In recent times we’ve seen a host of visual refreshments from organisations and companies looking to bring their identity up-to-date. With mobile devices becoming more accessible and a common place to interact with customers, design is moving with it. Often with a new logo or icons suited to the ever increasing breadth of media it will be displayed on. All have the same aim, fighting for prominence against the wash of app icons. Think about one of the newest mobile devices, the smart watch, where a brand needs to be recognised at a minute scale.
With this in mind you may be thinking of doing the same, so inspired by the recent news of a certain national telecoms company, I’ve decided to take a little look at how some brands have ben refreshed in recent times.
I wanted to start with BT purely because it was the trigger that fired these thoughts from my brain. You may not know about this as it was only submitted in September and not due to be rolled out, if at all, until next year, but BT are looking to do their first logo change in 13 years. To tell this story though, its worth starting at… well the start, although BT’s story begins in the 60’s, as an identity it all began in 1980.
1980, newly named British Telcom begins trading using the elegant ’T’ symbol below, designed to represent a telegraph pole. This was used until 1991 where the company went for a rebrand. I feel, as with many trends in life, this has a what goes around comes around feel to it. The flat design with simple shapes actually lend this icon to modern, mobile-based design quite well.
In 1991 British Telecoms became BT, they also ditched the ’T’ symbol in favour of a blue and red piper, designed to represent the empowerment of the consumer. However not everyone got that, in part for the fact the re-brand cost £50m, but also some who perceived the piper as summoning people to the sound of the phone ringing as pretentious and BT ‘blowing its own trumpet’. Others went for the clam-shaped hands, giant chopsticks or the fact he’s enjoying a yard of ale.
Surprisingly though the piper carried on playing for 12 years until 2003 when BT’s logo toke on the form of that we know today. The symbol comprised of coloured discs, designed to represent a connected world and to reflect the broader world of communications, in tune with a multi media age, and one where people using trumpets to communicate is a thing of the past.
And so, 13 years on in 2016 BT have submitted a new logo with a view to change in the new year. Although not confirmed this could be another move to keep with the moving times, in particular the mobile age. The new logo as with so many others recently has moved away from skeuomorphic design in favour of a flatter, 2D look. So looking back to 1980 when the first BT logo contained letters inside a circle, 36 years later their brand is set to be… you guessed it, letters in a circle.
As promised though its not all BT so I’ve compiled a few other recent visual refreshments which, you never know, may inspire you to do the same.
Netflix has made a few changes in recent times, firstly they moved from the skeuomorphic titling on a red background to a flatter design, opting for a white background and a brighter red. This was also used as their icon but on a grey background. However earlier this year they moved towards a more ‘mobile-centric’ icon design, returning to a skeuomorphic design but only using the ’N’ on a black background to create a bold contrast with depth to help it stand out against its neighbours.
Having had the same logo (although often tweaked) for over 16 years google recently decided they too should keep up with the times and opted for a flat design and sans serif font. In fact this font was created by Google and is mention worthy because it too was designed for the mobile age. The glyphs allow themselves to be scaled very small and still be legible making it perfect for those smaller screen sizes.
The Premier League emblem has gone through a regular evolution since its inception in 1993. The first change in 2001 only included a few minor changes such as colour changes and change from ‘Premier League’ to ‘Premiership’, but also the addition of its first sponsor, Barclaycard, which also dictated its new shape. The badge changed again in 2004 and incorporated Barclays corporate colour and eagle. The next evolution came in 2008 where the update here focused on the iconic lion taking on a new modern and stylish look, also with a stronger emphasis on the Premier League’s own corporate colour. And so in 2016 we come to the latest update of the logo. This stemmed from a deeper desire to move away from the title sponsorship model and to focus on communicating a more player, club and fan centred community. The move away from Barclay’s sponsorship opened up an opportunity for the brand to change without restriction, and the guys at the DesignStudio really did this justice by creating a playful icon accompanied by a bright, modern identity designed for the mobile and digital age. Certainly a big move from their traditionally corporate image.
So by now I’m sure you get the picture, big brands all over the world are updating to meet the media it’s customers uses to interact with their business. So I’ll leave you with a few more examples… and of course our email address in case you’ve been inspired for a refresh of your own, firstname.lastname@example.org
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