Hot on the heels of Airbnb’s wildly contentious new logo, social check-in and search service Foursquare has unveiled their own new branding identity. And good news! Far from being the sexual Rorschach test that Airbnb’s branding proved to be, Foursquare’s updated logo is a marked improvement over the social network’s old identity.
Switching out the overused Lobster font that marked the old wordmark for a cleaner, blockier sans serif typeface, the new Foursquare identity also adopts a pink-and-indigo color scheme. And then there’s the new logo, which combines the Foursquare ‘F’ with a geolocation pin into a symbol all its own.
“We designed it to be a mix of map pin and superhero emblem,” Foursquare explains on their post announcing the change. “We’ve always thought of Foursquare as giving you superpowers to explore your city, and our new logo reflects that vision. It’s coming soon to a homescreen near you.”
It works. Foursquare’s old identity was sort of a monstrosity, resembling in almost every particular a lime-and-blueberry reskin of the TurboTax logo. It was bad from the get-go, but as mainstream graphic design has become increasingly flat and streamlined, Foursquare’s branding has looked hopelessly outdated: it’s impossible, for example, to imagine the old Foursquare logo blending in with Google’s Material Design principles. And depending on which version you were looking at, it also featured two icons that competed for attention at the main logo: the Foursquare check-in mark, and a crown, which referenced becoming ‘Mayor’ of a certain location by checking-in there more than anyone.
But the new Foursquare isn’t just about a logo. It’s about a fundamental change to the service. Foursquare has been signaling for months now that the future of the service wasn’t just check-ins, but localized and personalized search. The old check-in behavior is still around, but it has been moved to its own app, Swarm. The Foursquare of the future is a service, not a social network.
From that perspective, the new Foursquare logo is a fun and much needed update that isn’t just a vast improvement, but the signal of a sea change. It may not be a singular stroke of conceptual genius, but again, as we saw with the Airbnb logo, conceptual genius in logo design can go wildly astray.