Reddit new design 2023: A Dynamic Shift in Digital Identity

Last Modified: Feb 22nd, 2024 - Category: Branding, News

In 2023, Reddit, a pivotal player in the digital world, undertook a remarkable rebranding journey. Reddit new design was not just a cosmetic change but a strategic shift to align with the platform’s expanding global footprint and the evolving nature of its diverse user base. This article delves into the nuances of Reddit’s rebranding, particularly focusing on the evolution of its mascot, Snoo, the introduction of a new visual language, and the impact on the platform’s overall identity.

In this article, I’ll explore the various components of Reddit’s new visual identity, covering aspects from logo design to typography, as well as user experience and user interface design. In short, prepare for a comprehensive review of this (spoiler alert!) fantastic Reddit rebrand.

Article Takeaways

  1. Snoo’s Transformation: Reddit’s mascot Snoo evolved into a dynamic 3D character, featuring updated poses and expressions, symbolizing the platform’s growth and innovation.
  2. Custom Font Family: A custom font family, including Reddit Sans and others, was introduced. Reddit Sans, a Neo-Grotesque typeface, has unique speech bubble-shaped counters, aligning with Reddit’s conversational focus.
  3. Color Palette Overhaul: The color palette was reduced from over 100 colors to 15, achieving a balance between community expression and brand coherence. The new vibrant colors add energy to Reddit’s visual identity.
  4. Brand Refresh Impact: The rebranding emphasizes eclectic, different, absurd, and candid traits, aiming to strengthen Reddit’s identity and enhance user experience for a more integrated and memorable brand.
  5. Community Reactions: The redesign received mixed reactions, with some users appreciating the modern look and others preferring the old design, a common response in digital platform rebrandings.
  6. UI and UX Enhancements: The rebranding improved the user interface and experience, making it more user-friendly and feature-rich, and was consistently applied across the platform.
Reddit’s Rebranding Official Presentation

Reddit New Design: Introducing the Reddit Custom Font Family

Reddit’s 2023 rebranding saw the introduction of a custom font family, comprising Reddit Sans, Reddit Mono, Reddit Display, and Reddit Sans Condensed. This move represents a significant step in aligning the platform’s visual language with its core identity as a hub for diverse and engaging discussions.

The Neo-Grotesque Design of Reddit Sans

Reddit Sans, the standout member of this font family, is a Neo-Grotesque typeface. Neo-Grotesque fonts, emerging in the mid-20th century, are known for their clean, straightforward appearance. They represent a modernist reaction to the earlier Grotesque designs, characterized by their uniformity and lack of embellishments.

The defining features of Neo-Grotesque typefaces include a relatively uniform line width, a more ‘natural’ or organic structure in letter shapes, and a minimalistic approach that eschews decorative elements. This style is seen as highly legible and versatile, making it a popular choice for digital platforms seeking clarity and simplicity in their textual presentations.

Reddit new branding: example of teh new Reddit Sans font type
Reddit new branding uses a Neo-Grotesque font with a “bubble speech” metaphor.

Reddit Sans embodies these characteristics with its clear, unadorned letterforms. Its lowercase letters are particularly noteworthy for their speech bubble-shaped counters, a design choice that subtly references the platform’s conversational nature. This detail is not only a clever nod to Reddit’s community-driven discussions but also enhances the typeface’s uniqueness in the realm of digital typography.

The Significance of Custom Typefaces in Branding

The decision to create custom typefaces like Reddit Sans reflects a broader trend in digital branding where companies seek to establish a unique visual identity. Custom fonts offer several advantages:

  1. Brand Distinctiveness: A unique font can become an integral part of a brand’s visual identity, setting it apart from competitors.
  2. Consistency Across Media: With a custom font, brands ensure uniformity in their messaging across various platforms and media.
  3. Control Over Licensing and Usage: Owning a custom typeface eliminates the need for external font licensing, granting full control over its usage.
  4. Alignment with Brand Values and Personality: Custom fonts can be tailored to embody a brand’s ethos, in Reddit’s case, the emphasis on community and conversation.
Reddit rebrand 2023 typography
Reddit rebrand 2023 typography

Reddit Rebrand Colors: From Overwhelming Diversity to Coherent Vibrancy

Along with the introduction of its custom font family, Reddit’s rebranding involved a significant overhaul of its color palette. Previously featuring a dizzying array of over 100 colors, the palette was streamlined to a more manageable 15 hues. This change was not just a matter of simplification but also a strategic move to balance community expression with brand coherence.

The new color spectrum includes vibrant shades like GuavaPink, LimeGreen, BananaYellow, and JuniperBlue, complemented by the iconic OrangeRed. This refreshed palette infuses a fresh and energetic feel into the platform’s visual identity, reflecting the dynamism and diversity of the Reddit community.

The Impact of Color in Digital Branding

The choice and use of color in digital branding are critical for several reasons:

  1. Emotional and Psychological Impact: Colors can evoke specific emotions and associations, influencing user perception and interaction.
  2. Brand Recognition and Recall: Consistent color schemes aid in brand recognition and can become synonymous with the brand itself.
  3. Enhancing User Experience: A well-thought-out color palette can improve readability, navigability, and overall user experience on digital platforms.
  4. Differentiation and Positioning: Colors can help a brand stand out in a crowded digital space and convey its unique positioning.

In conclusion, Reddit’s rebranding, characterized by the introduction of a Neo-Grotesque custom font family and a streamlined color palette, represents a thoughtful approach to aligning its visual identity with its brand values and the community-driven nature of the platform. These changes not only enhance the user experience but also solidify Reddit’s standing as a distinctive and modern digital platform.

Introducing Snoo, the lovable Reddit mascot

Reddit, renowned for its unique community-driven ethos, recently embarked on a comprehensive brand refresh. This initiative, led by Pentagram, aimed to create a more unified, intuitive, and globally resonant brand identity. Central to this transformation is Snoo, Reddit’s iconic mascot. Previously adapted into numerous iterations, Snoo has now evolved into a more dynamic 3D character with updated poses, expressions, and even opposable thumbs, a first in Reddit’s history.

As part of the refresh, Snoo is featured in Reddit’s new logo, which also showcases a new wordmark using the Reddit Display typeface. This change reflects Reddit’s commitment to a more cohesive visual identity, moving away from a surplus of branding materials accumulated over the years.

The rebranding emphasizes four key traits: inherently eclectic, positively different, delightfully absurd, and genuinely candid. These traits encapsulate Reddit’s essence as “the heart of the internet”. Pentagram’s approach transforms Snoo into an iconic character, reminiscent of the likes of Super Mario, with a nuanced development akin to Pixar characters.

Image showing Snoo, Reddit's mascot
Come on, Snoo can’t be this cute!

In addition to the mascot’s transformation, the redesign places significant emphasis on Reddit’s community-centric nature. The conversation bubble, introduced as a new cornerstone of the brand’s visual identity, highlights the unique role of comments and discussions on the platform. This design element is incorporated into the Reddit wordmark and the custom Reddit Display typeface, transforming the rounded counterforms of lowercase letters into bubbles. This strategic design choice makes the iconic shape a recurring feature in Reddit’s visual communication, underlining the platform’s focus on genuine conversation and information exchange.

Overall, the brand refresh, while maintaining Reddit’s creative spirit and genuine sensibility, positions the company for its next chapter. It aims to strengthen Reddit’s identity and enhance its visual and interactive elements, ensuring a more integrated and memorable brand experience.

The Bubble Motif: A New Visual Language for Reddit

Reddit’s 2023 rebranding introduced a unique and innovative visual element: the bubble graphic device. This feature represents a significant evolution in the platform’s approach to visual communication and user interaction.

The Concept and Design of the Bubble Motif

The bubble motif was designed with the intention of encapsulating the essence of Reddit’s core functionality – conversation and community interaction. These bubbles, dynamic in nature, are crafted to frame text and images, thus creating a visually appealing and interactive experience for users. The design of the bubbles is not just aesthetically pleasing but also functional, as they can expand or contract to accommodate varying lengths of text, such as subreddit names or extended comments.

Enhancing User Experience and Interaction

The introduction of the bubble motif significantly enhances user experience on the platform. This design element adds a layer of interactivity, encouraging users to engage more deeply with content. The bubbles serve as visual cues, guiding users through conversations and highlighting key areas of interaction. Their adaptability ensures that regardless of the length or complexity of a discussion, the user interface remains clean, organized, and easy to navigate.

Symbolism and Brand Identity

The bubble motif also carries symbolic significance. It represents the free flow of ideas and conversations that are the hallmark of Reddit. This aligns perfectly with Reddit’s identity as a platform that fosters community discussions and diverse viewpoints. By integrating this motif into its visual language, Reddit reinforces its brand as a space for open dialogue and exchange.

Technical Execution and Design Innovation

Image of Icon construction for Reddit new design
Icon construction for Reddit rebrand

From a technical standpoint, the development of the bubble motif is a testament to Reddit’s commitment to design innovation. The implementation required a thoughtful approach to ensure that these elements would be seamlessly integrated into the existing platform architecture, enhancing functionality without disrupting the user experience. This technical execution demonstrates Reddit’s ability to innovate while maintaining the platform’s usability and accessibility.

User Reactions and the Impact of Reddit’s 2023 Rebranding

Diverse Community Responses

Reddit’s 2023 rebranding, marked by a significant shift in design, elicited a wide array of reactions from its global user base. On one hand, many users welcomed the changes, praising the fresh, modern look that aligned with contemporary design trends. These users felt that the new design, particularly the 3D rendering of Snoo and the introduction of the bubble motif, reflected a more engaging and interactive platform. They appreciated the effort to keep the platform current and visually appealing, aligning with the overarching trends in digital design for 2023.

On the other hand, a segment of the Reddit community expressed a sense of nostalgia for the old design. These users cherished the simplicity and familiarity of the previous layout and mascot design. Some felt that the new design, while visually appealing, moved away from the minimalist and straightforward aesthetic that Reddit was known for. This group often values stability and continuity over change, especially in digital environments where users spend significant amounts of time.

Analyzing the Mixed Reactions

These mixed reactions are not uncommon in digital platform rebrandings. Change, especially in widely used platforms like Reddit, often brings about a sense of discomfort among some users. However, it’s important to recognize that evolving design elements are essential for platforms to stay relevant and appealing to new users, especially in the rapidly changing digital landscape.

The introduction of the new font family, the streamlined color palette, and the incorporation of dynamic visual elements like the bubble motif, are not just aesthetic changes. They are strategic moves to enhance user experience, improve accessibility, and make the platform more inclusive for a diverse global audience. Reddit’s decision to adopt these changes reflects an understanding of the evolving needs and preferences of its users.

Reddit Design 2023: UI and UX concerns

When it comes to UI and UX concerns, I think this is where the rebranding really shines. Coincidentally, it’s what most Reddit users disliked the most, but that is to be expected. In general, users of any given UI are accustomed to a certain look; they know where elements are located, they understand the different affordances, etc. So, all change meets some opposition, and it’s natural for this to happen.

Reddit old UI (left) vs Reddit new UI (right)
Reddit old UI (left) vs Reddit new design UI (right). Let’s be serious.

However, let’s face it: the old Reddit UI was really dated, old, and most importantly, difficult to use, not to mention it had less than half of the features the new user interface now offers. In my honest opinion, there’s no way that users won’t come to love the new UI in a couple of weeks. Even the most die-hard fans will have to agree that a nicer look with features that are easier to find and use is a positive change.

One detail to mention: unlike many rebrandings made through 2023, Pentagram and Reddit did the right thing: they created a new brand image and they actually APPLIED it. You might think that’s quite obvious, but if you read previous rebrand analyses, you’ll see this is the first time in 2023 that a brand has actually launched its redesign and applied it. So kudos to them.

In terms of UX, there’s a clear intent to appeal to emotional UX, with the cute Snoo 3D character, the familiar orange color, and a beautiful yet simple user interface (in my opinion, a nod to old-school Reddit users). All in all, I’d say they did everything right.

If I had to be picky, I’m not a fan of the icons mixing curves and acute angles, but that’s just me, and I don’t think many people will notice it. Or care about it, for that matter!

Reddit new branding conclusion: We have a winner

In conclusion, Reddit’s 2023 rebranding, while receiving mixed reactions from its user base, is a testament to the platform’s adaptability and forward-thinking approach. The changes made by Pentagram and Reddit’s UX team reflect a deep understanding of the evolving digital landscape and a commitment to providing an inclusive, engaging, and contemporary experience to its users (whether they like it or not!). Personally, I think this is one of the best rebranding efforts of 2023.

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