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Logo Debranding: What Is It & Why Are Companies Debranding?

This article talks about logo debranding, a marketing term that created a buzz around April–May 2022, as well as debranding examples from big, well-known global companies.

A new term, debranding, has shaken the branding and marketing world. The word came out in one of Bloomberg’s YouTube videos, explaining about the evolution and shift in brand and company logos.

So, what is debranding? Is it a trend to look out for or just yet another overused marketing buzzword that will quickly pass by?

What Is Debranding?

At first, debranding sounds like companies stripping off their brand and — what? Not having a brand?

Well, according to the Bloomberg video, many big, global names from various industries have been debranding themselves. To name a few:

  • Burger King
  • Pfizer
  • Warner Brothers
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Airbnb

Check out this image below to see logo debranding examples from some well-known luxury fashion companies.

Logo debranding examples from Bloomberg Quint

In the Bloomberg video, the speaker explains that these companies — and many others — “have discarded depth and detail to debrand.”

This trend is shown by how these companies have stripped away the complexity of their original logos and started using the new flat, vector-friendly versions.

So, after watching the full video and going through the comment section — where many brand strategists, marketers, and designers alike shared their two cents — we had to agree that debranding is more about choosing a logotype or logomark over a complex, detailed logo.

The Real Reasons Why Companies Are Debranding

Logo debranding doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not without a reason. Here are some of the main factors that push companies to debrand their logo.

The demand for mobile-first design

The shift from desktop-first to mobile-first user behavior is one of the main reasons for logo debranding. The smaller screen size makes it difficult to keep using an intricate, detailed 3D logo, thus a simplified version of the original logo.

Flexibility

In line with the mobile-first design, logo debranding helps companies apply their logo on various canvases. We have so many different platforms today — from our own website to GDN ads, from images for Instagram to TikTok and YouTube videos. Without a flexible logo, it would be hard to fit into these various channels.

Company’s growth

As the company grows in age and maturity, it’s possible that some of the brand identity or values no longer apply. Logo debranding can be a way to represent the new company direction as well as create a new brand positioning and perception.

Below are more logo debranding examples that convey Shell’s and Starbucks’s growth to maturity.

And below is how the Pringles logo design gets simplified and modernized.

Logo Debranding or Logo Simplification?

For the reasons stated above, many think the term debranding is misleading. What’s actually happening is very loosely related to branding and more towards logo designing. And as we know, a logo is only a small part of the whole branding strategy

Instead of just debranding, marketers and designers suggest calling it logo simplification or logo debranding.

With simplification, logos become more versatile so it’s easier to maintain brand presence in every channel and touchpoint.

Logo debranding or logo simplification — no matter which term you prefer to use, current trends from the past years do show the tendency of brands to opt for flat design and logotype. It’s sleek, clean, and easily adaptable!

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