Our Favorite Recent Rebrands

Our Favorite Recent Rebrands

Rebranding is an important process that any business will have to consider at some point in their development. The landscape is always changing. As new technology, products and services come in, the old ways of doing things become outmoded or obsolete. A good brand should be flexible enough to survive those changes, but sometimes there is simply a need to reestablish a brand’s value in the marketplace.

Here are some of our favorite rebrands in technology from 2016 and 2017:

mozilla logo rebrand

01. Mozilla

Since its creation in 1998, Mozilla has promoted free and open-source software and a collaborative web community. Mozilla’s challenge was to express this ethos within a new mark and brand identity. The protocol style of the new mark (shown above) is an acknowledgement of Mozilla’s core values and their origins in the early web. It doesn’t feel forced and reads very well, even with the protocol slash marks. The idea fits Mozilla’s brand and values just perfectly.

“Our brand identity – our logo, our voice, our design – is an important signal of what we believe in and what we do. And because we are so committed to ensuring the Internet is a healthy global public resource, open and accessible to everyone, we’ve designed the language of the Internet into our brand identity.”

Typotheque created a custom font, named Zilla Slab, specifically for the new rebrand. It has a humanist feel that is very comfortable to code with. The angled terminals on the “a” and “z” improve readability and fit very cleanly with the angle of the protocol slashes. By sharing this font, Mozilla has stayed true to its commitment to open source web resources and design. Mozilla remains one of the web’s most respected companies, and it shows here.

mozilla slab font

 ibm watson rebrand

02. Watson

Watson is IBM’s cognitive AI system. It was first used to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy. In 2011 it defeated all human challengers including previous 2004 champion Ken Jennings. But its purpose was not merely entertainment. Watson was designed to analyze and interpret data with a more human-like thought process. In 2013 Watson was used to help doctors make treatment decisions in lung cancer patients. The new mark appears clean, expressive, friendly, and responsive. The old logo now feels very cluttered by comparison. The animated logo looks as if it can speak to you. But even in its static form it very much takes on a life of its own. The Watson mark is inspired by the “Smarter Planet” logo (below) and retains much of the visual language.

ibm smarter planet logo
Watson has just about everything you would want in an AI. It almost looks like it is speaking to you on its own. Let’s just hope it doesn’t start singing “Daisy Bell.”


kodak logo rebrand

03. Kodak

Kodak’s new branding is a great example of modernizing an old style and bringing it back to life. After multiple rebrands, a logo can sometimes begin to seem distant from the values that shaped the company it represents. Think of “New Coke” as an example of losing focus on the strength of a venerable brand. Kodak has had to keep up with emerging image technologies without abandoning everything that had made it a great photography company in the first place.

The new Kodak logo (to the right) strikes a nice balance between the old and the new. The familiar shutter icon has returned with some minor color and shape adjustments, and a fresh take on the typography. It would almost seem a rule of thumb to never use vertical type for a logo, but it works very well here. This mark comes off as much stronger and more memorable than their 2006 rebranding attempt (at left).
Kodak still produces traditional film for the movie industry and is re-releasing some 35mm rolls, such as Ektachrome for point-and-shoot or SLR camera users. Traditionalists and hobbyists alike will appreciate this direction. Vinyl records have made a big comeback over the last few years. Could film see a similar rebirth?
samwas, an author on the DesignUps Nashville Design Blog

About the Author

Sam's attention to detail and insight into the design process produces great clarity. He graduated from Watkins College of Design and has been an integral part of the DesignUps team ever since. When he's not putting pixels in their perfect spot he may he may be working on perfecting his craft of fire twirling.