YouTube indecisive over rebrand

When Google acquired YouTube back in 2006, most people expected to see a rebrand to pull the video sharing site closer to its parent company’s corporate style.

That anticipated rebrand may finally be on the cards 7 years later as YouTube rolled out updates to its apps at the end of August, featuring a swanky new logo. Strange then, that the new branding has thus far failed to appear on YouTube’s web sites.

Questions are being asked, particularly in the light of Yahoo!’s disasterous rebrand, if Google has had a change of heart.


The new YouTube app.

The new logo features a red square, the famous YouTube TV shape imposed on it, this time in white, and a generic play icon — not too dissimilar to the favicon YouTube use. The new logo also features Google’s corporate face, Open Sans. And whilst I’m a big fan of the typeface, I do question the wisdom of using the lightest weight for a logo that will need to reproduce very small. Especially in the context of the impending iOS7 release and the light Helvetica the early designs used.


The new YouTube logo.

Given the relative complexities of updating a website and updating and distributing an app, you have to wonder, what’s the delay?

youtube on September 10th 2013.

It seems there are two possibilities: Either google has done a complete about-face and having launched the app with a new brand will be reverting to the Trade Gothic logo shortly; or a full redesign of the YouTube site is imminent.

Either way, the branding would have far more impact if launched across all fronts simultaneously.

What do you think of the new YouTube logo? Should YouTube switch to the new branding or stick with their old? Let us know your views in the comments.

  • Dan DiGangi

    I can’t help but love it! My thought was that Google might be prepping smaller brands for remarketing like YouTube with an eventually transition to the parent.

    Saw this yesterday and it sparked my attention:

  • Daveesh

    I wish people would stop referring to a logo redesign as a “rebrand.”

    • Doe


  • Paulus

    Great post, I would welcome the rebrand. I don’t think the new brand will fail like Yahoo’s did. It resembles the iconic play button which is already being associated with Youtube.

    “And whilst I’m a big fan of the typeface, I do question the wisdom of using the lightest weight for a logo that will need to reproduce very small.”
    Isn’t it likely the type will disappear when displayed very small?

    • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

      Yes, that’s exactly my concern. Open Sans is very good at small sizes but sometimes a logo like YouTube’s has to be very very small, and I’m not sure it makes sense to use a light weight when the normal and even semi-bold are available.

    • Brandon Gorthy

      Except that it is not going to be reproduced small, because all they have to use is the red box with the triangle in it. Youtube has trumped its image and visual positioning/aesthetic into a large enough audience that it doesn’t need to be conscientious of how it displays the YouTube type in its official full logo reproduced small. If you think like two seconds what YouTube is applied to, it is the internet, and the smallest and lowest resolution the logo and type are going to get is about 6pt size on a phone’s 720p lcd screen. You don’t watch youtube on paper. Besides, this type is not that thin at all, I don’t know why people don’t think it won’t scale. Just open the freaking youtube app on your phone.

  • shivabeach

    I like the current logo better.

  • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

    Ah, apologies Paulus if that’s the case.

    If so, then I don’t think that removing the text will work at a small size. Firstly you can’t control when the resolution (because that’s what we’re really talking about) will be too low; secondly its a new logo and will take a few years to become ingrained; thirdly, it’s no where near distinctive enough, the Nike logo (for example) is unique, this logo looks like a generic ‘play’ icon if you loose the subtleties of the TV shape.

    Just my opinion of course.

    • Tzvi Perlow

      Yeah, I guess they would need to add something, maybe the classic V shaped antennas on top or s/t.

    • Paulus

      That is what I meant yes, but I had trouble putting it to words.

      i thought with the right use of colors (red) the logo would be distinct enough to stand alone, but now I’m not sure enough. Sure a large part of the internet community will recognize the logo, but it would be wrong to ignore those who are not that internet savvy.

  • FartAtTheMoon


  • Corban Dallas

    In my opinion this logo is awful, there is no personality, its too flat and the type-setting is awful. Look at the piss-poor kerning… You could drive a truck between the Y and the O. The Creative Director on this project should be hesitant to release this logo-refresh because it looks like an intern or second year college student created it.

    Sorry to hate on this one, but just because Apple moves to the flat iconography doesn’t mean that everything else has to. I’m just saying that the phrase “Brand-Gap” is around for a reason.

    • Oliver Gašpar

      While Apple’s been creating design trends (and practically declaring what looks good) for as long as I can think of, I do believe Microsoft is responsible for the flat boom. Even with all the hate towards the new Start screen and Metro UI, I saw those flat icons popping up on me all day weeks, if not months, before I even heard some iOS 7 is on the way.

      • Brandon Gorthy

        Not even Microsoft is responsible for this. That is just where the generation of design trends is at right now. Go onto and you will see how trendy flat design has been even before the new Windows and their phones. In addition to this, the pure google android interface was LONG FLAT before the iPhone was. Designers are naive to think Apple is the one creating these trends. Apple started a trend and then people went from there. Now Apple just provides better hardware. Apple is the last to enter this design trend game of “flatness”.

  • Sharon

    It’s a bit dull if you ask me

  • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

    In a classroom it is just a logo. However, in the actual world, you can’t dissect branding like that.

    To suggest such a major revision to a company’s visual identity — and the resulting change of hierarchy in every document it is applied to — has no affect on wider branding, is to completely misunderstand design fundamentals.

    The terms weren’t used interchangeably, and they were used correctly.