HomeInsightsMarketingrp Reacts: Branding Maximalism

rp Reacts: Branding Maximalism

Our two cents on this new branding trend.

It appears maximalism is the new minimalism. Last year, we saw many brands simplifying their visual identities, following a debranding trend. Fast forward to now, sentiments have changed and some brands are going against the grain. Pepsi’s and Burberry’s recent rebrands have added a lot more detail and focused more on each brand’s heritage. The response has been extremely positive. Meanwhile, the new We ❤️NYC rebrand has not received as warm of a welcome.

Here are our team’s thoughts on these rebrands and this new trend of branding maximalism:

It’s All in the Details

The promises of technology and the pressures of the pandemic pushed us into a cleaner, more minimalist mindset, similar to how the flu of 1918 changed home design. Now the pendulum is swinging back toward experiences, realism, and all the intricate details and small bits of friction that entails — in life and in branding.

There is also the explosion of AI. Heritage and craftsmanship can differentiate brands from their slick, generative competitors.
Karla Jackson, Creative Director

The thing all three of these brands have in common is a deep history, and why not lean into that with a more maximalist approach? It’s what separates them from the soulless DTC startups and flash in the pan tourist hot spots.
Samara Anderson, VP of Sales and Marketing

I appreciate that a lot of these brands seem to have learned from their past and have made genuinely better logos today.
Spencer Watson, Sr. Graphic Designer

Brands are now becoming more detailed and returning to their roots for the same reason the youths are dressing like it’s 1995: everything comes back around in reaction to what is currently en vogue. Everybody’s wearing skinny jeans? Time to bring back loose fits. All logos are simplified? Time to bring back details and more complex design. It’s all an effort to stand out from the crowd, and what stands out more than the opposite of what everyone else is doing?
Sterling Crawford, IT Operations Specialist

Brands followed a trend towards the middle and now they all feel the same—so now they need to differentiate.
Drew Beamer, Associate Creative Director

Pepsi’s Solid Refresh

This is exactly where Pepsi should operate. This new, bolder logo feels right, has some character to it, and looks more confident overall. That being said, solid branding can’t fix flavor, and Pepsi will always be the second most popular brand of soda.
Spencer Watson, Sr. Graphic Designer

For Pepsi, updating its brand is as much a statement as any element in the logo itself. They want to be associated with youth and pop culture, and that changes all the time. It’s a nice evolution that references the original Pepsi globe but with fresh colors and fonts.
Karla Jackson, Creative Director

Okay, guess I’m in the minority with the Pepsi rebrand, but I’m not sold. I think that the bold blue and the updated typeface are exciting and a welcome change. But I can’t get over the new ‘globe’ looking more like a flag, and I can’t say I think that was a good choice.
Abigail Timms, Graphic Designer

Nothing groundbreaking, but better than the 2008 rebrand. Feels more true to who they are.
Drew Beamer, Associate Creative Director

Burberry at Its Best

Burberry definitely nailed it! There is something so boring and heartless about the minimalist movement luxury brands have been taking with their logos, and Burberry is a beautiful breath of fresh air. It nods to the brand’s history without feeling outdated. I’m in love.
Abigail Timms, Graphic Designer

Luxury brands sometimes need a luxurious logo, and I’m glad Burberry chose that route. Updating an old mark for the modern day can be challenging, but I think they nailed it here. And oh man do I love the way they’re treating photos!
Spencer Watson, Sr. Graphic Designer

Likely a smart move — Burberry’s time as an “it” brand has passed, and they need to reclaim its status as a luxury brand rather than a trendy brand. The new logo does that by combining the heritage of the mark with a font closer to the last iteration.
Karla Jackson, Creative Director

Praise be. So glad Burberry is embracing something that sets them apart from every other brand that got caught up in the over simplification trend.
Drew Beamer, Associate Creative Director

Nobody ❤️s We ❤️ NYC

The original I ❤️NY was designed by Milton Glaser to promote tourism in all of NY. Not just the city but the entire huge state full of mountains, lakes and farms…

The shading on the heart sucks.

The asymmetrical stacking sucks.

And the font is boring.

I’ve lived all over that state, and I thought this logo was just a prank/joke.
Sarah Scott, Associate Creative Director

Why mess with something so iconic that didn’t need to change? It stinks of a committee of economic development people trying to separate NYC from NY. No one was confused. Stay in your lane.
Drew Beamer, Associate Creative Director

Truly the best example of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I’ve seen since I’ve learned about design. Modern + fresh ≠ making the heart look like an emoji.
Abigail Timms, Graphic Designer

I, we and y’all 😡😱🫠☠️💩 NYC.
Karla Jackson, Creative Director

For the We heart NYC design there’s three problems in my mind:

  1. It’s not square anymore
  2. Adding the “C” was entirely unnecessary
  3. The bold, blocky, sans serif font is entirely soulless compared to the original standard weight, wiggly, serif font.
  4. Who the heck is “we”? If I am buying a gimmicky product like that, I want it to be about ME.

I heart NY is simplistic, but looks intentional. The redesign looks like someone used Helvetica Bold in MS Word , threw in an emoji, and took a screenshot.
Sterling Crawford, IT Operations Specialist

I Don’t ❤️NYC. 
Spencer Watson, Sr. Graphic Designer

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