Freepik new 2023 logo: Was it worth it?

Last Modified: Sep 20th, 2023 - Category: Branding, News, Web Design
2691 words, 14 minutes estimated read time.
Freepik new 2023 logo: Was it worth it?

Freepik New 2023 Logo: A Fresh Look with a Slight Miss

In the ever-evolving world of design, brands must keep pace to stay relevant. As an advocate for powerful visual communication and a practitioner in the UX field, I couldn’t help but cast a critical eye over Freepik’s recent logo change and overall rebranding.

Freepik, a renowned Spanish stock image platform, has been recognized for providing high-quality photographs, video resources, icons, and presentations both for free and on a subscription basis. Born in 2010, this platform quickly garnered global attention. Founded by Alejandro and Pablo Sánchez Blanes in conjunction with Joaquín Cuenca, its commitment was clear: provide top-notch graphic resources for users worldwide.

To date, Freepik’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. With a 12-year trajectory marked by exponential growth, the company boasts impressive financials. The numbers are compelling: 45 million dollars in revenue for 2020, which saw a jump to 62 million dollars in 2021, and an impressive 81 million in 2022, marking a 25% increase from the previous year.

Moreover, its global influence is undeniable. Freepik has amassed over 100 million monthly users worldwide, powered by a team of 567 employees, over 600 remote designers, and more than 42,000 collaborators. And with a staggering collection of more than 50 million resources, it’s no surprise that they’ve become a significant player in the digital content arena.

But enough about the past. Let’s delve into the heart of the matter: the Freepik new 2023 logo and its associated rebranding.

The Good: A Deep Dive into Freepik’s Forward-Thinking Rebranding

In the vast world of design and branding, it’s imperative for brands to remain on the forefront, always evolving and adapting to the whims and preferences of their audience. As a passionate observer of brand evolutions, I’ve always kept a keen eye on Freepik, one of the leaders in the design space. So, when I learned they were collaborating with Partners in Crime, a top-tier creative agency from San Francisco, my expectations skyrocketed.

I wasn’t disappointed. They didn’t just roll out a mere aesthetic update; they unveiled a comprehensive transformation that felt like a breath of fresh air. To me, this wasn’t about jumping on a passing bandwagon. This was Freepik taking a bold step to solidify its bond with us—the expansive community of designers and creatives who thrive on innovation.

Delving into the details, let’s focus first on color—a crucial element that can make or break a brand’s visual identity. “Piki Blue” isn’t a color they plucked out of thin air. As someone who deeply cherishes the intricate stories colors can tell, I see “Piki Blue” as a beautiful homage to Freepik’s roots, echoing the serene coastal nuances of Málaga.

image of Freepik rebranding colors
Freepik rebranding colors

This color speaks volumes of their origin, but what truly piqued my interest was their audacity to venture beyond. By broadening their color spectrum, Freepik introduced a visual narrative, spanning from shades that evoke profound contemplation to those that burst with unabashed vitality. This revamped palette stands as a testament to their commitment to catering to diverse creative needs while retaining a sense of vibrancy and adaptability.

Now, onto typography—a domain where even minute details can speak volumes. Their choice to transition to “Degular” by font foundry OhnoType wasn’t just a fleeting design decision. In my perspective, it was a stroke of brilliance. This typeface effortlessly straddles the line between contemporary allure and ageless grace, echoing Freepik’s mission and values. It conveys a brand that’s constantly evolving, yet rooted in foundational design principles.

Freepik font Degular Specimen

The way they’ve played with typography further encapsulates their brand’s spirit. The revamped “i”, for instance, isn’t just a whimsical touch. It serves as a representation of Freepik’s ethos: an amalgamation of purposeful design and a zest for innovation. That subtle transformation of an otherwise standard letter into an exclamation point drives home their aspiration to always push boundaries, infusing a sense of delight and surprise in everything they craft.

In essence, this rebranding isn’t just about a new look. It’s about Freepik’s undying commitment to serve, inspire, and evolve in tandem with the ever-dynamic world of design. And for an enthusiast like me, it’s an exhilarating journey to witness.

Just another (amazing) thing: Freepik developed a complete website to introduce these branding elements and teh whole brand guidelines, which you can see here.

The Not-So-Good: A Missed Opportunity in Brand Evolution

Let me be candid here. While I’ve sung praises about certain facets of Freepik’s rebranding, there’s one area that gives me pause, and I believe it’s essential to address the elephant in the room. Freepik, with its rich history and powerful position in the design world, has set high standards for itself. But with this latest venture, I found myself a touch underwhelmed.

Freepik typography choice

Now, I’ve got nothing against the font ‘Inter’. In fact, I like it. I’ve used it many times. But so has almost everyone else. It’s become the new ‘Montserrat’. It’s everywhere. That’s my problem. When a massive company like Freepik decides to rebrand, shouldn’t they aim for something unique? That’s what rebranding is all about: standing out and being memorable. So, choosing a font that everyone has access to doesn’t make it feel special or unique.

Is this a huge mistake? Not necessarily. It’s clear Freepik and the designers in charge of this new visual identity didn’t see a need for a distinct font choice. That’s up to them. I just wanted to point it out. It’s not often you see these widely-used free fonts in major rebrandings. Sure, it happens. But it’s not the norm.

Freepik Logo 2023: Slightly missing the mark?

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The old Freepik logo and the Freepik new 2023 logo side by side
The old corporate Freepik logo and the Freepik new 2023 logo side by side. Source: Freepik

Zooming in on the Freepik logo 2023—arguably the centerpiece of any brand’s identity—I found its revamped design to be a double-edged sword. Yes, it’s sleek, polished, and exudes a contemporary vibe, which I appreciate. But peel back the initial layers, and there’s an evident oversimplification. It’s as if, in their zeal to stay ahead of the curve, they’ve trimmed away some vital aspects that made Freepik… well, Freepik. The logo feels like it’s striving for modernity but ends up coming off as a tad generic.

Freepik new 2023 logo: Was it worth it? 1
The old Freepik logo (app version) and the new 2023 Freepik logo side by side. Source: Freepik

Then there’s that inverted “i”. On one hand, I can see the allure of introducing something offbeat and playful. It’s refreshing and showcases a brand willing to take risks. However, there’s a thin line between playful and puzzling. I fear that to some, especially those unfamiliar with Freepik’s ethos, this design choice might come across as gimmicky, even unnecessary. For a brand with such a commanding presence, these kinds of playful tweaks could potentially dilute the message rather than enhance it.

The Intriguing Yet Puzzling Font Choices: A Dive Into Readability

The amalgamation of extended, normal, and compressed fonts is, without a doubt, an intriguing choice. Such a blend has the potential to inject a sense of dynamism, playfulness, and originality into the brand’s visual narrative. In theory, it sounds like a recipe for a memorable and standout brand identity. And trust me, as someone who breathes UX and design, I’m all in for innovation and originality.

However, the real magic lies in execution, and this is where my enthusiasm meets a roadblock. We decided to roll up our sleeves and dive into a bit of user research right within our workspace. Armed with a qualitative methodology and using the speak-aloud method, we gathered feedback from 8 of our colleagues. The results? A tad disconcerting, if I’m being honest.

The majority, and by that, I mean all of our interviewees, primarily deciphered “REEP” or “REEP!” at first glance. The elusive ‘F’ appeared to be playing a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek, and sadly, it seemed to be winning. Now, I understand the sample size isn’t massive, but here’s the kicker: when you have a unanimous feedback loop, even from a smaller group, it’s a glaring red flag that cannot, and should not, be brushed under the carpet.

I can’t help but ponder the implications of this on a larger scale. If a significant chunk of Freepik’s audience struggles with the same readability issue, it’s not just a design challenge; it’s a potential brand identity crisis. And for a brand as influential and far-reaching as Freepik, these are waters they’d ideally want to steer clear of.

While I genuinely appreciate the innovative spirit behind the font choices, the data from our modest research exercise raises eyebrows. Such overwhelmingly consistent feedback warrants deeper investigation and, potentially, a revisit to the drawing board. After all, innovation should never come at the cost of clarity.

Freepik’s new symbol

In any rebranding effort, brands often give their symbol a fresh look. When addressing Freepik’s new symbol, I’ll be upfront: it’s iffy.

Now, compare the old symbol with the new (refer to the image below).

Freepik new 2023 logo: Was it worth it? 2
Freepik old symbol and Freepik new symbol 2023 (left and right respectively)

The old mascot symbol was playful and instantly identifiable. Spot that symbol, and you’re immediately thinking of fun, design, and unmistakably, FREEPIK!

However, the new Freepik symbol? It’s uninspired and too generic. They’ve played with the “i-slash-exclamation mark”, which ties back to their wordmark. But this is attached to the letter “F” which, as I’ve pointed out earlier, many people don’t notice. Plus, the way they’ve used the exclamation mark with this elongated ‘F’ makes the letter even harder to recognize.

Another gripe? That main color, the so-called “Piki Blue”. It doesn’t match the rest of the palette. At first, I thought it might be an issue with browser rendering or perhaps image quality loss. But after analyzing the SVG on their site (specifically the favicon), it’s clear the color is different. It adds to the color inconsistency.

Could it be because it’s still a work in progress? Maybe. But as of now, it is what it is.

Freepik’s management take

Nonetheless, Joaquín Cuenca’s confidence in this rebranding, particularly targeting intricate markets like the US, is commendable. As the CEO of Freepik, his belief in this direction is palpable. But wearing my UX and design hat, I must candidly admit that I harbor reservations. The logo isn’t bad by any stretch. It’s clean, modern, and would likely fare well for many brands. But for an industry leader like Freepik, merely being “good” feels like a missed opportunity. They have the potential for greatness, and in this instance, I believe they’ve settled for less.

Freepik UI: a work in progress?

Allow me to add another layer of critique to my analysis of Freepik’s rebranding attempt, one that particularly concerns me as someone who is knee-deep in the UX and design arena. For example, the official announcement for the new Freepik rebranding on Freepik’s blog shows this logo:

Freepik new 2023 logo is inconsistent across the website

In this announcement, they prominently display the old logo instead of the new logo. Even worse, just a scroll away in the footer, we are abruptly pulled back into the past with the appearance of the old corporate logo – a stark contrast that feels jarring and disjointed.

But the inconsistency doesn’t just stop there. As someone with a meticulous eye for detail, especially in the realm of UX, I found myself dismayed at the apparent neglect in the seamless integration of the new color palette they were so proud to introduce. Where are those rich and vibrant hues that were meant to embody the spirit of the coastal city of Málaga? The footer starkly misses the mark here, devoid of the dynamic color transformation that was promised, leaving a rather uninspired and monochromatic impression.

These inconsistencies, which might seem minor in the grand scheme of things, speak volumes about the gaps in their rebranding strategy. It hints at a potential lack of coordination, perhaps even haste, which is rather uncharacteristic for a brand of Freepik’s caliber.

What I see here is a clear indication of a disconnect, possibly a lack of synergy between the rebranding vision and the actual execution, especially within their UI design department. In my perspective, it paints a picture of a brand in transition, caught between the enthusiasm for innovation and the pitfalls of hurried execution.

It’s here where I feel a tinge of disappointment. Freepik, a titan in the industry, should have orchestrated a rebranding that was as cohesive as it was innovative, without losing sight of the meticulous attention to detail that has been a hallmark of their success. It’s not just about being modern but also about being methodical and unified in the approach. This, unfortunately, seems to be a lesson missed in their recent rebranding saga.

Freepik rebranding 2023: old logo, old colors, everything wrong
Freepik rebranding 2023 displaying the old corporate logo, old colors and wrong fonts

Is There an Ulterior Motive Behind Freepik’s Rebranding?

Well, this part might be a slight digression, but as a long-time user of Freepik (literally since its inception), I can see certain reasons for this rebranding taking place now. Perhaps it’s speculative on my part, but based on my personal work and observations from my colleagues, there’s a noticeable decline in using Freepik as frequently. In fact, I barely resort to it for tasks I used to—like sourcing cover images for this blog or finding illustrative images for articles.

Lately, I personally prefer using Generative AI over Freepik. In my view, Freepik’s business model is caught in a challenging situation: they’re not only up against stiff competition from platforms like Unsplash and Pexels, but they’re also grappling with the rise of generative AI. While generative AI might not offer vectors or high-res photos in the way Freepik does, it brings a freshness and novelty to the table. Moreover, the output is wholly unique. It reminds me of the point I made about Freepik’s font choices: why settle for a common image when I can opt for something truly original that aligns perfectly with my vision?

I might be going off on a tangent here, but the timing seems to align with this perspective. If my hunch is correct, then Freepik’s rebranding strategy might have missed the mark. Why abandon a robot mascot that’s so iconic, especially in an era dominated by Artificial Intelligence? Android, for instance, elevated the role of its robotic mascot (read more in Android rebranding article). So, why swim against the current?

Conclusions on Freepik Rebranding

Let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The unveiling of the Freepik rebranding as well as the Freepik logo 2023 is undeniably a pivotal moment in the brand’s storied journey. They’re sending a clear message here: Freepik rebranding is and adapting and evolving movement, keen on maintaining its stronghold amidst the ever-changing tides of the design realm. By opting for a more streamlined and playful facelift, they’ve loudly proclaimed their unwavering dedication to the vast community of designers and creatives who’ve been their backbone for years.

That being said, I have to lay my cards on the table. While I generally appreciate the direction they’re taking, I’m left feeling somewhat ambivalent about the new logo. Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a glaring mistake or a catastrophic misstep. But in the context of Freepik’s illustrious branding lineage, it feels like a step that’s not entirely in sync with their legacy.

Freepik isn’t just another player in the design arena; they’re a behemoth, a trailblazer. Their every move, every decision, is closely watched and dissected by folks like me. Hence, even what might seem like a subtle misalignment in their branding can echo with amplified reverberations.

In wrapping up, while the majority of this rebranding venture shows promise and aligns with the ethos of Freepik, the new Freepik logo 2023, in my humble opinion, is where they’ve slightly veered off course. But who knows? Time has a way of proving some of us wrong. Maybe this new direction will grow on me, and many others, as we journey forward with Freepik.

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