The big news for Fitbit today was the announcement of the Blaze fitness watch, the company’s first product that competes in a more direct way with Apple than ever before.
But the real news to me, nerdy designer that I am, was a subtle change that would go unnoticed by most. Fitbit updated their logo.
I am intimately familiar with the Fitbit logo, having worked with it every day for over two years as art director for the company (I left in 2012). Before I comment on the new logo, let me be clear: I didn’t design the original logo, so don’t take anything I say as sour grapes. The original logo was designed by Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park, whom I’m certain will be embarrassed that I’m outing him as a multitalented individual with aesthetic abilities (but he deserves the credit).
I’ve designed my fair share of brand identities, and I’ve always liked James’ original Fitbit mark. It’s excellent in many ways: It properly balanced friendly and tech, its dots evoked the original hardware product’s OLED display, and it had a clever arrow in the diamond symbol that conjured up the idea of movement or exercise.
Let’s look at what’s changed…
Weight & Balance
The improvements here are clear, especially when you compare the two tiny sizes above: The thicker strokes of the new typeface work better and have stronger character (a good attribute for a company going up against one of the biggest companies in the world). The larger diamond of the new logo balances the logotype better and is more recognizable at small sizes.
The change here is hardly noticeable without a color picker, but the dark gray of the old logotype is replaced with a very dark blue. It’s a good change given that Fitbit’s products come in a plethora of colors today, but it’s also an appropriately staid change that allows the brandmark to work in many environments, and alongside many other colors, without clashing. It’s hard to tell if they darkened the teal slightly or if it’s just a function of the color in the SVG I grabbed from their website.
This change mystifies me somewhat. I suppose one can characterize the increasing size of the dots in the new logo as “more vibrant” and perhaps even motion-oriented. But losing the arrow in the dots takes away a glimmer of delight and cleverness from the old logo. Additionally, I’m not sure I like how the larger dots close up at very small sizes.
I think this change is solid (especially given what I said earlier about the weight), but I have to wonder what the reasoning was behind losing the font’s rounded ends. One could posit that Fitbit is trying to look more mature and less playful, and this is understandable given the company’s growth over the past 5 years and its worldwide dominance in the fitness market.
Assuming my presumptions about Fitbit’s identity strategy are not totally off the mark, I’d grade this redesign an A, although I mourn slightly the loss of some character and cleverness of the old logo.
Perhaps Fitbit’s creative team will chime in and explain the changes. It’s always enlightening to the design community to hear the reasoning behind brand identity changes, and this redesign would be no exception.