Who wore it best? The great rebranding trends of 2015

Kelsey Bryant

2015 was another year for big company rebrands. As customers’ primary experiences with brands shift online, designers are prioritizing the digital experience first. That means rethinking scaleability, color choices, flexibility and how the company’s identity will work hand-in-hand with the web.

Here we’ve broken down some of our favorite 2015 rebranding trends. Let us know which one is your favorite in the comments!

1. Adaptability

medium
Medium’s versatile logo offers a spectrum of possibilities.

Adaptability was one of the hottest trends this year (and we’re sure to see plenty more in 2016). As companies begin to focus more on highlighting their communities and showcasing members’ individual personalities (a la last year’s Airbnb redesign), logos and brands will become more dynamic to support them. This also adds more flexibility to collateral and company swag.

sonos
Sonos’ “flexible identity” by Bruce Mau Design.

Sonos may be one of the best visual examples this year, revitalizing their basic branding with a three-part identity system of a wordmark, gradient and an opt-art sunburst sure to grab attention – and offer plenty of creative possibilities.

The bright colors and flexible patterning work well to celebrate the diversity of music with a richer, more vibrant feel.

iammymtv
Screenshot via Fast Co

MTV International made a big shift this year by integrating the web into TV programming with their new slogan “I am my MTV”. Now MTV fans and musical artists can submit their own user generated content via Instagram and Vimeo for the chance to be featured on one of MTV’s shows.

The secondary brand, dubbed MTV Bump, is faster, bolder, louder and way more experimental with a 90s-style panache of colors, emoji and 3D graphics.

2. Geometric sans-serif typefaces

serif
Dropbox and Facebook (among many others) switched to circular lettering in 2015.

This was the year that wordmarks rounded out. Everyone from Facebook to Google to Dropbox played favorites with this geometric style, ditching the condensed “tech” look in an effort to create a more personable, friendly-looking logo.

google-logo
Google’s new identity set offers more consistency and scaleability.

But appearances weren’t the only purpose of this shift. These typefaces are more scaleable and breathe better, even in constrained spaces. In cases like the Google “G”, the roundness of the letter lends itself perfectly to squares – ideal for avatars, favicons or profile photos in social media.

3. More personality

Visit Dublin’s new branding and ads (via Under Consideration)

Handcrafted lettering has been hot for a while now, but this year the tourism industry took it to the next level. Typography saw a renaissance with playful, approachable logos that let each location’s personality shine through.

Tourism
British Columbia got earthy; Ohio clarified their logo; Visit Dublin is a “breath of fresh air.”

Across the globe, tourism has been working hard to visually distinguish themselves from other destinations. British Columbia chose an earthier style inline with their outdoorsy offerings. Ohio dropped the confusing “O-hi-o” for a clearer, more personable state outline. Visit Dublin balances the traditional signage of the city with a breezier tagline and soaring birds to represent their easy access to the outdoors.

4. Cleaning up

absolut
Absolut shortened their bottles’ scripted copy and added a bold “A” to the back.

Minimalism (stemming from the ongoing flat design trend) continued to be a major influence for rebranding this year. Designers moved away from chunkier fonts in favor of looser kerning and thinner letterforms. Logos were pared down, removing excess icons and focusing more on clear wordmarks.

minimalism
From left to right: WCS shrinks down with ease; IHOP’s updates with a smile; Coors Light cleans up.

It was a revolution of cleanliness over chaos with more straight lines, less clutter and even flatter imagery. Details that could complicate legibility or add distraction were replaced with roomy white space to draw focus to the brand name. Typography was sized up for better balance.

Similar to geometric fonts, these changes are especially beneficial when the logo is shrunken down – no detail will be lost on web or mobile.

Want to look back at years past? Check out the rebranding trends from 2014 and 2013.

Featured image via Coors Light.

The author

Kelsey Bryant
Kelsey Bryant

Kelsey is 99designs' Designer Marketing Manager. Born and raised in a small town in Connecticut, she moved to San Francisco in 2009 with a degree in Strategic Communications from Elon University. When she’s not working with the designer community, you can find her exploring the city, taking weekend road trips, and soaking up that California sunshine.

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