New Uber Logo: In Silicon Valley status quo is never a good option

Sometimes things change for the sake of, well, change. And change alone.

It’s not standard practice for us, especially here in Silicon Valley, to embrace the status quo as acceptable. After all, we’re changing the world. Right?

Such could very well be the case with the new Uber app logo. It’s unquestionably a dud. I like Uber, and use the ride-sharing service frequently, and obviously a new look to the company’s brand won’t change that, but, this screams change for change’s sake, rational thought be damned.

Uber logo before:

Old Uber App logo

Uber logo after:

New Uber logo - what on earth?

Much has been written already about the new Uber logo, and pretty much all of it rings true.

1. The new logo looks non-descript

Finding the Uber app — on both Android and iOS — used to be a breeze. I would just look for the “U” and Bob’s your uncle. Little thought was required. The process was seemingly executed by my sub-conscious. I could even carry on a conversation while launching Uber!

Now, the Uber app gets lots in a sea of anonymity. Pity that.

I should note that the new app logo is part of a larger re-branding project at Uber, much of what is quite effective.

2. It feels like a Marketing-project driven

No doubt the marketing team at Uber led the charge for the new design. Yet, that shouldn’t mean it was an internal bruhaha. The new logo feels as if end-users were never canvased, and never provided feedback to the team on whether or not the look made the Uber experience better or worse — or, at least, if this sort of closed loop communication did in fact make it back internally, it seems as if blinders were on.

3. Because: Status Quo never feels like the right option

And this is, in my estimation, the key point.

When you have a team of marketers, and branding experts, and you pay them, and set goals, don’t be surprised if they make changes. They’re hired guns, and they will do what they think is right; otherwise why have the team around in the first place?

We can’t stand still! Let’s shake things up! A new logo! Yes! Bring your Surface! Let’s hammer this thing out at Philz!

Google is the best living proof of this idea that people and teams need to continually come up with new ideas — even if the existing state of affairs are very well and fine. The very concept of the company seems to be rejection of the usual, the accepted. So we get crazy, annoying things from time-to-time: a feature disappears unexpectedly in Android Wear; font sizes in Gmail are inexplicably so tiny that only a millennial engineer can read them (this thankfully was later fixed); Google Glass almost makes it to market. I still love Google, but there’s an omnipresent feeling that the engineers and marketing are forever tinkering, and often on the wrong things.

And let’s face it, just because Uber has a new look and feel, doesn’t mean it and CEO Travis Kalanick won’t receive its daily kick in the balls from their friends at Pando.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear