An Inside Look at How We Refreshed Yelp’s Logo & App Icons
Yelp’s original logo was inspired by the star symbol that appears above characters’ heads in a moment of discovery in cartoons. This star was representative of the moment Yelp users make a new, local discovery and the symbol has since evolved into Yelp’s iconic burst-shape logo.
Our new logo celebrates our legacy by refining with smoother, more geometric, and proportionate visuals. The Yelp word mark has been completely redrawn from scratch — inspired by our original logo. The word mark has retained the rounded quality of the original typeface but with more open counters and wider curves.
Variations of the burst shape were explored during the creative process. We played around with more rounded, geometric and new shapes. There were even conversations around the interlocking shapes between the star symbol and Yelp’s letter Y.
Ultimately, our team felt that refining our enduring brand positioned Yelp for success by unifying our existing brand elements. We focused our effort on creating one visual language between the logo and app icons.
The burst symbol was refined to be more open and rounded, while less boxy. The burst and word mark were designed in tandem and use similar radii to compliment one another.
The app icons presented the opportunity to create a consistent visual language around Yelp’s family of apps. While all of our apps are important, we wanted to ensure audiences would recognize Yelp apart from our other apps.
To do this, we applied a red background to Yelp as our primary app icon and utilized white backgrounds for our other apps. This helped establish hierarchy among the apps and drew attention to our primary app.
Another opportunity to make the design consistent was the app icon symbols. Prior to this project, each app icon was using a different visual style. Our Yelp for Business app used an illustrative approach whereas Yelp Waitlist and Yelp Reservations used abstracted symbols.
To create a consistent visual language, four app symbols were created to represent each app in a cohesive style. It was also important to ensure all symbols could provide strong contrast and support a gradient.
Originally, 16 different colors were used across our four app icons. This was inconsistent and displayed various visual styles. Now, all four apps use the same two styles in a consistent composition.
While flat UI is the industry standard, our team saw an opportunity to create a visually distinct and unique 3D style — specifically for Yelp. This glossy, embossed and rich visual language is a new style we’re excited to introduce where the texture of our app icons feel tactile and vibrantly fresh. This style is unconventional and a bold splash for a digital landscape filled with flat design.
At Yelp, we embrace bold decision making and beautiful design. Our culture empowers people and businesses to connect with their local communities and inspire positive change. Our team is beyond excited to propel Yelp into our company’s future with our fresh and bold new direction.