Big Brands of 2016

by Stan Walker

2016 has seen a number of big brand evolutions and upheavals. Love them or loathe them – possibly you didn’t even notice them – they are here to stay (well, some of them are at least).


Have you noticed the added detail in your most recent pint of Guinness? Well, if you’ve had one in the last 6 months or so then maybe. The age old recipe stands firm, as will the abundance of retro Guinness branding. The most trendiest bars may now however have the ‘New’ brand on show somewhere. The added detail is incorporated into the harp icon, intended to effortlessly blend the old and new. The old ‘New’ icon, possibly developed with similar intentions, appears more modern in comparison, the very point which necessitated the change.


What’s new in the now bigger, bolder, brighter, beautiful game? If you are a football fan, or perhaps even if you aren’t, you can’t help but have noticed the almost mesmerizing intensity of the new Premier League branding launched last year. Simplified vastly to a core lion icon with variations of the typographic detailing, it is a brash and confident move towards world domination, unless it goes to penalties of course.


Instagram. So you have heard of it? The new brand, which probably updated on your phone a few months ago, has received very mixed receptions. It is an iconic mark and given the youth of the company this is a positive thing. But is it too simplistic? More to the point, is it too sympathetic? It’s not the shape that’s the issue, it’s the tones and the perhaps childish colouring. It certainly has a stand out feel (maybe that’s the great thing about it), but could it commit more? What colour would you say it is?


New – if coming from the past is the new Co-op branding. I’m not certain if this really counts as a re-brand, more a resurrection of an old flame. Utilising an old brand developed in the 1960’s, seeking to cement a position on many a local street parade as a nations trusted favourite, being able to tug on peoples’ emotional heart strings, whether they know it or not, is a card worth playing. Or perhaps it’s outdated, old fashioned and out of touch? Wreaking of avocado bathrooms and Artex ceilings? Either way, it had us talking…

There have been a wealth of big brand changes and upheavals recently, MasterCard, Uber, Deliveroo to name a few, and as mentioned above, you may or may not have noticed them. What’s important I guess, is that nothing is perfect, nothing is untouchable, and nothing is sacred. Some things remain core to a brand, and whilst there is always room to develop, it’s vital to know who your market is and how to relate to them. After all, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?