Who wore it better? The branding trends of 2013

Alex Bigman

Another year gone by, another opportunity to examine the branding trends that surfaced — and, more fun, to point out who re-branded gracefully and who botched it.

We have picked out 10 salient trends from 2013, ranging from location branding to adaptive design, and put together a series of “who wore it better” comparisons. (Yes, we’re taking a page from the world of tabloid editorial. Cut us some slack — it’s the holidays).

Have a look, but please don’t take our opinion as gospel. Let us know in the comments who you thought wore it better!

Folding the ribbon


Who wore the ribbon better? We’ll take bing‘s edgy angularity over Autodesk‘s gradients, thank you.

Ditching the seal


Who went post-seal better? We think both Harvard University Press and the Royal Canadian Mint found pretty cool alternatives to their previously stodgy emblems, but the Canadian Mint’s coin motif looks a little too much like an eye exam. Harvard wears it better.

Gaining wing


Who wore the single wing better? A step forward for both airlines, but the American Airlines‘ wing/bird is more distinctive than Iberia’s bisected trapezoid.

Finding your place


Who wore the location identity mark better? Both Colorado‘s and South Australia‘s new logos received negative backlash. We’re an Australian-born company so… no comment.



Who reverted to a previous logo style better? Clothing retailer JC Penny and fast food chain Arby’s both introduced new logos recently, only to revert to previous styles after receiving negative reactions. Once the cloud of embarrassment clears, we think Arby’s is going to wear it better. At least it’s still something new… kind of.

Touching up the typeface


Who wore the subtle typeface alteration better? Instagram needed this change: a typeface of its own, as opposed to the font it was previously using. Yahoo! probably needed a change too. What it did not need was a month-long campaign which made the end result seem anticlimactic.

Learning to adapt


Who wore the adaptive design better? Both the Whitney Museum of American Art and Fluidity Design Consultants adopted logos that do not have fixed forms, but rather can assume innumerable orientations depending on context. They’re both pretty cool in situ, but at this point the unobtrusive readability of the Whitney’s mark seems to trump the hacked-up illegibility of Fluidity’s.

Dressing hipster


Who wore the hipster seal better? At this point, the pre-war styled monochrome seal has become a stalwart of hipster culture. Both Chocolats Favoris‘ and F. Ménard‘s trendy new logos are improvements upon their overly complex predecessors, but the Québécois butcher F. Ménard wears it better.

Bar hopping


Who wore the between-bars look better? The minimalist, vertical bar look is serving both Opera Australia and Oklahoma Contemporary very well. Opera Australia’s mark is more conceptually interesting, though, and allows for some intriguing implementations across media.

Spinning the color wheel


Who brightened up better? Motorola, now “a Google company,” wears the color wheel well. Qapital made a bold move, but looks perhaps a little too festive and a little too illegible for a financial services company.

Well, what do you think? Who wore these 2013 trends best?

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