Controversial ride hailing company Uber has been engaging in a much-needed image rehabilitation under the management of new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, including engagement with governments and regulators across the world, a global ad campaign, and now a broad rebrand of its logo and app.
These efforts are all part of a shift away from the poisonous legacy of founder Travis Kalanick in the aim of creating a more trustworthy brand.
The result, created by global brand consultancy Wolff Olins, is a much-simplified logo, doing away with the old black square within a white circle within a black square symbol in favour of simply the word Uber in a sans serif font (a custom -made typeface called Uber Move) on a plain background. This can either be black on a white background or flipped to white on black.
The new logo is classic, conservative Silicon Valley, mirroring the other tech giants of Google, Facebook and Amazon but without even the minor visual flourishes those companies have with the yellow arrow for Amazon or the multicoloured letters of Google. The new logo also has just a capitalised U, as opposed to the all-caps previous version.
The result is intended to reflect a company which ensures "that when an Uber shows up, then that's very clear. This has implications when it comes to safety, when it comes to accessibility, so we took this very seriously," as Peter Markatos, Uber's executive director of branding, told AdWeek.
Markatos expanded slightly on why the company was abandoning its old logo, telling AdWeek that the logo wasn't resonating with drivers and riders, therefore "it doesn't make sense to build more equity into something that people don't understand".
The new logo is accompanied by a new tagline, positioning Uber as a "platform of mobility".
The overall effect is utterly uninspiring at worst and unremarkable at best. The result could be intended to reflect a sense of bland security, a ride-hailing service you can trust as the company looks to consign some of its more unsavoury brand connotations into the past, but the simple black on white design is also hard and cold. In short, it's more Galactic Empire than Rebel Alliance.