To assist us make sense of all of the drama, we reached out to 6 designers, branding consultants, and consultants and requested them for his or her opinion. We needed to see if there was a option to quantify the insanity: Was there an very best rebrand of 2023? How concerning the worst?
To get a solution, we set forth a easy rating system. Every participant would rank 10 of essentially the most talked-about rebrands from the yr and share a bit about their considering. From there, we tallied up everybody’s marks so as to get one ultimate composite rating.
Every participant acquired the next checklist of rebrands: HBO Max to Max; Twitter to X; Pepsi; Patreon; Reddit; Johnson & Johnson; Overstock to Mattress Bathtub & Past; SiriusXM; Nickelodeon; Bolt.
The competitors was a nail-biter, however . . . Pepsi got here out on high with 40 factors. Bolt was scorching on its heels with 39.5 factors, adopted by Nickelodeon at 39. Greater than half our consultants ranked Nickelodeon third, cementing its place on the rostrum, and just about everybody put Max and X on the backside of the pile, with X mentioning the rear with a meager 12 factors. “By no means let a dictator redesign the model,” stated Debbie Millman.
There have been some inevitable variations of opinion, as nicely. Andrew Roth gave the Patreon rebrand the gold medal, whereas Saskia Ketz relegated it to No. 9. In the meantime, David Brier tied Bolt and Patreon at No. 1 and unnoticed Overstock altogether, citing it was nearer to a enterprise shift than a rebrand.
Mark Kingsley was so underwhelmed by the choice that he shied away from the rating idea. You could find out about his considering—and that of our different consultants—beneath.
Right here’s the ultimate rating, adopted by our consultants’ opinions.
- Pepsi – 40
- Bolt – 39.5
- Nickelodeon – 39
- Patreon – 35.5
- SiriusXM – 29
- Reddit – 28
- Overstock to BBB – 23.75
- Jonhson & Johnson – 16
- Max – 13
- X – 12
Andrew Roth, founder/CEO, Dcdx, Gen Z analysis and consulting agency
As an skilled on Gen Z, my tackle this yr’s rebrands facilities round one core theme: As tradition and customers evolve quicker than ever, the race to maintain up and stand out within the battle for consideration grew to become not only a nicety, however a necessity. Pushed by concern or a imaginative and prescient for the longer term, some manufacturers struggled to seek out the road between daring and hasty, leaving clear winners and losers on this yr’s rebranding rankings. My best choice this yr was Patreon—it painted a imaginative and prescient for its future that accounts for the surprising whereas sustaining a recognizably daring identification. SiriusXM adopted carefully behind, turning its early 2000s’ web look right into a modernized icon, able to catching Gen Z’s fleeting consideration. And the losers? For Gen Z, familiarity issues—and X, Max, and J&J left behind important parts of their historical past whereas setting up their future.
Debbie Millman, model advisor and host of Design Matters
This was a nasty yr for branding. Most of those huge rebrands are actually horrible, boring, or each. Most present an utter lack of creativeness. The 2 exceptions are Pepsi, whose redesign feels daring and truly refreshing, and Reddit, which is (dare I say it) sort of lovely.
You could find the supply of the model failures in wanting on the methods of those redesigns. Probably the most irksome ways is the “customization” technique—or because the Patreon pointers state: “And most significantly, it’s a model constructed to adapt, in order that any creator could make it their very own.” To start with, that’s not essential. Secondly, I’ve no real interest in futzing with logos free of charge. Both redesign them or don’t. Within the case of Sirius and their brand redesign directive: “A brand new model identification and brand mirror SiriusXM’s worth proposition, bringing listeners nearer to what they love.” Can they actually be critical? (Completely no pun meant.)
David Brier, rebranding specialist and writer of Model Intervention
Based mostly on these picks from 2023’s rebrands, the artwork of the rebrand is a misplaced ability which may require Indiana Jones to come back out of retirement and discover some misplaced scrolls on find out how to rebrand.
The vast majority of these miss—some by a little bit, some by a mile—primarily as a result of they didn’t elevate the manufacturers into a brand new dialog, a brand new class, or a brand new approach of being related. Why? As a result of most are two-dimensional beauty workout routines.
Saskia Ketz, founder, MMarchNY branding studio and Mojomax
My greatest failure for the 2023 rebrands is the Reddit rebrand by Pentagram. This one screams too many cooks within the kitchen. The 3D logo-mark conversion feels lengthy overdue, however packing it in a speech bubble complemented with a too-strongly personalized wordmark appears messy. We will agree that we must always transfer on from the minimalist brand design pattern, however combining these three parts is simply an excessive amount of. From a technical perspective, I’m not positive why the speech bubbles within the typeface are squished and don’t match the mascot bubble.
Bolt’s rebrand is well-made and delightful. Wordmark marries brand image, paired with an identical typeface and an up to date coloration palette. This result’s a contemporary design resolution: 9 out of 10. [Also] love the Pepsi rebrand. It’s decisive and works so nicely with the brand new model visuals. The main focus is on the logotype with fashionable, personalized letters—and along with the older widespread pink, white, and blue wave circle, the wordmark lastly turns into unified once more: 10 out of 10.
Nick Adam, affiliate companion and design director, Span
Often, as a designer, there are moments if you see a peer’s work and suppose, Rattling, it doesn’t get higher than this. Each facet of a visible identification has the chance to speak. Every component of Bolt’s new visible identification system takes full benefit to talk in its voice. It leaves nothing on the desk however an indelible impression, and because of this it’s the best rebrand of 2023.
Max is such a missed alternative that it’d simply be the rebrand of subsequent yr. The M and the X don’t have any relationship. It’s a mark and not using a system. And but it’s a phrase that comes with a number of that means. It’s poised to undertake a kind and system that fluctuates in voice, tone, and quantity. Maybe, subsequent yr’s rebrand will embrace the maximalism of at the moment’s viewing expertise whereas incorporating extra whispered expressions for quieter moments.
Mark Kingsley, founder, Malcontent artistic lab, and a trainer on the College of Visible Arts Masters in Branding program
Any try and rank aesthetic output, like a model’s visible identification, is each a idiot’s errand and a mirrored image of the ranker’s style. Most of the people not often appears again to rebrands as important occasions of their lives, they usually usually don’t concern themselves with what another person might consider a brand. However what they do bear in mind is the primary time they had been emotionally moved by a model; whether or not it’s the services or products itself, or by how they had been handled by a consultant. So rebrands might act as markers in a person’s private timeline: how a model acted earlier than versus the way it behaves after.
Provided that, eight of this yr’s huge rebrands had been slight strikes of the metaphorical needle. All accompanied by claims of “harkening again to” the model’s historical past/origins/authenticity. All representing each “our imaginative and prescient for the longer term” and “our dedication to” creators/customers/prospects. They fulfill market wants, the necessities of the digital realm, and visible tendencies. In addition they mirror the truth that the final shelf lifetime of a CMO is measured in a number of years—not sufficient time to considerably change the enterprise, however sufficient for a rebrand. The opposite two—HBO to Max, and Twitter to X—had been simply performed out of ego.