The logo designs that defined 2015

We look at the identity design projects that got you talking this year.

(Probably) the biggest rebrand of the year

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At the beginning of September Google introduced a new sans-serif identity with a custom typeface, as it looked to clarify its mark and make it more scalable.

An in-house team, made up of designers from across the company including some from Creative Lab and others from Material Lab, came together for a week-long sprint to design the logo.

It was a big year for the company, with its Alphabet corporate identity being created and venture capital group Google Ventures rebranding as GV as they differentiated themselves from the internet business.

The logo that didn’t last very long

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When the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic logos were unveiled in July, they set in motion a backlash, which eventually saw the designs by Kenjiro Sano pulled.

Sano’s playful negative space identity was supposed to express “the power of unity” – a notable irony as a plagiarism row ensued and the logo drew criticism for its similarity to the Belgian Theatre identity.

Sano strongly denied the accusations while Tokyo 2020 organisers looked to play down the plagiarism row by saying it was in fact a “lack of public understanding” of the identity which had caused the U-turn.

After Sano’s design was pulled, a public competition was announced and now organisers have 15,000 logos on their hands.

The open-source identity

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MTV’s rebrand was not so much a big change but rather a constant one. The open-source identity is a medium for user-generated content and can host all manor of glitchy low-fi emojis and Vine-style mashups.

The network worked with B-Reel Creative on the #MTVbump project, which can see videos or Vines collected and shown within as little as two hours.

Earlier in the year we caught up with MTV vice president of creative and marketing Sean Saylor to see how it was all put together.

The all-star rebrand

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When Channel 4 decided to refresh its iconic Martin Lambie-Nairn-designed logo, in-house team 4Creative turned to a Fantasy Football-esque design team featuring Neville Brody, Under the Skin director Jonathan Glazer and consultancy DBLG.

The identity, which was originally designed in 1982, hadn’t really been touched in ten years. As it is such a precious asset to Channel 4, the design team didn’t want to mess around with it too much, so instead broke the logo down into its constituent parts, which became a theme in itself.

Meanwhile two new typefaces were created by Brody in a bid to celebrate the nation “as one of inventors, eccentrics and individuals.”

The logo that got a bit political

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US Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s logo garnered wildly different opinions – and among designers at least – proved quite divisive.

It was designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut. One thing everyone could be certain on was that it was a damn sight better than the brands designed for Clinton’s Republican rivals.

All of this was brewing in August, at the same time as across the Altlantic Jeremy Corbyn closed in on the Labour leader job with a campaign fronted by his “Straight Talking Honest Politics” logo. We looked at the rise of politician branding in 2015.

The client that paid for one logo and got 10 billion

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While MTV investigated the possibilities of an infinitely changing identity, Elmwood restricted itself to 10 billion permutations for recruitment company Craft.

It was seen as a good fit for the company, which believes that “no two job seekers are the same” – just like these logos, of course.

The super-colourful rebrand

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When Spotify changed its green to a mintier shade, it also expanded its entire palette from two colours to 31 and introduced a completely new look and feel, which took in strong textures, angular shapes and artist photography.

The new look was created by New York-based consultancy Collins and was part of a drive to shift the company’s positioning from a technology to an entertainment brand.


Which logo designs do you think defined 2015? Let us know in the comments section below.

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