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Being in the branding business makes us at Burst keenly aware of what's going on in the marketing world around us - and it seems like rebranding is all the rage among established companies as of late. Here are a few big identities that have landed lately and our thoughts.

1. Instagram

While not strictly a rebrand (although they did revamp the "Instagram" wordmark some time ago), Instagram's recent logo and user interface revamp have drastically changed the face of their major user touchpoints. (Figuratively and literally too - that app's not gonna start itself unless you poke it!) We've seen major backlash all over the internet, or as we like to call it, "Suddenly Everyone's a Designer Syndrome". Frankly, we don't hate it. Their old, highly literal logo was looking a bit old-school, web 2.0. Although their new system is overtly simple ("look, I can use gradients in photoshop too!") they've applied it in an elegant way that extends to their other products well and in the case of their new minimalist, black and white interface, really lets the app's photos shine. And let's face it - the logo's going to catch on. The only reason anyone liked their old logo was that it was, well, their logo - and with time the millions of users that click it several times a day will come to see their new logo as Instagram.

(And no, we didn't know they actually had other products either.)

2. Coca-Cola

No, we're not here to talk about the 1985 disaster (or really, long-con marketing success) that was New Coke. Coca-Cola recently debuted this new packaging system called "One Brand", hitting store shelves in 2016 and 2017. It features a big red dot, and... well, that's about it. We're not crazy about it. While it's exemplary of an positive trend towards minimalism in brands, it almost feels like lazy design work. It looks pretty tasteful on their bottles, but it really starts breaking down on their cans. When a red dot starts taking up most of your package real estate, how do you differentiate between product lines? It sounds like their goal was to unify a brand that had grown apart - a valiant cause no doubt, but in execution a strategy that, underneath all the flowery design justification, just confuses users at the ground level.

3. Uber

If you're in Vancouver like us, you're in one of two camps. You've either never heard of Uber, or you desperately wish Vancouver would allow it already! The popular on-demand carsharing service represents the face of "the sharing economy", the modern app-based economy that's slowly taking over the world. Their new face, including app icon, logo, and revised identity standards, has drawn flak in vast amounts. It's a clever move to broaden their brand beyond luxury car services and appeal to that democratic side of app-based commerce, but as with a lot of rebrands it's criticized for being insincere and arbitrary. Its patterns look nice, but their underlying concept of "the bit" feels a little "bit" forced. 

4. The Met Museum

Triangles! And serifs. And kerning. Wolff Olins' new identity for this staple New York museum features all these with a wildly vivid colour palette that feels "kind-of-but-not-really-museum-like". This one's a tough cookie to crack, but instinctively, we just don't like the heavy-handed mark. We'll let you come to a conclusion on this one - it's a complex system no doubt.

5. Google

We're not going to beat around the bush here. We love this identity. Others haven't been so kind, though, and it seems this one's drawn as much derision as it has affection. The iconic web company revamped their iconic logo in 2015, bringing with it a whole slew of "material-design" oriented brand positioning and design rationale. The rationale is all quite pleasant, well reasoned, and non-jargony, but we think that the whole identity on a whole is approachable. Most who dislike it basically dislike it for the fact that it's not their old, quirky, iconic but incredibly dated logo. It really begins to live in motion with their fun dots and colours that dance around the screen to form their logo and variations of it. With the direction that their design's headed as of late, it feels like an appropriate move to bring the tech giant's identity into the 21st century.

Bonus! Budweiser

In honour of the 2016 presidential race, beer giant Budweiser has renamed their beer America. No, seriously, they actually intend to sell these cans up until the election in November. It's a little janky, but hilarious. Maybe it's got something to do with "making America great again"?

Posted by Jon on May 12, 2016.

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