“A tech startup turned global mobility platform in eight short years deserves a holistic brand system that’s instantly recognizable, works around the world, and is efficient to execute.” —Uber
After years of Uber’s hostile corporate culture that pegged CEO Travis Kalanick as a toxic leader, Uber is finally ready to start building a fresh, new image. Along with it’s replacement of Kalanick back in 2017 with Expedia’s previous CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber has released a new set of ads featuring it’s brand new logo. Theyre ushering in a new, drama-free era that focuses on the ride-sharing application for the services it provides, not the toxicity of its corporate culture.
Though this is Uber’s second major brand overhaul in less than three years, the rebranding this time around was led by global brand consultancy Wolff Olins. We’re able to see a much more approachable Uber that’s not riddled with the Silicon Valley bravado that has been associated with the brand. The result is an Uber-for-all built on a set of new ideals: move forward and forget the past, safety, accessibility, and global reach.
So What Changed?
01. LOGO: The most noticeable change is the overhaul of what used to be an edgier, imposing, all-caps logo. Wolff Olins developed a friendlier, rounder wordmark that would be recognized worldwide. The logo still has the word “Uber,” but with a capital U and everything else lower case. The result is a wordmark that is more legible and spelling mistake-proof, with the difference between the uppercase and lowercase letters keeping the words legible even when misspelled.
One thing we heard was, a lot of drivers and riders didn’t understand what the symbol was,” says Forest Young, Creative Director at Wolff & Olins. “You’d get picked up by the car and it would say Uber, but it wouldn’t marry with the app. We tried to kick out all micro moments where trust was eroded. The same thing you see on your app is on pickup signs and windshields. All these things become simpatico, rather than having a new mark and spending a lot of money to create awareness.
02. TYPOGRAPHY: Dubbed Uber Move, the team began digging into historical typefaces of transportation, like the U.S.’s own Highway Gothic and the German traffic typeface DIN. These typefaces had a functional quirkiness that the team wanted; they were unique, but designed to be legible at high speeds in transit. “If we stayed true to the place of transportation, it would save us from going to the sea of things that are tech brands today, geometric sans, flat illustration, lifestyle imagery. All the par for the course,” says Young. “All these [transportation] typefaces are enduring because they have human factors at the heart of them.”
o3. Composition & Iconography: The composition system is elegant in its sheer simplicity of use — plus, it creates a subtle “U” wherever it appears. By defining the grid based on the logo the system stays flexible and beyond easy to apply.
Uber’s new set of icons are inspired by global transportation iconography and are drawn from the same shapes as their typeface, creating a seamless system from text to icon.The arrow is part of their iconography, but can be used in copy as a shorthand between destinations, whether geographic or states of mind.