Branding Hell or Why Did Chevron Redesign?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Reading my newsfeeds today I came across a fairly old piece of news. I wonder if others have seen this. [Via Oskarlin] I am not a branding guru, but this seems entirely misguided.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Ugh, tell me about it. I kinda agree with Oskarlin's take on the whole thing.

TBiddy's picture

If I see another rebrand I'm going to chuck. What's going on? Before you couldn't get any company to know that they needed to rebrand, and now they're doing it even if the don't have to. I'm starting to think this is an economy thing. If we see the auto industry follow suit, I'll bet that's probably what's happening. They're probably thinking: rebrand=revenue recoup.

dezcom's picture

Makes it look more military to me, Purple Heart, Medal of Honnor ribbons--that and the name Chevron.


Eric_West's picture

We should send these folks a big message by NOT going on about their excrement.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

my favorite cynical rebranding exercise is this one...

dan_reynolds's picture

Wait a minute, I'm not so inflamed by this one.

First of all, Chevron's old logo wasn't really that awesome. It is just so iconic, because we've seen it forever.

They've picked this up ad 3D-fied it… it looks a little internet-y, but it could be way worse. At least it doesn't look like a simple photoshop filter, a la UPS.

Plus, that old typeface wasn't really working, and seems dated.

I know, I know. This new treatment looks dated, too. But I doubt it will last for decades. But the time it gets too dated, they'll replace it again. Probably before then even, at the rate things are going…

dux's picture

The cap C in the new logo looks a bit too tall, but that's besides the point.

I'm no great fan of either logo, but the rebrand ticks all the right boxes that oskerlin notes. Despite your dislike of trademark rebrands of today (swooshes, gradients, cuddly aesthetics), it is certainly a contemporary corporate badge. As designers at the point where this bullshit is spun, it is all very transparent to us. No doubt this was consumer-tested to the hilt, and I'm sure regular folk (not us higher people) would have given it their thumbs up. I think it's a clever, but nonetheless frighteningly successful rebrand.

rs_donsata's picture

Type on the new logo is weak, and the volume added to the chevrons reminds me a lot of the actual elf logo ( and the JAL one (


hrant's picture

Guys, be happy: sometimes, rebrand = custom type.


dan_reynolds's picture

But that happens SO seldom. More often rebrand = same old typefaces you see everywhere, or rebrand = custom fonts that are really just data that has been stolen and renamed to avoid paying proper licensing fees.

Stefan H's picture

Ouch, it hurts to see good old logotypes getting killed like this! I've seen this "3D trend" coming on for some time now. It seems that designers today are just too fixed on what can be done on the screen. Even if the printed sector have decreased over they years, the logotype still have to befitted well for several different environment and solutions. Btw, I recently noticed that the VISA logo also has been remade... to the worse of course. I think it will hit back somehow?!

Miss Tiffany's picture

Larger version for those interested.

Miss Tiffany's picture

They logotype is just plain amateurish. The letterforms do not seem even to be from the same type family. The _e_ is huge. The _v_ is tiny. The _C_ is falling. Don't even get me started on the ribbons.

dezcom's picture

C'mon Tiff, it's a blue ribbon winner :-)


Eric_West's picture

I think everything will come full circle eventually. Just like cars. Ford is phasing out their mini-van for a station-wago... I mean, something that resembles a station wagon, but that's not what they're calling it.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Yes. Exactly. As soon as the entire world is bathing in aqua goodness we will once again get to enjoy a nice simple solid color area. :^P

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Whenever I see these remade logos with their shiny 3-D computer graphics effects, I wonder what the one-color versions will look like... Well, the other day I saw the side of a UPS box printed in just one color, and the new logo looked like this. Without all of the Photoshop shine, there's not much left in the swoosh that replaced the package which was part of the former logo.

dezcom's picture

Ricardo, That version looks better to me than the fake 3d crap but still not better than Randy's original.


Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Right on, Chris!


Isaac's picture

Someone I went to school with told me this story: Every time she would tell her mother about her ideas for her (graphic design) thesis project her mother would say, "But that doesn't have anything to do with computers!"
All of this faux-3D rebranding makes me think that maybe it really is all about computers. It's depressing because it means we're that much closer to being replaced by monkies. Monkies who happen to be marginally trained in Photoshop, but monkies nonetheless. Maybe we lost some sort of vote and the computer kids won. So here's my personal rebrand slogan: graphic design = computers.
That type is pretty lame. Not just by itself, but in the context of being on every other street corner in North America. What are they afraid of? Why does it have to be so wimpy and non-descript? I mean, I know why it is (blasted focus groups!), but why does it HAVE to be?

dotsara's picture

I don't hate it, but it's a little bit of a bummer. I've been a fan of their old/currently-at-stations type for a long time, now.

That first version that you pointed to, Miss Tiffany, the red in the new logo looks positively magenta next to the old logo. In the second version, after a beat, it seems to be red again, but that's just weird.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

All of this faux-3D rebranding...

Maybe, instead of branding or rebranding, we could just call it... blanding. To wit, an imaginary board meeting at Blah, Inc.:

Suit #1: We need to change our image and update our logo!

Suit #2: I'll get our blanding group working on it right away!

Eric_West's picture

ba da bump!
as Ms. PIggy chases Kermit off the stage.

dezcom's picture

There are no designers in charge of "Branding". They used to be in charge when it was called "corporate identity" but now it is all marketing guys who like to "refresh" brands as often as they refresh the brandy they are sniffing.


Chris Rugen's picture

From what Oskar wrote, (in the post linked in the original post here), I'd say that Chevron went with the simplest, safest design change. They're clearly trying to soften their image and that visual link with ribbons is a single-move way to turn the militaristic echelons into softer friendly forms. They're succumbing to every new trendy logo rework technique, which is a shame, but they're actually sticking very close to their original image, which is rare.

I've seen some other companies ignore their brand's heritage in ways I believe hurt their image. However, in this case, I think Chevron would've benefitted from a BP-style (Oh, I'm sorry. 'bp-style') redesign/rebrand. I think they should break more of the fetters to their old look if their old image is so problematic and static. BP did this very boldly and very successfully. They really do seem much more committed to the shift of 'oil company to energy company' than most (they seem much more committed). Though, I have yet to see Chevron's new campaign, which may help reinforce the message of change.

I don't really like the type Chevron chose, as it's kind of a say-nothing face in today's context, but I have no doubt it's what they wanted. All-in-all I'd say it's a safe and logical move, even if it's not a stellar logo. I don't think the logo is really going to be their biggest issue in trying to alter their image in the minds of their customers, but that's partially their own fault. Again, bp did a great job of designing a flagship logo to spearhead their philosophical image shift.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Just a little design history.

My source told me that John Downer did the last version the now defunct logo.

"My main objective, back in 1991-1992, when I was
working in SF, was to center the v in "Chevron" and
I nearly accomplished it to my own satisfaction. It
was just a tad off, due to the fact that C has to be
wider than r. In short, the h matches the width of
the n; and the e matches the width of the o. The
balancing act is definitely not a merit of the new
incarnation. Its symmetry is rather poor, in fact."

It is nice to here such effort being put into something. He was their signage consultant for a while as well.

I can see that the new Chevron logo is softer, but if the goal was to move away from military-like ribbons, I think they didn't quite make it. Anyway, it is the type that disturbs me the most I think.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

ba da bump!
as Ms. PIggy chases Kermit off the stage.

I was hoping someone would do that, Eric. :-D

Typagraphig's picture

After seeing this Chevron re-design, I felt compelled to register here and just say:
This re-design was not only pointless, but horrible.

It looks like a lame stab at trying to spruce up a well established branding. Why not just slap a leaf on it like all the other companies?

The gradients are hurting my eyes, and keep sending my eyeballs off in a different direction.

In fact, at first, I didn't even notice they used some lame stock font and altered it (ever so slightly).

The C and h look ridiculous together and the r and n aren't my favorite either.

I think I'm going to be sick.

- Yokimato

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