Several of my colleagues include highly talented designers, who would far better be able to pass aesthetic judgement on the merits of Uber’s newly unveiled redesign than I could.
But as a planner, two things about this redesign have been making me think.
1. Does Uber need a redesign – or even a brand?
Think about it: Uber has succeeded in embedding itself in society’s cultural consciousness as a service that is simply understood, omnipresent. “Let’s grab an Uber.” “If we run late, we’ll just Uber it.” The service itself, its very existence, is simply part of modern vernacular. With that said, is a redesign of branded assets required for a service that just ‘is’? The very notion that perhaps it doesn’t need this redesign, or, controversially, ‘a brand’, is surely testament to the staggering success of the company itself?
2. Control of Uber’s brand is ultimately with its drivers
On the flip side, Uber owns no infrastructure. You or I could become an Uber driver. And from a branding perspective, that is surely where the brand lives or dies. These humorous anecdotes merely scratch the surface of much more negative publicity.
Don’t get me wrong: Uber’s redesign is nice. Clean, creative, concise. Yet a service brand (and especially the rise of digital service brands fuelled by today’s hyper-connected society) lives or dies by the physical embodiment of its services. It will be interesting to see whether its drivers can match the brand promise of a shiny new redesign.