKatz. “But as long as the logo is still recognizable to consumers, I think this kind of rebrand can be a smart rejuvenation tactic for long-standing companies.”


Jen wasn’t alone in finding the logo a little creepy – some went so far as to say that it reminded them of the Joker from the Batman series, while Fast Company noted: “IHOP’s New Logo Smiles At You! (Like A Deranged Clown).”


There are some brands that did a little better on the brand refresh front. One example is Kentucky Fried Chicken, which did away with using “KFC” as a part of its logo altogether in favor of spotlighting the good ol’ Colonel – a stalwart brand icon for the fast food chain since 1952.


Today’s KFC logo is simple, easy to recognize and easy to manipulate for various media. As our Senior Digital Strategist Adam Baliban says, “KFC did a finger lickin’ good job with their rebrand, bringing it back to its roots.”


What rebrands were your favorite (or least favorite) in 2015 – and who do you expect will roll out the biggest rebrands in 2016?

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