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A Necessary Evil

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

by Jessica Bourn

There you sit, scrolling through Facebook, watching one funny cat video after the next and then- boom! The Facebook app closes, goes dark, and the waiting game begins. You know what this means— Facebook is updating AGAIN. Queue the internal groans. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Only time will tell.

I think we are all too familiar with the frustrating process of learning the new icons, figuring out the new layout, and searching for the notification that popped up 5 seconds ago but you that haven’t actually found yet. Why does Facebook do this to us? An excellent question that I am here to answer.

Rebranding can sometimes be considered a necessary evil in order for brands to stay relevant and fresh in the minds of consumers. There are several reasons as to why a brand may turn from it’s tried-and-true aesthetic to something more modern. These reasons range from international growth to new management, a bad reputation, or something as simple as an outdated image. Keeping up with the aesthetic preferences of your audience is a huge part of staying relevant. Rebranding can be as small as changing the color in a logo (we’re looking at you, Facebook) or a complete overturn with a new name, new look, and new faces.

Can you think of a few aesthetics that brands are slowly but surely adopting? A few stand out in my mind:

  • Minimalistic/clean/simple

  • Bright gradients

  • Flat design

Facebook is an easy example that is most relevant to my work here at Mansell Media. Constantly changing, forever updating, never resting- as Clay would say, “Facebook is just looking for the best way to keep you there 5 seconds longer.” From bug fixes to layout changes, we on the back-end of business pages deal with these updates more than the average user. However, those are not technically part of the rebranding. The most noticeable Facebook update in recent times was made in the past couple of weeks. A new logo has turned up- a lighter, brighter blue and the “f” has been moved slightly. Why? If you’ve kept up with this blog, you may remember that I wrote before about Color Psychology, wherein I mentioned that the color blue is a calming color. It builds trust, creates a calm atmosphere, and most of all, it is stimulating to the eye! Blue is used by Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites to keep you “plugged in” as long as possible. The brighter the blue, the better. Hence, Facebook’s logo switch. While subtle, it is definitely a fresh look.

Now, let’s talk about a rebrand that was not so subtle. Instagram has undergone some huge changes since it’s birth in 2010. Facebook took over in 2012, and in 2016 Instagram introduced a huge rebrand that had users all over the world talking about it— talk about success! They transitioned from a fairly complicated logo, to something sleek and fresh. Gradients are making a comeback in recent years, and brands all over the world are experimenting with bright gradients mixed with simple icons to create a fun, friendly look.

The last example I want to talk about is a brand that we all know and love. Google has been a staple on desktops, laptops, blackberries, and more since it’s founding in 1998. Take a look at the changes throughout the years and notice how they have incorporated most of the aesthetics I brought up. The original logo had a heavily shaded, almost 3D effect with a serif font. Moving forward to 2010, we’ve finally lost the drop shadow for a flatter design. 2013 pushes it even more with no shading at all, before 2015’s rebrand finally took a turn from serif to sanserif and completely flat design for the ultimate minimalist look.

I wrap up this blog with some food for thought- what are some of your favorite brands that you think have the best “look”? Has that look changed over the years? I would bet money that it has, and that it’s gone to something sleek, simple, and bright. Times change, preferences change, but human nature stays the same— we like the products, services, media we consume to be fresh and pleasing to the eye!

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