“From Pixels to People”. Uber’s rebranding thrilling ride
“In just 6 years, Uber has become integral to the way people in cities around the world get from where they are to where they want to be” writes Ethan Eismann, the leader of the design teams defining the next generation of transportation at Uber. “I’ve been here for a little over a year, and one of the biggest challenges — and also one of the most gratifying parts of my job — is helping to design a service that works for so many different people in so many different places” he comments on the rebranding of the service that was unveiled earlier this year. Uber’s answer to the question of how to create and maintain a global product that feels local and usable in 400+ cities across the world. “Regardless of the way you travel or where you do it, the way you feel when you travel — your experience of it — is always inherently physical, cultural, and emotional. It’s contextual and complex” he adds on his mission, to lead a team of designers to think far beyond the screen.
“We think of our design skills in five dimensions. Our designers are psychologists; we develop deep empathy for our users, and try to see the world through their eyes. We are ethnographers, researching cultures across the world. We are scientists, working with data sets to derive insights that help inform our user experience. We are entrepreneurs, utilizing our understanding of people and markets to set strategy. And we are craftspeople, guided by aesthetics to build beautiful and usable experiences” he says. “We leverage all of these skills to design scalable products that meet the needs of our users in cultures across the world.” Uber’s dynamic visual identity reflects on the ongoing evolution of Uber which started in 2010, as a way for 100 friends in San Francisco to get luxury rides and today is a transportation network spanning 450 cities in 70 countries.
“The cornerstone of our brand identity is the new logotype. We’ve always felt there was a cognitive dissonance between who we were deep down and how we expressed ourselves through our logo. The simplicity of the new logotype denotes quality and elegance, while the combination of straight and curved lines convey both the confidence and approachability of our updated look” comments Uber on the rebranding that took Internet by storm.
“The previous logo was so thin it would crumble at the slightest sneeze. The wordmark lacked a lot of weight to be of good use in small screens and the wide letter-spacing forced it to take up too much space, making it necessary to make it smaller, making it barely readable. I’ve always disliked the little curl on the “U” but other than that, it was a mostly innocuous logo. The new one fixes the usability of the logo by going bolder and tighter. On that aspect alone, the logo evolution is a success. Beyond that, there is nothing else nice to say about it but also nothing negative. Okay, well, maybe a couple of things: the inner curves on the bottom halves of the “B”, “E”, and “R” are very awkward and the elliptical (because they are far from rounded) corners are also strange and give the sensation that the letters have been stretched. Overall though, it’s fine” reviews Brand New. Debate at your own risky ride.
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