For the first time since launch YouTube has changed its logo. The word ‘Tube’ in YouTube has escaped the red ‘tube’ in which it has been encased for the past 12 years. The changes are subtle and crucially rely on iconography that users are already familiar with – definitely evolution rather than revolution.
In this instance, research with the audience revealed little differentiation between recognition of the red play button and the word YouTube itself. The play button over the years has become the unofficial mark of the brand, so much so that it could easily be incorporated into the new logo.
Going with such a simple idea probably wouldn’t have worked when YouTube first launched. It’s a confident brand that chooses a functional symbol as a core element of its identity – much more easily done once established.