For the first time since 1975, American Express is showing off a new logo. The catch? The change is so subtle that you may not even notice it.
The credit card company swapped out its blue box with a gradient for… wait for it… a blue box without a gradient. This seemingly small change is part of a complete brand redesign by design studio Pentagram.
— Pentagram Design (@pentagram) April 9, 2018
“We didn’t want people to say, oh, did you see that new logo [ugh],” said Miller in Fast Co Design. “It was more if you cleaned the smudges off your lenses. It’s cleaner. Clearer.”
To complement the crisp blue background, Miller also made “American Express” bolder by redrawing the letters. In the original version of the logo, the letters were outlined with no true negative space of their own. In the updated version, they can live anywhere as type alone, making them more legible and consistent across digital platforms.
The logo’s bold statement also easily translates to smartphones and apps with a cropped version, featuring an off-center “Amex” optimized for small screens.
“It’s the haiku version of the original blue box logo,” said Miller in Quartz. “We loved that this version works the same way a good crop of a photograph can snap things into focus and put your eye directly on what matters, delivering a stronger punch than the original image.”
With this minimalist logo, American Express joins brands like Apple, Google, Pepsi, and Facebook, emphasizing simplicity in the age of overstimulation.
Emily has written for some of the top tech companies, covering everything from creative copywriting to UX design. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling the world (next stop: Japan!), brewing kombucha, and biking through the Pacific Northwest.