7 logo redesigns that failed

Logos are the visual representation of a brand, and without question, a well-designed logo can create a lasting impression. For various reasons such as competing with a competitor or to refresh a stale design, brands opt to update their existing logo.

However, not all logo redesigns hit the mark. In fact, some have become infamous for all the wrong reasons. In this post, we'll take a look at some of the most famous logo redesigns that left audiences scratching their heads, brands regretting their decisions and, in many cases, reverting their logo designs back to the original designs, with only negative publicity to show for the money they paid and the work undertaken.

Gap logo redesign 2010

Gap

Probably the most infamous logo redesign was the one undertaken by Gap in 2010. In an attempted modernise, Gap redesigned its iconic blue box logo, but immediately received severe backlash from customers who preferred the classic logo design.

The company was forced to reverted its new design choice after only one week.

The 2010 Gap logo redesign failed because it deviated too far from the established brand identity without providing a compelling reason for the change. This highlights the importance of considering the emotional attachment customers have and the potential risks associated with abrupt redesigns.

Tropican logo redesign 2009

Tropicana

In 2009, Tropicana's redesign their logo and branding with the aim of creating a more modern look, but customers were confused and reported difficulty in quickly identifying Tropicana products on store shelves. This, and the negative response to the redesign, had a tangible impact on Tropicana's sales. In just two months after the launch of the new packaging, sales reportedly dropped by about 20%, prompting the company to revert to the original design.

The Tropicana logo redesign is a classic example of the risks associated with making significant changes to a well-established brand's visual identity. The incident underscores the importance of understanding and preserving the elements that contribute to a brand's identity and consumer connection.

Uber logo redesign 2016

Uber

Uber's logo redesign in 2016 aimed to reflect the company's evolution from a simple ride-sharing platform to a multifaceted transportation and logistics giant. However, the redesign faced mixed reactions and garnered both praise and criticism. The new design replaced the recognisable "U" with a simplified geometric shape that was meant to convey Uber's diverse range of services beyond just ride-sharing.

Some users found the new design confusing, and the absence of the "U" led to a loss of immediate brand recognition. In response to user feedback, Uber made some adjustments to the logo design and added the word "Uber" beneath the symbol in the app, providing clarity and maintaining a connection to the brand's name.

Ultimately, this design lasted only two years with the icon being dropped altogether when the company redesigned the logo in 2018.

My Space logo redesign 2010

MySpace

In 2010, as popularity switched from MySpace to new social platforms, Facebook and Twitter, the company decided to redesign their logo in an attempt to revitalise the declining platform. The redesign was a radical departure from its earlier versions and aimed to reposition MySpace as a hub for entertainment, particularly music and content sharing. Despite the efforts to stay relevant, MySpace's 2010 redesign did not succeed in bringing back its former user base. By this time, Facebook had become the dominant player in the social media landscape, and MySpace struggled to compete.

The redesign was dropped two years later and a revised version of the pre-2010 design was introduced, which remains in place, more than 10 years later.

Pepsi 2008 logo redesign

Pepsi

In 2008, Pepsi launched a new logo as part of a broader brand refresh. While the design was meant to be dynamic, many consumers found it uninspiring and questioned the need for change. The design marked a significant departure from the brand's traditional look which had been consistent since the red, white and blue colour palette was introduced and the globe motif was introduced in the early 70's.

The reception to the redesign was mixed. While some appreciated the contemporary and dynamic look, others criticised it for straying too far from the brand's iconic identity. Some consumers also found it difficult to associate the new design with the traditional Pepsi logo. The redesign was part of a broader marketing campaign that included changes to packaging, advertising, and a new slogan which was estimated to cost Pepsi around $1.2 billion.

As with other logo redesigns in this list, the controversial Pepsi logo is being replaced with a new design in 2024, which, unsurprisingly, will be closer to the pre-2008 design approach.

J.C. Penney logo redesign 2011

J.C. Penney

In 2011, J.C. Penney attempted a major rebranding effort, including a new logo. The logo at the time had been in place, with only minor updates, since the late 60's. The minimalist design failed to capture the essence of the brand, and modernise the struggling department store chain. The new logo faced immediate backlash from J.C. Penney's customer base. Many loyal customers were attached to the traditional image of the company, and the abrupt change was perceived as disconnecting from the brand's heritage.

The negative reception to the logo redesign was part of a larger set of challenges faced by J.C. Penney during that period, which included an overhaul of the company's pricing strategy and in-store experience. Ultimately, they all contributed to declining sales and customer dissatisfaction.

A further redesign was rolled out by J.C. Penny the following year before reverting  back to its traditional logo in 2013. The return to the familiar design was an acknowledgment of the importance of maintaining a connection with the brand's heritage and loyal customer base.

Kraft 2009 logo redesigns

Kraft

The Kraft logo had been mostly consistent from the 60's until 2009, when it was decided that their corporate logo (not the consumer brand) needed a facelift to help differentiate the two facets of the business. The resulting design was released in February 2009 and was received negatively. The "Kraft" name was now buried within a jumble of other elements that didn't seem to fit with the brand.

Five months later, un July of the same year, a redesign of the redesign was introduced which didn't fair any better.

Ultimately, in 2012, the Kraft logo reverted back to the original bold design, save for an update to the wordmark.

Conclusion

While logo redesigns are intended to refresh and modernise a brand or steer it to a particular audience, the road to success is often paved with careful consideration and understanding of the brand's identity. These examples serve as cautionary tales, reminding us that even the most well-established brands can stumble when it comes to redesigning their visual identity.

It is worth noting that most of the logo redesigns in this list occurred during the initial boom of social media, and this would have played a significant role in spreading any negative feedback. At the time, there were many instances of alternative versions being created and proposed by designs and creatives, to illustrate that other approaches would, perhaps, have been better. During the late 2000's and through 2010s companies such as Airbnb, the City of Melbourne, The university of California, Hershey's and Yahoo!, to name a few, all introduced updated logo designs that stirred up negativity and social media backlash.

And who can forget the issues the world had with the London 2012 logo design?

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