20 of the best rebrands that got it right, according to leading designers

When a company announces a rebrand, the design world sits in eager anticipation. Why? Because we know a rebrand isn’t simply a shiny new logo. It involves a strategic overhaul that can completely transform public perception. For better or worse!

Change can be surprising and divisive—especially if it’s a brand you already know and love. Will it be an evolution or a revolution? How will the logo change? What about the typography? And how will the colour palette tie in with everything else? It’s all very exciting.

Since not every rebrand hits the mark, here we share 20 of the best that most definitely got it right, curated by our teachers at Shillington.

1. Co-op by North

For the rebrand of Co-op's slightly corporate image, design agency North took inspiration from the past to inform the company's future. Taking a logo originally designed in 1968, the team created a new identity that has a retro and approachable feel – taking the Co-op back to its roots. To coincide with the fresh new logo, a series of packaging options were rolled out across its branches.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox describes its new brand identity as being inspired by the creative work of its customers. In a launch initiative that focuses on unleashing creative energy, and focusing on making work that really matters, the design encompasses the idea that basic tasks such as storage should be automated to highlight the results of the true unburdened collaboration.

Photography: Davy Evans | Illustration: David McLeod

Photography: Davy Evans | Illustration: David McLeod

3. Auto Trader by Studio Output

Studio Output worked with Auto Trader – the UK's leading digital automotive marketplace – to overhaul its branding. Its main aim was to shift the perception that it only exists as a print magazine for middle-aged men. Achieving this and more, the new identity focuses on the brand's heritage and embodies a personality that reflects the business as it currently stands – not as it was – through contemporary visuals and a fresh approach to its entire digital presence.

4. Premier League by DesignStudio

Ahead of the 2016/17 season, DesignStudio created new branding for the Premier League. The bold and vibrant identity, which includes a modern take on the lion icon – a symbol that is part of the competition’s heritage – is now flexible for all digital and broadcast formats.

5. Giraffe Kitchen by Ragged Edge

To help Giraffe "stand out in a crowded category", the creative agency Ragged Edge went back to the founders’ original intentions. They’d set out to bring the world’s best dishes back to their restaurants. So in response, they asked: why limit yourself to a single cuisine when you can ‘Taste A Whole New World’? The result is an entire brand strategy, visual and verbal identity.

6. Audi by Strichpunkt, KMS Team and Blackspace

Working in collaboration, Strichpunkt, Blackspace and the KMS Team dreamt up a new corporate design and identity for car company, Audi. The starting point was to take a holistic approach, replacing the complex system with "dynamic principles" to allow the brand to communicate more effectively digitally. Implementing a more modern logo, screen fonts and icons, the brand has adopted a more approachable design.

7. Airbnb by DesignStudio

Taking inspiration from Airbnb's culture and community, DesignStudio conducted an 'in-depth immersion process', which took four members of the agency to 13 cities. They stayed with 18 Airbnb hosts and recorded every aspect of their stay, in order to fully get their heads around what the brand stands for. The result mirrors the company's key values while presenting a clean, contemporary and engaging identity.

8. Frameline by Mucho

Frameline's mission is to "change the world through the power of queer cinema". The media arts nonprofit connects filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and beyond. For its recent brand refresh, Mucho was tasked with producing the creative for the 40th LGBTQ Film Festival. The aim of the project was to embody inclusivity – something that was achieved through a beautifully simple design.

9. Budweiser by Jones Knowles Ritchie

When the "King of Beers" required an update to its branding, Jones Knowles Ritchie stepped in to help reflect the soul of its heritage. Firmly associated with the American Dream, Budweiser's new look channels its "brewed the hard way spirit", further establishing it as beverage royalty the world over.

Photography: Martin Wonnacott

Photography: Martin Wonnacott

10. Mastercard by Pentagram

For Mastercard's new identity, Pentagram focused on the evolution of the company's logo since the 1960s. Carefully chosen, the colour palette was selected to "appear bright and glowing against different backgrounds."

11. Great Western Railway by Pentagram

When British train operating company, First Great Western – which manages 208 stations throughout England and Wales – required a brand new identity, Pentagram looked to the company's rich heritage. The result is a stronger name – Great Western Railway – and a bold, more confident look.

12. McDonald's by Studio Boxer

UK-based agency Boxer was tasked with reimagining the iconic McDonalds brand for a more simplified and fresher feeling future. Chunky type in a vibrant colour palette emblazons the company's unmistakable packaging, alongside the famous golden arches.

13. Deviant Art by Moving Brands

DeviantArt, the world’s largest online social network for art, approached agency Moving Brands to undertake their rebranding, as well as the design of a "revolutionary" new app.

14. Eir by Moving Brands

Eircom – Ireland’s largest telecoms business – recently underwent a period of change. Engaging Moving Brands as its lead creative partner, the task at hand was to clarify and streamline its business architecture, transform the brand identity, and set the direction for over 100 agencies. Read our interview with Creative Director of Moving Brands, Andrew Harvey here.

15. The Ministry of Sound by Spin

In order to celebrate the 25th birthday of the legendary London nightclub, the Ministry of Sound, design agency Spin was asked to help develop the group's branding. The overhaul process included stationery and templates, website consultation, art direction, printed matter, motion graphics and signage.

16. Ravensbourne University by NB Studio

Posing the question, “What should a world-class creative university look like?”, NB Studio helped raise the profile of Ravensbourne to a global platform – attracting potential students and the attention of the creative industries through eye-catching and fun branding.

17. Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra by The Partners

A new logo and innovative imagery by The Partners helped mark a new chapter in the evolution of the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra (BSO) from a small music society established in Brooklyn Heights in 1973, to a full-scale symphony orchestra with a permanent residency at the Brooklyn Museum. The logo reflects three aspects of the orchestra: its role as the only high-quality classical music experience located in Brooklyn, the beauty and power of the music and the coming together of the community to participate in it.

18. OkCupid by Jay Daniel Wright

When dating app OkCupid was seeking a fresh new look, it commissioned Berlin-based illustrator Jay Daniel Wright to design some quirky graphics for its website. Additionally, a new typeface was adapted for a more clean, bold approach.

19. Wales by Smorgasbord Studio

Described as "a feeling as much as a graphical kit of parts" by design agency Smorgasbord Studio – its branding project for Wales provides a platform for the Welsh nation across a wide range of sectors; seeking to engage, inform, invite, challenge and support in equal measure.

20. Gumtree by Koto

When Koto worked on a rebrand for Gumtree – the first tweak to its look since its launch in 2000 – the agency took inspiration from the brand's tree icon, replacing the previous colour palette with a purple and green combination.

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