For the last couple weeks, designers around the world have been collectively scratching their heads wondering what the heck was going on with that inscrutably redesigned Uber logo.
Well, I’ll tell you what’s going on. It’s turned the wrong way.
Yet again, it needs to be “taken for a spin.” Literally.
1. First off, rotating the logo ninety degrees clockwise transforms it back into a letter U which helps reinforce the brand’s name. That’s an improvement right there. Besides which, rotating the logo means a less drastic change from the old logo, shown below.
2. The rotation updates and improves upon the message while not causing such a visual disruption from the old logo. The redesign is now a progression rather than a do-over — an evolution rather than a jarring shift. The new logo not only still contains the U, it also now suggests the additional meaning Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was seeking. That is, the concept of “the bit.” As far as I can tell, from a design perspective, “the bit” is simply a square that contains information. Since “the bit” is an abstract concept (at least the way they’re using it), whether it’s depicted with a horizontal line or a vertical one doesn’t intrinsically matter.
“But Steve,” you’re thinking, “clearly the line connecting the bit to the perimeter of the circle is meant to represent the path the passenger takes going from point A to point B, so the horizontal line makes more sense than a vertical line.” Again, the answer is: Well, not really. Not when we consider the new logo in the context of Uber’s new Partner (Driver) App logo, shown below.”
Note that in this case, the lines connecting the bit to the perimeter of the hexagon travel vertically rather than horizontally. 3. So the rotated Uber logo would therefore not only provide greater visual consistency across the brand, it would also provide greater consistency of meaning, as both logos would now communicate the idea of going from one place to another along the same up-down path.
The Driver App logo currently implies the driver travels to a destination, stops, then continues to pick up the next passenger. Similarly, the rotated Uber logo would communicate that the passenger travels to his or her destination and stops.
This makes even more sense when you consider that both the driver and passenger begin the journey at the same place whereas the current designs suggest they begin their journeys at different locations.
4. Lastly, the rotated logo even works best in context with this quotation from Kalanick:
“Today we aspire to make transportation as reliable as running water.”
Because, of course, water runs — not sideways — but downhill.
So there it is. I apologize for not including more jokes in this diatribe but brand identity is a very serious matter not to be taken lightly. Poop Emoji and Mens Room Urinals on the other hand…