14 comments

  • Tom WoodTom Wood, 1 year ago

    Eli, you clearly work hard, do your research and care about what you're saying.

    However, your writing is heavy handed and you could really do with simplifying your sentences. I have to concentrate on your paragraphs too much to understand their meaning, and occasionally find myself zoning out on them before going back to restart them.

    In the way we're often taught to strip back and simplify design, I think your writing would really benefit from the same!

    12 points
    • A B, 1 year ago

      Government experts often say that because they’re writing technical or complex content for a specialist audience, they do not need to use plain English. This is wrong.

      Research shows that higher literacy people prefer plain English because it allows them to understand the information as quickly as possible.

      Applies accross the board: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/content-design/writing-for-gov-uk

      3 points
  • Daniel De LaneyDaniel De Laney, 1 year ago

    IBM made an error similar to Uber's attempt to "celebrate cities" prior to their Carbon design system. IBM's palette was almost comically broad, so that every conceivable color could be IBM. Which of course meant that they had no colors; if every color is IBM, none is.

    I hope to see this simple concept beaten into the popular design consciousness so that we can avoid repeating the same mistake.

    7 points
  • Eliot SlevinEliot Slevin, 1 year ago

    Loving this series Eli, can't wait for the conclusion.

    I get the motivations of trying to make uber feel more local, but when has that ever really worked out for a corporation? We all know they're global. Like Starbucks trying to be 'the neighbourhood coffee shop', at the end of the day we all know what it is.

    A local uber competitor has cropped up where I live (NZ), and their main marketing difference is - we pay tax. That's literally what people say about the company, they pay tax and the drivers get a fair cut. Everybody know 40% of their uber fare goes straight to the valley.

    Most of my thoughts and feelings from uber are literally from what the drivers say. When they were getting setup in my city they cut prices in an attempt to get more customers, without notifying the drivers - basically meaning all drivers get paid less. Of course, they were pissed, had a huge negative effect on the brand. Nice patterns and a picture of my city in the brand isn't going to change that. Actually caring about locals makes a brand feel local.

    I guess the best branding move is actually being a nice company lol.

    4 points
    • Eli SchiffEli Schiff, 1 year ago

      I guess the best branding move is actually being a nice company lol.

      I couldn't put it better.

      Uber will run 1,000 initiatives (they are currently). But nothing beats your business just being decent.

      2 points
  • Kyle DonmoyerKyle Donmoyer, 1 year ago

    Notices 2 instances of "lodestar" in the first few paragraphs.

    command - f "lodestar".

    1/3 2/3 3/3

    Someone learned a new word recently.

    3 points
  • Ben Patterson, 1 year ago

    Couple thoughts on this:

    So what then does Celebrating Cities look like?

    Picture a brand redesign from the imagination of a boomer couple traipsing around the developing world—the safe parts of course—collecting trinkets and patterned quilts in an effort to out-do their retiree friends back home. In essence, the ideology of the 2016 rebrand was cosmopolitan boomerism.

    This claim doesn't really pan for me. Do people mostly use Uber when they are traveling, or when they are in the home city? Why bring boomers into this? Are they the primary users are Uber?

    In 2016, “local” meant multicultural and vibrant independent communities. ... As we all know, the events that have transpired in the past several years have caused a semantic realignment. Those words no longer mean then what they did then. Today, ”local” harkens back to Uber’s rejected lodestar, “populist.” “Local” now means isolationist, nativist, xenophobic, and chauvinist.

    I didn't know the meaning of these words changed. Maybe I missed the memo, perhaps you could provide a reference?

    For instance, consider the Uber company mission statement. In 2016 it was, “Make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone.” Fact check: false. This is highly offensive to our fellow citizens around the world who still don’t have access to clean drinking water.

    Thank you for being preemptively offended on behalf of those poor folks in developing countries (I imagine its preemptive because you provided no evidence of their actual opinion).

    As I said, Uber is bringing back the “U,” you’ll just never notice it. And that is, in its way, the point. If a designer can’t renounce the past, the least he can do is disguise it.

    Not sure what this means. They brought back the U... But I won't notice it... and that's why they brought it back. And the designers did this because they can't renounce the past? But you just said:

    But overall, the rationale for not investing in a symbol had little to do with maintaining consistency between the brand elements: typeface, logo and icon. It instead had everything to do with exorcizing any perceivable remains of the Kalanick era.

    I guess they weren't exorcizing any perceivable remains of the Kalanick era.

    There are some good points buried in this article. Removing the "U" seems like a bad idea to me, and the icon label mismatch is a good point. I agree with you there. But if you're going to write "serious" criticism it needs to be better than this.

    3 points
  • Adam Fisher-CoxAdam Fisher-Cox, 1 year ago

    I read the intro about the exhaustive research and definitiveness of this series and then read a bunch of what basically sound like unsourced opinions and design analysis. It’s interesting, but as with part 1, I really don’t understand the “why” or even the “what” with this.

    2 points
  • Joe BlauJoe Blau, 1 year ago

    Very interesting external take. Definitely can't wait until part 3.

    0 points
  • John PJohn P, 1 year ago

    Even better read than the first.

    Missed opportunity not to present each article in the 3 major Uber brand stylings.

    -1 points