Why Uber’s complete design overhaul was two and a half years in the making – StartupSmart

Uber Icon

Uber has had a “haircut” that was two and a half years in the making.


The now iconic ‘U’ logo is no more, with the startup giant launching a complete redesign which centres on a new logo and different backgrounds and colour palletes for each of the 65 countries it now operates in.


In a blog post detailing the reasons behind the big changes, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick likens it to getting a haircut.


“Have you ever looked at someone’s hairstyle and thought ‘oh my, you peaked in the 1990s?’” Kalanick writes.


“Well that’s a bit how I feel about Uber’s look today.”


Kalanick was working on the changes, along with a 12-person team, for two and a half years, over which Uber has expanded to 400 cities in 65 countries and is now worth well over $US60 billion.


He says the ride-sharing startup is a “fundamentally different company” from when it first launched as an up-market limousine service, and the design change is aiming to reflect the place in society that Uber wants to hold.


“Today we aspire to make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere and for everyone,” Kalanick writes.


“Our new brand reflects that reality by working to celebrate the cities that Uber serves.”


According to Kalanick, Uber’s old black and white design didn’t properly convey the company’s motivations.


“This belied what Uber actually is – a transportation network, woven into the fabric of cities and how they move,” he says.


“To bring out this human side we’ve added colour and patterns.”


Uber has lofty goals for how it wants to be deeply immersed in society.


“We exist in the place where bits and atoms come together. That is Uber,” Kalanick writes.


“We are not just technology but technology that moves cities and their citizens.”


The design has been customised for each country, with a branded “identity”, and a long-term goal of having unique designs for each specific city.


“Hopefully this haircut lasts a bit longer than the last,” Kalanick says.



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