How These 20 American & British Brand Identity Designs Break Convention

Do you want to learn how to: a) set your brand apart from competition, b) improve awareness of your brand, c) represent brand commitment to the market, d) establish collaboration across all aspects of your brand’s identity, e) motivate your market to be loyal to your brand, and f) generate attention and active purchasers.

If yes, then continue reading.

Many factors contribute in attracting both potential and existing buyers such as price, packaging, sales, improving brand identity and so on. However there is one aspect of all branding activity that has the power to bring about a ‘major change’ for the brand itself and for its market – the logo. It’s only a chunk of your brand’s identity but it greatly assists in telling the story of your brand.

Changing your brand’s logo has a great impact on its: loyalty, preference, credibility and growth.

In 2015, many American and British brands have transformed their identities. Among these are those that repetitively evolved their logos and also ones who thought this year was the best time to tweak their image. However, the important thing about this change is that these brands “break convention”.

The makeovers of these brand identities via their logos serve as great case studies for small businesses, startups as well as designers. By the end of your reading journey, you will learn why brands change their logos; how their old/new logos differ; what impact did their new logo have on their existing image; and how will all this help you evolve your brand’s image.

American Brands

Seagate

An American technological company focusing on storing digital data, has transformed its logo from rigid to kinetic. In terms of color usage, switching from one shade of green to another has brought life to the design. Black and Grey are not the only colors one can associate with technology. In a press release, Seagate’s CEO, Steve Luczo said that the latest look of the brand is a strong representation of the commitment this company makes to aid consumers and businesses in realizing the potential of the idea of “living” logo and information. Logos belonging to tech-companies should be flexible and interactive, like in this case.

Round-up: simple yet dynamic.

Lesson: create a logo that connects the brand’s idea with its market. Use unconventional colors to stand-out

 

The Seagate living logo is a demonstration of our belief that data is alive and ever-growing. Seagate has partnered with World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Network and Wild China to highlight the importance of data to safeguard our natural legacy.

Posted by Seagate on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

 

 

Runkeeper

Unlike FitBit that is similar to a wrist-watch, Runkeeper is a fitness application that helps you track your activities. From the more obvious previous logo with a running man in a square, the design is now symbolic and peppy. The shoe lace making an “R” is sporty. The typeface is ultra-contemporary. The brand proves that mundane things can be converted to extraordinary designs.

Roundup: the pictograph is clever and à la mode.

Lesson: use the ordinary to make the extraordinary.

 

 

The Ritz Carlton

A company owning 87 luxury resorts and hotels in more than 25 countries, The Ritz Carlton is an icon of opulent tourism; and has begun to evolve its image. The group lately changed the typeface of its logo — it is bold and serif. The trend today is to become completely modern, but Ritz Hotel has used a clever strategy. This approach suggests that while Ritz Carlton wants to adapt to 21st century, it also wants to maintain their legacy and not completely give-in to modernism. The negative space between the components of the design convey the idea of large spaces and luxurious settings.

Round-up: the logo shows a commitment to adaption — suggests a forward approach.

Lesson: be explorative, and adapt to surroundings without forgetting the brand’s tradition.

 

The Ritz-Carlton Company, L.L.C. recently unveiled a newly designed brand logo and brand voice that will be implemented…

Posted by The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco on Saturday, September 12, 2015

 

 

Zebra Technologies

The company manufactures and trades in printing and tracking technologies, such as receipt and label encoders/printers and kiosk plus card printers. Considering the kind of business it does, the brand definitely needed an up-to-the-minute look. The zebra in their old logo was obnoxiously literal, swollen and unappealing— certainly not hip. The new pictorial is edgy, geometric and minimal. The font matches the slant lines of the zebra and the two look nice together. Good that they got rid of extra shapes surrounding the design. While many designs are found entrapped in a shape, this brand has escaped its boundary to welcome the space around it.

Round-up: a clean illustration of zebra and complementing typeface.

Lesson: don’t always constraint the logo design in shapes and outlines.

 

 

Penn State University

Penn State University of United States is a popular destination for students from around the globe. In a press release, they explained why they changed their logo, “The updated mark focuses on the head and face of the Nittany Lion Shrine in a more contemporary and engaging way, continuing its heritage and providing the same sense of stature as the sculpture.” The new logo is a stencil-like representation of the lion; the illustration is encapsulated in a shield. While the expression of the lion is depicted well, the shades of blue contradict the very image of the “King of jungle”. Lions are generally considered ferocious and strong, but here the animal looks tame. This is because the actual statue of the lion expresses innocence. Thus, Penn State broke the rules of using colors to depict the real characteristics of a living thing.

Round-up: true depiction of Nittany Lion.

Lesson: colors have meanings and mirror different feelings — study them before use.

 

 

UpWork

Two famous crowdsourcing platforms, Elance and Odesk merged to form Upwork. The new is up-beat and cheerful. While the “U” is written perfectly, the “P” looks like a symbol than a letter. The green echoes phrases, such as “good morning”, or “ready to work”. Characters of a text don’t have to be upright always.

Round-up: modern typeface with a feeling of freshness.

Lesson: fiddle around with the shape of a typeface; all characters don’t need to look the same.

 

 

StubHub

A digital marketplace, founded in 2000 by eBay, which offers sellers and buyers of entertainment tickets a platform to connect. The portal changed its logo to avail a trendy and flat look. The speech box remains the center of attraction, plus its shape is much better than before. Bridget Burton, Head of Creative and Brand Department said, “This logo update reflects StubHub’s evolution away from a purely transactional ticketing company”. Weren’t speech bubbles a 70’s thing? Not anymore.

Round-up: flexible in usage on different backgrounds.

Lesson: don’t ignore the beauty of speech bubbles.

 

San Francisco Giants fans had the chance to meet baseball legends, Vida Blue & J.T. Snow, at the StubHub tent this weekend.

Which professional athletes (past or present) would you love to meet?

Posted by StubHub on Sunday, September 13, 2015

 

 

The New School

All art lovers and design fanatics know about Parson’s The New School situated in New York. It is one of the best design, liberal art and social science schools of the world. The new identity of the university is made by Paula Scher. Pentagram’s website reads, “The typography embodies the progressive mission of The New School and represents a technological advancement in the art of type design.” They broke their own convention of being different — it works for them. You don’t have to be different to be unique.

Round-up: simple, flat and adaptable.

Lesson: following trends to create logos can also make the design unique.

 

A daring new identity for a fearless community of artists and scholars. Watch the official announcement at 6:30pm EDT on newschool.edu/live

Posted by The New School on Monday, March 30, 2015

 

 

HOBBY LOBBY

Hobby Lobby is all about arts and crafts, house decor and seasonal items, holidays and hobbies. The brand’s logo shift was not as popular as of any other well-known brand, but any positive change deserves attention. The old logo was super vintage, and the new one is a complete opposite. The orange and white contrast is exciting. While many avoid using colors that pin your eyes, this brand was brave enough to shock your eyes with that orange.

Round-up: bright, modern and modest

Lesson: really bright colors can make logos more prominent.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

Posted by Hobby Lobby on Thursday, August 13, 2015

 

 

Google

Who doesn’t know about this one? Google has been excessively in the news lately after they revealed multi-colored sans serif typeface as their logo. The brand is known for always playing around with their typeface, either with their Google Doodles or by actually changing the logo. No other brand changed their logo as much as Google has. Other brands like to stick to one decision, but Google likes to experiment.

Round-up: interesting, aesthetically unified and a ‘user’ friendly style.

Lesson: a logo can keep transforming — no harm in trying to perfect it.

 

We’ve changed a lot over the last 17 years, and today we’re changing things up again… g.co/evolve

Posted by Google on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

 

 

British Brands

Reebok

As sport-lovers and brand-devotees would know, Reebok specializes in athletic apparel and footwear. The company manipulated their logo to create relations with other people interested in sports, rather than only the influential athletes. The red motif is timeless, vibrant and smart. In its statement, Reebok told the media, “it is not a logo but a symbol — of change”, and of “lifestyle”. While sport brands aim to add forms that suggest speed and activity in their logo, Reebok has done the opposite, it’s static.

Round-up: compact motif and nothing speedy yet attractive.

Lesson: a logo doesn’t need to be literal, it can be open to meanings.

 

 

Freeview

A digital terrestrial TV service, found in 2002, in United Kingdom. Their press release stated, ” The Freeview logo and visual identity have been refreshed to reflect the platform’s evolving service and will be introduced across Freeview’s product portfolio and brand marketing.” The logo is interesting and is not bound within a shape. The subtle black to grey linear gradient on the typeface gives a matt metallic feel. Moreover, the vibrant multi-colored gradient zigzag stroke pops out. Who said gradient is out of the game?

Round-up: shape and text gradient is not over-powering.

Lesson: gradients are still interesting if used wisely.

 

 

Trainline

Trainline.com has been changed to simply Trainline and has also given itself a new identity. It is a British online ticket selling portal. The shortened name makes it easier to play around with text and create a striking and modern logo. They have used no illustration and have only worked with the text — the stylizing of small “t” is interestingly entertaining. The use of a single color is attractive. Some brands either add a lot to their brand or nothing at all. Trainline balanced things by cleverly using typeface to stand out.

Round-up: simple yet welcoming.

Lesson: a slight tweak to typeface can be attractive.

 

 

British Home Store

A famous chain of stores, originally from Britain, is also available in other parts of the world. This one brand reversed time, as in it went from modern to sort of vintage. It’s a good strategy to stand-out and be different from what others are doing. BHS went from sans serif to serif, only to look more elegant. Their choice of font in their previous logo did not appear as fashionable as this one. The monochrome effect suits the font that’s used.

Round-up: super-elegant and modern even with a serif font.

Lesson: serif typefaces are not obsolete; somehow they fit in every era.

 

 

Birmingham City Football Club

A club for football, founded in Birmingham (1875), redesigned their logo. It did not receive much appreciation since many thought that the logo looked more like a badge. However, it does look different than other sport club logos that are full of outlines, illustrations and sporty font. This club has surely deviated from the generally accepted style by not being loud, aggressive or active.

Round-up: simple outlines; not flashy at all.

Lesson: a logo should be distinctive from its counterparts.

 

 

 

Warwick University

Since 1965 this university in England specializing in research, is at the top in national rankings of UK universities. Their logo change proved an unpopular attempt according to some. Despite this, it does present the idea of “success”, “mountain”, “peak”. The gradient filled “W” looks unusual yet acceptable.

Round-Up: unique and signifying a feeling of fulfilment and triumph.

Lesson: as long as the logo conveys brand’s message, it’s good to go.

 

 

Royal Albert Hall

This is a dome shaped gallery in South Kensington and has space for more than 5,000 seats. It can be used for meetings, ceremonies, concerts, and exhibitions. BrandPie Project, the makers of Royal Albert Hall’s new logo, said that it “celebrates the Hall’s iconic shape and is extremely versatile and effective…” The new version is artistic and layered with translucent analogous colored shapes. The typeface mirrors the actual appearance of the Hall — grand and classic. Such places are not generally portrayed this way in logos.

Round-up: overlay color palette and abstract depiction of Hall.

Lesson: layering in logo can depict evolution and versatility of brand.

 

We’ve had a makeover! Meet our new logo, which celebrates the distinctive shape of our much loved building.

Posted by Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

 

 

Wiggle

Online cycling retailing company, found in Portsmouth (1999), serves customers in more than 100 nations. Brand Opus designed their logo and their page reads, “Symbols speak louder than words, so we have introduced a mark that evokes the moment of personal sporting achievement.” The symbol looks like a head and raised arms signifying victory; or is a bike’s handle. White, orange and black suggest goodness, health and strength, respectively. The Wiggle logo has wiggly lines that are usually avoided by other brands.

Round-Up: figurative and youthful.

Lesson: typeface doesn’t need to be straight, it can be wiggly.

 

Ahead of the Ride London GP tomorrow, the Wiggle Honda riders came to join us on our stand at the Ride London Expo. Join…

Posted by Wiggle on Friday, July 31, 2015

 

 

British Chamber of Commerce Turkey

It is one of the oldest British Chambers overseas and serves British organizations to reserve export and business opportunities in Turkey. It links UK and Turkish firms. The Chamber changed its logo this year and as compared to the old one, the transformed logo is stylish, minimal and rotary. For such an organization, the logo is not over-powering and neither authoritarian. The colors represent Britain.

Round-up: current and memorable.

Lesson: serious brands can have a humble image.

 

Meet the new BCCT logo!

We are very excited to announce that BCCT has chosen a new logo, which we will progressively transition to during this month. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Posted by The British Chamber of Commerce of Turkey on Thursday, May 7, 2015

 

 

UK Hand Knitting Association

UKHKA is a non-profit body, committed to marketing hand-knitting skill and yarn craft in the United Kingdom. They changed their logo in 2015 and its fans appreciate the new image. From an obvious illustration of a weave-like polychrome pattern, they now have depicted the British flag and yarn thread which give a block-print look. They have stepped forward to combine the flag and threads in a friendly way.

Round-up: a simple and sociable image.

Lesson: the logo must mirror the brand.

 

 

Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

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