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In honour of Facebook's drab new corporate logo, here are 4 tech rebrands that left people scratching their heads

James Hennessy

Facebook on Monday announced a brand new corporate logo intended to distinguish the social network from its parent company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. In its announcement, the company said it believes people "should know which companies make the products they use."

The vaguely bubbly blue letters will remain to represent the core social platform itself, while the company proper has opted for something far more corporate. Finally, Facebook has entered its ultimate stage of evolution: generic American conglomerate, with the boring branding to match.

The logos and brands for tech companies tend to be some of the most noticeable in the world, given consumers interact with them on their phone home screens all day long. As such, even minute changes can cause backlash from users, before everyone promptly forgets it was ever any other way and gets on with their lives. Here are five of the best examples.

Uber

Uber is particularly distinguished in that almost every single one of its logo changes has faced instant and intense criticism. And, for a company which has only existed for 10 years, it has had quite a few of them.

But it was the change above which probably stirred the most passion among its users. Gone was the iconic 'U', and in its stead was an unusual new geometric design – reflected throughout the app – which probably made more sense in the first design sessions than the final product.

“This updated design reflects where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. The Uber you know isn’t changing, our brand is just catching up to who we already were,” Uber explained in a blog post at the time, saying the new design was intended to represent "bits" and "atoms". This is the kind of thinking which happens when a brainstorm goes on far too long.

This whole new design language only lasted a couple of years, before the company switched to its current look, based largely around the word 'Uber' in simple, straightforward type. Does what it says on the tin.

Spotify

Back in 2015, Spotify made a reasonably minor change to its famous green logo: it tweaked the shade from a dark "lime green" to a lighter "forest green".

"As much as we got used to the old “broccoli” green we felt that the dreary brand palette was desperate for an upgrade," the streaming company said at the time. "It was time to give it a little refresh and make sure it goes well with our vibrant new colour palette."

The core shape remained more or less the same, but as you can see, users at the time was affronted by this disrespect of the original shade of green.

And yet, in 2019, nobody pines for the old green. We have larger issues to deal with.

Slack

Popular team messaging app Slack had a fairly iconic 'hashtag' design for a number of years, before the company decided it was too complex and didn't work consistently in different design environments.

It was also extremely easy to get wrong. It was 11 different colors—and if placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18º rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible. It pained us.

The new logo – shown to the right above – sort of resembled the intersection of a hashtag and an octopus, but it undeniably worked better on diverse backgrounds. Also, it meant the company was able to use a single image across all all their app logos and web design.

But, well. I'll let the Twitter community outline the primary objection.

https://twitter.com/AngryBlackLady/status/1086647448632606721

https://twitter.com/tbaxter/status/1085659746755997696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1085659746755997696&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnet.com%2Fnews%2Fslacks-new-logo-is-weird%2F

Instagram

Instagram managed to hold on to its stodgy old logo for a long time. Almost five years after its launch, it still had the old camera logo, while basically everyone else was opting for slick, flat designs.

That changed: in 2016, the company went for the ultra-flat, vibrantly coloured aesthetic which has basically dominated the back half of the 2010s.

Not everyone loved the shift. “I am so sad and disappointed,” Debbie Millman, head of the branding department at the School of Visual Arts and author of “Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits,” told Business Insider.

“It’s lost all of its iconic status and has now been relegated to the over-gradiated soulless heap of recent redesigns."

Tell us how you really feel, Debbie.