3 Essential Lessons from the Uber, Airbnb, and Grab Logo Rebrands

Rebranding signals that a brand has reached a new stage in its growth. Its success is often critical for the future of the business, but many companies have fumbled the project and ended up confusing their customers instead. Recently, three modern (but already iconic) brands—Uber , Airbnb, and Grab—redesigned their logos, with varying degrees of success.

Uber and Grab connects people to “gig-economy” transport services, while Airbnb does the same for accommodations. All three are easily accessed via mobile app. As their company logo lives on the homescreens of millions of users, their logo is an even more important marketing vehicle, fostering an even closer personal connection between user and brand.

Understand the Consumer’s Connections

Once a logo is released into the wild, it’s no longer the brand’s. People inject their ideas and feelings into the design that represents the company. 

When Uber released its new logo, customers who depended on the service for their daily commute suddenly encountered a logo that was alien and unfamiliar. The sleek “U” logo was transformed into an unrecognizable geometric pattern. Worse, the new design was more difficult to pick out from the screen. Critics playfully tweeted that intoxicated people that need a ride home could never find the app now.

Be Aware of the Lowest Common Denominator

Airbnb wanted to create a new visual signature across all its marketing materials, and so their designers developed a symbol that was easily recognizable and effortless to draw.

Unfortunately, upon first sight, internet users declared it looked remarkably similar to an unmentionable female body part—an unfortunate connotation that became a joke Airbnb would never be able to shake off.

Communicate the New Brand Positioning Clearly

Proper communication with the consumer is the key to rebranding. In Uber’s case, the company wanted to convey its core as a transportation network by using geometric shapes in its new logo. Unfortunately, the execution was too abstract. In addition, the regrettable redesign was completely done in-house, led by self-taught individuals who might have benefitted from the advice of a mentor.

On the other hand, Grab wanted to convey the feeling of freedom, infinite possibilities, and the new journey the company is embarking with its customers. The new dual line design that was inspired by roadways transmitted that message clearly. It was also a very clear evolution of the transport service’s previous logos. It was simple, recognizable, and effective.

Rebranding is a difficult undertaking but with foresight and experience, it can launch the brand into new exciting decisions.

Do you have a favorite logo rebrand? Tell us in the comments.