Feb 4, 2016 ยท 2 minutes

The whole world has already weighed in on the weirdness of Uber's new logo.

There's very little left to say on the subject except for how embarrassing this Wired piece is for the usually much less credulous Jessi Hempel.

 The story of how Kalanick and his design team came to replace the ubiquitous “U” logo is about more than a corporate rebranding effort. It’s a coming-of-age tale...

During Uber’s early years, Kalanick came across as a bellicose bro, a rebel-hero always angling for a confrontation—with regulators, the taxi industry, and competitors. Reflecting on this, Kalanick says it was all a misrepresentation by the media. 


I mean, I get that exclusive sit-downs with Valley founders are hard to come by for tech reporters based in New York but... eeeeeeeeesssssh.

Another remarkable aspect of the rebranding is it came at a time when Uber is dealing with driver strikes, serious problems in China, not to mention all of its usual legal and ethical problems.

But rather than focussing on making drivers happy(ish) or escaping from subsidy hell in foreign markets, the company apparently decided the best use of its money and its CEO's time is on designing and launching a warmer and cuddlier logo. Exactly how damaged is your brand for your to decide that changing it -- at this precise moment in your company's development -- is worth the risk of confusing millions of existing users? 

Some amusing clues to that come courtesy of Underconsideration.com which tracked down a copy of Uber’s rulebook for their new logo, adding: "I had never seen a page like this in guidelines. I guess it makes sense. Seems like it’s making up for previous bad behavior."

“Our logotype shouldn't be placed anywhere that could degrade our brand, like a urinal or a dartboard.”

Crikey. If you have to explicitly tell people not to put your logo on dartboards or in urinals you have problems that can’t be solved by changing that logo. (It also screws up Pando's 2016 merchandising strategy.) One might also add to that list of damaging places for the Uber logo to appear: The sponsor page of a police militarization conference and Emil Michael's business card.

Then there’s this instruction, not to do anything that might associate Uber with sex…

"Don't place the logotype on underwear, condoms, or anything else that would link Uber and sexual situations." 

...says the company whose own CEO refers to it as "Boober." 

And finally...

"...don't put the logotype on anything that will be thrown away... don't tread on the logotype... placing the Uber logotype on food like cakes or cookies puts it in a precarious pisition. It will be sliced, broken, bitten..."

Yes, Uber's branding gurus insist that the logo must never, ever appear on anything that the company might chew up, spit out, stomp on or throw away. 

Or, as Travis Kalanack calls them: Uber drivers.