"Have you ever looked at someone's hairstyle and thought 'Oh my, you peaked in the 1990s?'"
That's how Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick described how he felt about the company's (old) logo, in a statement he released today announcing that Uber has a whole new look.
The company's updated brand identity includes a new logo, which Mr. Kalanick describes as "at once more grounded and elevated." Compared to the previous logotype, there's tighter kerning, the weight of the letters is heavier and gone are the curves at the left tip of the U and on the right leg of the R. "Some might say it's less fussy (in part because we have cut the curls, our 1990s hairstyle)," Mr. Kalanick wrote.
The bolder, more substantial logo is meant to make it more visible from afar and reflect Uber's maturity as a company.
Along with the new wordmark, the company has dropped the "U" from its app symbol, replacing it with a white circle that partially encloses a square -- it looks a bit like a closed-mouth Pac-Man with a huge cavity.
The design has philosophical origins: the square represents a "bit," while the circle depicts an "atom" -- two things that the company prides itself in bringing together. "The unique aspect of Uber is that we exist in the physical world," Mr. Kalanick explained. "We exist in the place where bits and atoms come together. That is Uber. We are not just technology but technology that moves cities and their citizens."
That "bit" will also be a running theme in Uber's partner apps, as seen in the hexagonal shape that encloses a square for the driver logo.
A lofty video, featuring everything from sleek graphics to scenes of kittens and BLT sandwiches, further explains how the "atom and bit" idea comes together.
The new identity also introduces much more color to the brand. Whereas before it was simply black and white, it now features a more vibrant palette and patterns, all of which will be localized and tailored to each country Uber serves.