The top 5 logo redesigns of January 2013

Five brands have reinvented their identity this month: but have they taken a step forward or backwards?

As creatives we constantly strive to reinterpret the world in new and visually exciting ways. Yet as consumers and critics, we're inherently conservative and often have a knee-jerk reaction when someone changes something we like. With new, big-brand logo designs, there's the added element of jealousy - "If I'd been given half as much money, I could have come up with something better than that".

For these reasons, on the day a new logo is launched for a familiar brand, the first reactions are usually overwhelmingly negative. Once some time has passed and the new design has entered daily use, though, it can be a different story. So here we take a look back at the month's biggest redesigns: with a bit of fresh perspective, what do you think of them now?

  • For all our logo-related posts, click here

01. American Airlines

Created by Futurebrand, a brand new American Airlines logo was launched on 17 January and shown off on the side of one of its Boeing 737s at O'Hare International Airport yesterday.

The new logo is simpler and more streamlined

The new design means a sad goodbye to the classic Helvetica logo designed by Vignelli Associates which had been in service since 1967 (shown below). There's a pared down approach and horizontal flow to the new look that seems appropriate for an airline, although reception has been mixed. Many, including Massimo Vignelli himself, have decried the passing of the old logo, with one critic pointing to the wing icon's resemblance to a pair of 3D glasses.

The old logo, in place for a quarter-century, will be much missed

Why launch a new identity now, while the company is busy considering a megamerger with US Airways to create the nation's largest airline? Well apparently, plans for the new design began two years ago, when the airline ordered hundreds of new planes, which are now starting to be delivered. So whether this logo will last another 25 years or will just be a short blip in airline history remains to be seen...

02. ITV

The colours of the new logo will vary according to background

This month the UK's second biggest broadcaster launched its rebrand across all five broadcast channels. The new logo, which was created by Rudd Studio with the assistance of Fontsmith, is a big departure from the previous design, adding a huge dose of curves and colour.

The old logo was far more corporate

The new logo, designed to create a unified identity across all its channels and online, adapts its tone and colour scheme to the programme, channel, or promotion it is appearing alongside. Resembling joined-up handwriting, it has been criticised in some quarters for being childlike but it certainly has more personality than its staid predecesssor.

03. VH1

Another TV channel to rebrand this month, VH1's new logo is its first into years and now incorportates a '+1'.

The minimal new logo incorporates a plus sign to indicate a broad range of programming

The music and reality TV channel, which worked with Gretel on its new identity, says the name change signifies how VH1 has become "the ultimate mash up of music + pop culture + nostalgia".

The new design certainly simplifies the logo, in a way that's almost the opposite to ITV's strategy. VH1 has opted for a more geometric, simpler, single-colour typeface in comparison with the fussy, mutli-coloured design of old (shown below).

Few mourned the passing of the dated old logo

However, the jury's still out on whether the '+1' works either aesthetically or as a way of explaining the channel's multifaceted identity - many initially assumed the logo was referring to a new, extra channel.

04. Brooklyn Library

Why would a library misspell its own name? The new branding for the public library in Brooklyn, New York included a new logo which reinvented its name as 'Bklyn' - a subtle pun on the text speak-age abbreviation for book ('bk').

Brooklyn Library's new logo makes playful use of text-speak

The new design, created by Eight and a Half, who are well known for their TV work, is certainly hipper than its dry and functional predecessor (below) - plus it reduces down better on mobile devices. Although we suspect it raised some eyebrows among the library's older and more conservative users...

The old logo was didn't reduce down well on mobile devices

05. Florida Lottery

With a yearly revenue of $4.45 billion, the Florida Lottery is a very big deal. On 12 January it celebrated its 25th anniversary with a major rebranding campaign including this new logo.

The iconic flamingo remains, as does the familiar red, gold and green colour scheme, but the silhoutte of the old logo (below) is replaced by a friendly cartoon bird looking straight at the viewer. Whether you see it as fun and friendly or just a little bit creepy, it's definitely less '80s...

Like this? Read these!

What did you think of January's logo redesigns? Discuss the pros and cons of the month's rebrands in the comments below!