Announced

The Best and Worst Identities of 2015, Part 1: The Most Notable Reviewed

announcement

Announced December 21, 201512.21.15 by Armin

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For this year’s multi-part summary — there will be 6 parts — I am introducing a new category: The Most Notable projects Reviewed. None of these quite represent either the BEST or the WORST of the year but they are the logos and identities that got the most attention and sparked the most commentary not just on Brand New but in other media outlets.

We will be back with full and regular publishing schedule on January 4, 2016.

See also:
Part 2: The Best Reviewed
Part 3: The Worst Reviewed
Part 4: The Best Noted
Part 5: The Worst Noted
Part 6: The Best Friday Likes

As far as Things That Matter go, IHOP doesn’t rank high and the pancake-flinging franchise could have easily gone another set of decades with the same logo and no one would be affected. The new logo isn’t great by any standards but at least it gave the brand a pulse and personality while changing its red frown for a red smile.

With its off-kilter typographic approach — that “W”! — Paula Scher’s identity for The New School kicked off a new wave of “ugly” design that bothered some and enthralled others. A common complaint with design schools is that they are rarely creative or design-y in their own identities and this one certainly delivered in breaking conventions.

No other 2016 Presidential Candidate logo ignited as much discussion, mainstream media interest, and over-thinking of its meaning than Michael Bierut’s minimalist “H” for Hillary Clinton. Initially panned, the logo was eventually embraced and is, no doubt, the best of the crop. As the race for the Oval Office heats up, the logo has evolved into a strong, flexible, and smart identity that is able to communicate with every potential group.

It must have been a tough second half of the year to be Michael Bierut! After surviving the media onslaught brought on by the Hillary logo he had the unenviable task of redesigning one of the most hated logos ever. We all wished for something more than the ensuing Neue Haas Grotesk and shy checkmark but, hey, at least it doesn’t have cooties anymore.

One of the hightest-profile logo redesigns also happens to be one of the logos its users are least likely to see. Unless you intentionally log-off and on to Facebook you never see the new logo as it only appears in the log-in page. And unless you work at Facebook or do business with Facebook you probably won’t see it either. Yet that didn’t stop an onslaught of comments and overall mourning of Facebook’s iconic Klavika wordmark.

Google’s redesign was undeniably the most impactful change of the year as so many millions of people interact with that brand every day, multiple times a day. The change was as simple as it gets, trading a serif wordmark for a sans serif wordmark. A lot of people called it childish, boring, and a mistake. I don’t usually make this kind of statement — okay, maybe I do — but all those people are wrong. Google has never looked as sharp, confident, approachable, and well-designed as it does today. The new logo and accompanying identity looks flawless on the myriad screens and platforms it lives on, including some snazzy new TV ads. To me, not only was this the most notable identity of the year but the best — especially for a company operating at such high stakes and under so much scrutiny.

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