Udacity logo: redesign of a redesign

The new Udacity logo

Recently Udacity redesigned its logo and visual identity. They explain the rationale:

Our new logo is a play on the old style serif “U” of many established universities. The right end transforms and rises, symbolising Udacity’s forward progression and commitment to constantly innovating our students’ learning experience
A streamlined sans serif font for “Udacity” reflects the simplicity we value in our user experience
On the left the old logo, on the right the new one

Sebastian Thrun explains on his website that Udacity stands for “we are audacious, for you, the student”.

On the Udacity website they explain the name “it’s a play on the word “audacity” and combines University and “you”, the student”.

They use this words play a lot. Just a few examples:

  • In the Computer Science 101 course there’s an exercise on strings manipulation where you have to find some characters in the string “De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace
  • During my Frontend Nanodegree the top rating when passing a project was “Exceeds Expectations (completely Udacious)”
  • “Stay Udacious” is something you read everywhere on the website

Neither the old logo nor the new one tell this story. And it’s a valuable story.

How to tell the story? I think it could be a good start to translate the words play into a characters play. Let’s play with the “a” and the “u”.

Udacity logo redesign sketch

Going from paper sketch to sketch app:

Playing with ‘a’ and ‘u’

There are many possible ways to judge the quality of a logo. Telling the story behind the company effectively is one of them. In the case of Udacity the story of the name of the company is very interesting, it tells something about the values of the founder, and it’s used everyday by teachers and students: it’s too important to leave it out of the mark.

compare to: