Power to the people: Publicizing the rebranding process.

Power to the people: Publicizing the rebranding process.

What do Subway, Uber and The Met all have in common? Here’s a hint: it’s not the $25 suggested price of admission. All three have revealed new brand identities that have been subject to the internet’s fieriest design critics (AKA anyone with a Twitter account). Change is always a hard pill to swallow, but even more so for consumers when a company decides to overhaul its branding overnight. This sudden change is instantly met with “What was wrong with the old one?” “They spent money on that?”, “Why did they choose that symbol; it has nothing to do with their service.” And that’s not even the worst.

Rebranding is a necessary strategy for evolving businesses, but it is a private process with the public kept out until the final unveiling. This shock amplifies the negative reactions and the backlash is to be expected in the more than ever transparent brand ecosystem. When a brand commits to having a social media presence, they open up a direct line of consumer feedback—the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly.

So what can they do to mitigate some of this backlash?

Well, Mozilla has figured it out: Open up the design process to the community. Last week the internet’s champion of the open web posted seven concepts and invited participation.

“Honestly, in today’s world, more than 50 percent of people usually say they hate new logos,” Tim Murray, Mozilla’s creative director, says. “We thought: Well, let’s give people a chance to participate earlier on, and get that feedback early.”

The team at Winsper commends Mozilla on this brave new practice and so we jumped in and offered our feedback. Here are our Art Directors’ takes on the concepts ranked top to bottom.

1. Protocol


Brilliant. We instantly understood that this was a software company for the people by the people. The reduced icon makes this identity flexible while retaining restraint. Some newer identities take flexibility too far and water down the brand’s essence. 

Our suggestion: Ditch the blue. It looks like a hybrid of FB and TW. Stick with red. And bring in standards for icons, our vote is to always use outline for a stronger, bolder presence.

2. Wireframe World


This is a close second. We love the slanted type mixed with the wireframe icon. This implies forward movement in the maker community and connecting the dots is a nice nod to problem solving. Where this loses us is in the complex patterns. The astrological idea is good, but needs refining.

Our suggestion: Simplify the patterns to look more like constellation maps.

3. Flik Flak


We love the “Mankind’s Internet Journey has only just begun” headline of this, but the building tower is too difficult to decipher without the step by step guide.

Our suggestion: Use the reduced “Moz” version because the iterations for the Maker Parties etc. are really fun. And building is fun!

4. The Connector


This makes a great pattern, but as a standalone logo it is too complicated and looks like the Olympics meets Google. Connection idea is on brand though.

Our suggestion: Continue using the patterns, but create a separate simplified icon to go over top. Maybe a diamond or circle with a chunky stroke and an “m’” inside.

5. The Impossible M


Too trendy. Will be outdated in a couple months.

6. The Open Button


“Could we find a current symbol or pictogram of ‘open’ and adapt it to our needs? There is one, and it’s around us almost every day…” Uhhh and that symbol is where? Very confused by this one. Might need more usability testing ;P

7. The Eye


We didn’t know Sauron shopped at Ikea. Additionally, these colors are reminiscent of tool companies like Stanley or DeWalt and too much of departure from Mozilla’s legacy branding.

If you want to join in on the fun, head on over to Mozilla's blog to participate. 

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Gillian Lynch  info@winsper.com