This year American Airlines said goodbye to their iconic logo, designed in 1968 by Massimo Vignelli, and introduced a new logo from Futurebrand. The Flight Symbol is both a bird and a wing, without the original logo’s Cold War-era talons.

Art collective Maentis released this unforgiving redesign of some of the world’s biggest corporations, meant to expose the assorted scandals and ethical transgressions. The McDonald’s golden arches are inflated into an obese “M”; BP is rendered as a bird covered in oil.

For the cloud storage start up Mesosphere, Ammunition designer Brett Wickens (who created the logo for The Sopranos) conceived of an animated, ever-evolving logo. The letter "M" forms the core of the icon, but it's also an abstraction of the cloud.

Tokyo Kate Spade used to release a new product in stores every Saturday. The resulting paper marketing built up quickly, so Kate Spade tapped design firm Control Group to reinvent its signage, on iPads. The rebranding turned into an entire new retail effort. The online only shop--dubbed Saturday--is geared toward young consumers.

Designer Jessica Hische documented the very subtle series of nips and tucks she gave to the Mail Chimp logo. At first blush, the logo hasn’t changed much. But a closer look reveals some canny aligning and spacing in the lettering--which together show off the power of good graphic design.

Black metal band logo designer Christophe Szpadjel took on the challenge of making brands like Google, Microsoft, and Prada (and Fast Company) appear just as hardcore as his typical clients.

The FedEx logo isn't new--but the story behind its creation was new to our ears this year. Read the tale of how Lindon Leader created the famous icon, and why it works here.

Starbucks opened its flagship Teavana store in New York this fall. The shop caters to tea-lovers in search of a more calming experience. To achieve that, the coffee company created a new double-walled cup with a softer, rounder spout.

When Newsweek decided to stop publishing in print and move everything online, the publication approached Brooklyn-based Huge to help them design the transition. The digital experience is meant to mimic the feeling of print journalism thanks to clean pages and big, beautiful images.

Online fashion news site Refinery29 has dramatically expanded its readership since launching in 2005. The founders worked with Wolff Olins to both rethink the graphics of the site and logo, and sharpen the company's editorial focus.

Co.Design

The Top Branding Stories Of 2013

From shapeshifting brand identities to death metal-inspired corporate logos, here’s a retrospective of the year in branding.

Rebranding is tough work. A logo isn’t just a logo—it’s a way of telling the world what your company stands for (it can also incite serious consumer rage. Remember Gap’s notorious misstep in 2010?). In some cases branding can almost turn into marriage counseling for companies: how do you want to grow, and who (or what audience) do you want to grow with?

Over the course of 2013 we spoke with mega companies like American Airlines and Starbucks, fashion-focused groups like Kate Spade and Refinery29, and even individual designers with their own bold, non-commissioned ideas about branding, all to find out about how they’re repositioning themselves for 2014 and the years to come. Here's some of the best of what we saw.

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4 Comments

  • Joonggul Ro

    Move your cursor to the top of the images and you'll see a text box and there will be an underlined title then click them.

  • Margaret - I'm excited to read this article - I love brand redesigns. But respectfully, where the hell do I click to read the rest of it? Am I completely overlooking a CTA somewhere?