Change is inevitable, and it is often a sign of progressing time. The industry saw revamping and changing colour palettes as the prominent trends.
Many iconic brands only tweaked certain parts of their logos, while some completely changed their outlook. Air India’s rebranding was one of the most talked about rebranding exercises in the country. India’s first commercial airline unveiled a new brand identity, stripping off the iconic logo design that the brand had been associated with for decades.
In February this year, global tech giant Nokia announced a redesign of its logo. The brand got rid of its blue logo first time in 60 years and chose to adorn a futuristic look with an array of colours and typography.
The same month saw another global brand Castrol refresh its logo with a more modern, dynamic, and vibrant design. The brand mentioned that this was done to better adapt to the changing customer needs.
Similarly, more brands took the rebranding approach. The aerated/soft drink industry saw multiple brands revamping their logos and identities.
Global brands like 7 Up, Minute Maid, Pepsi, Fanta and Mirinda were some notable names in the category. Back home, yesteryear brand Campa and Xotik Frujus’ Jeeru redid their identities.
But, why was rebranding ‘The trend’ of the year?
Rutu Mody-Kamdar, Founder of Jigsaw Brand Consultants thinks it was an attempt to stay relevant. She said, “Several companies have been re-branding with the hope to survive and become relevant in a competitive market.”
Young audiences spark change
With the Gen-Z audience base gaining decision-making powers and becoming the driving force for product sales, brands have started to cater to this demographic heavily. In an attempt to build loyalty among this age group, revamping their old selves became a norm for many brands.
Ashish Mishra, CEO, of Interbrand, India & South Asia spoke about the intended target audience for this trend. He said, “Most brands and packs were in a hurry to reinvent themselves to be relevant to the new young customer and their sensibilities.”
Shashwat Das, Founder of Almond Branding said, "The need to stand out in a competitive market usually drive brands to update their packaging for a fresh and contemporary look. Changes in consumer preferences, lifestyles, and purchasing behaviour could have also fuelled the trend so that they can better connect with their target audience."
Earlier this year, the Indian home-grown soft drink brand, Jeeru let go of its old name and design, and renamed it J.
In a previous conversation with Social Samosa, Anjana Ghosh, CEO - of Xotik Frujus spoke about the new design and its conceptualization and said, “The new design and vibrant 6 colours are aimed at creating higher brand recall with a sharper identity amongst New India.”
J also intended to connect with young, new India.
She further stated that the objective behind this rebranding was to stand out of the clutter and shine amongst the hundreds of other brands whilst connecting with the younger generation who prefers desi over the West.
Similarly, the iconic Indian brand Eveready unveiled a new logo this year. With a smarter and younger look, the brand wanted to appeal to a newer set of audiences. Anirban Banerjee told Social Samosa, “Through its legacy standing, the brand has built a cultish reputation for itself. This rebranding was done to understand if the brand holds the ‘cult’ status 20 years later.”
Baskin Robbins was another such brand that rejigged its brand identity by unveiling a fresh logo and new colours. With this new makeover, the brand aims to increase affinity and loyalty among a younger generation of consumers as well.
Changing brand values
For many brands, the objective behind rebranding was to reflect their changing ethos. At the beginning of July, Elon Musk’s Twitter (now X) saw a major change as the brand completely re-did its identity. A big reason for the change was stated that the platform aims to turn itself into an everything app, bringing in changes in the brand’s ethos.
Before selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014, Nokia held a huge market share in the mobile phone market. As the company changed its modus operandi and core values by entering the B2B market, the tech company redid its brand identity. The strategic change was also done to establish itself as a B2B technology player in the market.
Nandini Kulkarni, CEO, of Idiom Design and Consulting said, “The primary reason for many of these [rebranding] was a business shift.”
Maximalism & Pop colours
Close to a decade ago, Indian brands and consumers were vastly focusing on a minimalistic approach. This year, however, brands did a 180 and maximalism became a new trend. The reason behind this shift in colours is changing narratives in how brands are positioning themselves.
Ashish Mishra said, “[This year] The narrative of pride, joy, celebration, optimism, cultural richness, and grandeur ruled.”
Brands like Mirinda used a palette of colours consisting of purple, red, yellow, green and turquoise with different patterns to connect with the Gen-Z. According to the brand, the new colours were an honour to creativity and uniqueness in all generations.
Similarly, fashion brand Urbanic’s dynamic logo was presented in eight different colours that keep changing. Rahul Dayama, Head of Marketing at Urbanic had told Social Samosa that these new colours and typography aimed to foster inclusivity.
Ice cream brand Vadilal’s Flingo also used vibrant colours, personified characters, and handwritten messages on its packaging to connect with young audiences.
Nandini Kulkarni thinks that the reason for this is India’s love for grand things. She said, “Brands this year realized that Indians inherently hate minimalism. Additionally, I feel with minimalism, everything ends up looking very similar. And thus, to break the clutter and stand out from the rest, brands chose maximalism over minimalism.”
India as a country in general is known for being grandiose and colourful. From wedding pandals, to festive celebrations and cultural nuances, maximalism is embedded in the country’s culture.
Rutu Mody-Kamdar has similar thoughts on this. She said, “Banking on the fact that bold and maximalist packaging sticks in the mind, this design trend is about retaining the brand strongly in a highly cluttered mind of the consumer since these designs are relatively easy to grasp and remember.”
Moving logos have gained popularity in recent years. Global brands like Netflix, Google, LG among others have inspired other brands to walk in their footsteps. This year, a few Indian brands also took the static approach. Polycab incorporated a sonic logo in its rebranding process. Retaining its brand colours and values, the brand introduced a crescent ‘O’ which was termed as the Innovo.
The brand aimed to build a brand connection with the sonic logo. Nilesh Malani, CMO of Polycab told Social Samosa, “We as a brand want to establish that whenever you hear the sound, it reminds you of Polycab.”
Walking on the same path, Tata.ev unveiled a new brand identity. The logo wasn’t just a static one but was also paired with a distinct sound.
Gautam Patil, Co-founder & Head of Design, PlusOne said, “A digital-first brand logo was in demand. That's why we saw a lot of dynamic brand identities. Branding has shifted from being static to motion. Brands want to look younger and connect with the younger consumer better.”
Pop culture & Occasion marketing
Moving beyond just topical posts, this year brands used their visual identities as a way to stay relevant and become a part of the ongoing conversations. Many brands this year made use of special events and festivals to bank on the occasion marketing frenzy with limited edition products and some permanent packaging.
Globally, Barbie Core had brands in a tight grip during the movie’s release. Baskin Robbins India became the official partner for the movie and launched a mermaid-themed ice cream with special edition packaging.
Bollywood took part in the movie partnership trend as well. Bisleri and SRK’s Jawan teamed up to launch special edition bottles for the former’s promotions.
Netflix’s The Archies collaborated with Starbucks and launched a limited-edition holiday menu and cups.
Visual identities go big during festivals in general. It's a time when brands shed their mundane packaging and incorporate glitters and art.
Like every year, this festive season, brands went all out on hampers and gift boxes. D2C brand Phool’s Diwali box took a trip down India’s history and its diverse dynasties that helped shape the nation that is today.
Tata Tea Gold unveiled an entire line of festive edition packaging that aligned with Durga Puja named #BanglarNokshaPujo. These products were exclusively sold in West Bengal.
Lay’s India celebrated Assam’s Bhumi Pujan ceremony by launching a special edition packet that incorporated the cultural nuances of the state.
Innovation & sustainability took small strides
This year, innovation wasn’t just evident in the form of CGI campaigns, but it made its way into the brand’s visual identities as well.
McDonald’s India launched a Kartik Aaryan-themed 4-piece meal which had a QR-code-enabled packaging. The QR packaging enabled fans to take a virtual selfie with the brand ambassador.
Gautam Patil opined that this was done to engage with the consumer and retain a loyal customer base. He said, “Augmented reality (AR), near-field communication (NFC), and QR codes were used to provide interactive and immersive experiences for consumers. By scanning a code or using a smartphone app, customers can access additional product information.”
Although rebranding was the highlight for visual identities, sustainability took a backseat. Only a handful of brands incorporated sustainable packaging and designs.
Pepsi.Co India released its Pepsi Black soft drink in 100% recycled PET bottles(rPET) in the country.
Brawny Bear, a D2C nutrition brand, introduced compostable packaged chocolates, becoming one of the first to do so.
Tat.ev took its sustainability goal forward by using an eco-friendly approach. The new logo’s print materials were designed on a white background, which reduces ink usage, whereas the digital collaterals used a dark mode style using a black base, thereby reducing battery consumption.
This year brands tweaked and redid their visual identities to better connect with the younger audience and incorporated maximalism into their brand outlook.