What we can learn from American Express’ recent rebrand
Brand identity is created through many assets, yet perhaps most importantly is your brand’s logo. As the cornerstone of your brand, an effective logo visually expresses your company’s output while conveying your brand’s identity. Get it right and your logo will become synonymous with your business — an instantly recognisable signifier of who you are and what you do.
With so much resting on a well-designed logo, many businesses are cautious about making changes to it. Yet, rebranding is important in showing that a business is moving with the times, keeping up with current trends and still being relevant to customers’ lives.
However, rebranding should be carefully considered — you don’t want to change what has become synonymous with your brand, whether that’s a colour or font. As such, rebranding may not always involve a completely new logo; it could simply be the further refinement of these base elements to refresh your brand’s identity.
Financial services company American Express is the latest brand to have undergone a rebrand — it’s first in some 37 years! So why 2018? The logo refresh is part of the company’s new worldwide marketing campaign ‘Powerful Backing: Don’t Do Business / Don’t Live Life Without It’, which aims to highlight American Express’ role in both a customer’s business and personal life.
American Express’ little blue box with two stacked lines of text is instantly recognisable and now iconic. The new logo has retained these elements, simply updating them through smaller refinements. The gradient within the blue square has been removed, while the lettering has been redrawn and rendered in bold.
The new logo had to work across platforms, including digital channels and print materials. By refreshing the logo, multiple updated versions could be created, including a non-outlined lettering version that operates outside of the box and a shortened blue box version that displays ‘AMEX’ for use on social media. The brand’s iconic centurion imagery has also been refined.
British Steel Rebrand
A number of other brands have enjoyed successful rebranding, such as British Steel. In 2016, British Steel was established as a new company and, rather than using the existing logo of the previous British Steel company that was established in 1967, the decision was made to rebrand.
The new logo features a molten orange B, made up from three segments. The colour was chosen to represent a bright new start, while the stacked design reflects the stacking of the end products. These segments are pointed at a 45 degree angle, hinting that the only way is up for the new company.
Redesigning the logo was a bold yet essential move for British Steel. If the brand had chosen to retain the pre-existing logo, the brand would have seemed dated, as if nothing had changed since 1967. It would have also impacted the brand’s ability to generate excitement around their company and what the future holds. Now, British Steel is very much relevant and of the moment.