Why Baskin Robbins could have done better (Opinion Piece)
I was on LinkedIn when I first noticed a pink 3D ’31’ scroll past my feed.
I caught myself screaming in my head: “Why did they have to do this?”
I usually don’t have such a strong reaction to design work, but this was an exception.
Maybe it’s because somewhere deep down I always felt the ’31’ in their old logo was a secret between Baskin Robbins & me. Something I would casually bring up in conversations with non-design folks to see their eyes light up.
With the new rebrand, you can’t miss the ’31’ anymore. It’s obvious and had lost its charm.
But I wasn’t ready to give up yet. They must have spent an insane amount of time doing this & I wanted to love what they did, so I read on.
Their new identity is inspired by the slab serif logo they had in 1947.
In theory, it’s a great idea: Rediscovering their roots & dialing it back to what made the company great in the first place. Sprinkling in some of that nostalgic magic.
I usually love such things, Burger King did this a while back, and I loved every single pixel of what they had got together.
But not this time, this feels like a downgrade from what they used to have.
As a brand identity designer, I like when a brand has enough unique assets to mix and match. This is one of the reasons I loved what they had.
Baskin Robbins' old identity had a custom typeface with disproportionate letters & quirks, and to be honest I found that remarkable. A simple yet clever extension of their brand.
But now, stripped down of all its quirks, and turned back in time, it lacks the appeal it once had.
A serif & slab serif combination just doesn’t cut it for me. For a brand with '31' flavors of ice cream, this feels like plain vanilla.
But then, if the work evokes a strong reaction (good or bad) it’s usually a good sign. If some people don’t like it, it implies some people would really like it.
What you don’t want is something that evokes no reaction. So in that sense, I think they might be onto something here!