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Review: brands of 2013

19 December 2013 Jim Harrison,

2013 could be seen as a year of change – a change of popes, the arrival of Prince George, Edward Snowden lifting the lid on national security worldwide, all forcing established institutions to reevaluate their positions and relevance in society.

So what of the year in branding? Which brands have successfully reconsidered their relevance and updated their brands accordingly?

American Airlines' identity, designed by Massimo Vignelli in 1967, was widely considered a classic piece of branding and as a result had remained almost unchanged for over forty years. So when AA unveiled their rebrand in January, it took us all by surprise, one which has grown on us, blending modernity and simplicity in the right measures. A brand for contemporary America that manages to remain free of cliché.

One brand that stood out for us as being both smart, honest and practical was The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, who rebranded, using the last two letters of their name 'is' as a tool for explaining their cause. A simple, efficient system that also serves as valuable campaign tool, which for a charity is invaluable.

On the other side of the handwritten coin, we're not sure News Corp's new, friendly, handwritten identity, supposedly based on Rupert Murdoch's writing is entirely appropriate for such a large, global media company.

In May the Whitney Museum in New York rebranded with a smart if minimal flexible identity system which stretches and morphs to work around content, making the logo subservient to content, perfect for showcasing the museum's collection.

In the world of technology the design community was buzzing with debates around Apple's newly launched iOS7 mobile operating system, with it's day-glo colours and less skeuomorphic icons. However, it was Google's slow and carefully considered move toward a cohesive and consistent visual system that caught our attention. From a company that was once known for testing 41 shades of blue to determine which was most effective, we're glad they're headed for a more intuitive, design-led approach.

The most important branding story of the year? Well naturally that has to have been our very own re-brand with a crystalisation of our 'Smart, Sexy, Honesty' the new branding is a fresh, clean and modern system that allows our thinking and work to shine through. Well we think so anyway!


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