When Good Marks Go Bad

2017 has seen a lot of branding changes as we dash to the halfway point, with some being better than others. When a well-established and easily recognizable brand decides to “freshen” their look, the world takes notice; and when they fail, we notice even more. Some big names made the decision to change, leaving us shaking our heads and questioning who gave the greenlight?


Before I dive into why I think these brands made a bad move, I would first like to mention that there is a difference between giving your brand a facelift and completely throwing its identity out the window. I believe each of these brands took a huge step back, when all they needed was a small step forward.


1. Yankee Candle…Something stinks in here and it’s not the candle.

Yankee Candle is the #1 candle company in the United States (possibly in the world). I think it’s safe to say that you or someone you know has graced their humble abode with one of these $30 candles. It is a brand that people can immediately recognize and trust. I always knew when moving out of the nest that I would need a few of these around the house to give the illusion of being a real adult. You know you’re getting grandma’s home-baked cookies and not something packaged in plastic from the grocery store.

Their original brand was bold and sturdy, yet classy and relaxed. The images never overpowered the mark and vice versa. More importantly the old logo and label fit the jar design perfectly. The jar itself is classic and has character, two things the rebrand lacks. Not to mention how awkwardly the new label fits the jar. Perhaps a new jar should have been considered, but that would have been at the expense of losing a highly recognizable characteristic of the brand.

Considering that competitive brands are constantly trying to mimic Yankee’s look, I am not surprised they chose a refresh. Unfortunately, I think this was the wrong solution. Next time, call Tag. 🙂


2. Calvin Klein…Now I have to go buy new underwear.

Calvin Klein made a substantial impact on American fashion while simultaneously revolutionizing American advertising during the 70’ & 80’s. They have done a few minor logo touchups since, but nothing drastic. Earlier this year, their in-house designers worked alongside Peter Saville to create a new logo with the hopes it would get them back into their 70’s & 80’s roots. To be frank, I think this is the most boring work that Saville has done. I understand the font change to resemble the 1980’s version, however the choice to go all caps throws the brand recognition out the window. Each of Calvin Klein’s biggest competitors have all cap logos. They have now entered the world of sameness.

3. Ubisoft…Someone was paid to create this logo, remember that.

Ubisoft, based out of France, is one of the largest video game manufacturers in the world. They are the creators of popular video games such as Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs and Far Cry. Where do we start with this one? As a graphic designer, I notice some serious issues with the rebrand. I understand the direction they were taking compared to the last version, however the execution is questionable. The stroke on the inner part of the swirl jutting out of the edge, instead of seamlessly meeting the points makes no sense. Not to mention the attempt to repeat this element in the O below, making it look like a horrible mistake.

Ubisoft explains their reasoning for the rebrand: “Today, we create worlds – worlds that live as video games, comics, movies, TV shows, books, and amusement park rides. Our new logo is minimalist, modern and monochromatic. With this new look, we proudly embrace our role as a creator of worlds. As we move toward the most exciting time of the year, E3, you will see this new emblem take on the colors and textures of our worlds.”

If one good thing came out of this rebrand, it’s how the internet reacted…

A lot of people also took notice of the 1980’s Ubisoft logo that had much more character. It definitely seems more fitting for a videogame company that wants to connect to the right demographic. What do you think?

We will see what the second half of the year brings in rebranding, and hopefully it will be better than these examples. What do you think about their rebranding efforts?

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