The Tripadvisor owl gets refined in rebrand by Mother Design

Marking its 20th year, the travel site now also has a bespoke typeface by Colophon and a set of pictograms, all inspired by the “circular nature” of its wise old logo.

5 February 2020


Travel site Tripadvisor is 20 years old now, and though it still hosts 460 million visitors every month, the market for online holiday planning (see also the Skyscanner rebrand by Koto) is now crowded and worlds away from the landscape it was two decades ago. So, the anniversary gave the company the impetus to rebrand, enlisting New York studio Mother Design to rethink its brand identity for today. Starting out by refining its widely recognised owl logo, for both practical reasons and to add personality, this became the core of a whole visual refresh, including a new typeface, set of icons and colour palette.

“Our brief was to prepare the brand for the next 20 years by refining its most distinctive assets and introducing new ones, which would create a more cohesive visual identity,” explains Mark Sloan, head of design at the studio. “The previous logo had quite a bit more detail, and only worked when rendered in multiple colours – one red pupil, one green pupil and a yellow forehead. We kept its signature large circular eyes, built its ears and beak from a single triangle, and increased the line weight. By allowing the logo to live in one colour and reproduce well at all sizes, we’ve made it more flexible and less susceptible to misuse in the marketplace.”

The process of redesigning the logo is described as a reduction in complexity and amplification of character, the result being a simpler owl with a stronger personality.

Then, a typeface called Trip Sans was developed together with Colophon Foundry to echo components of the logo and its “circular nature,” as Sloan describes, channeling its approachable brand voice while also suiting the functional needs of the platform. “Establishing a range of weights will allow the brand to speak in its own typographic voice across surfaces — from the more expressive Ultra, which will be used primarily in communications, to the text weights which will handle long-form written reviews and the overall platform experience, and the Mono which provides a technical contrast to the family,” Sloan says.

To tie in with the typographic voice and provide useful symbols for use throughout the user experience, a set of icons has been created that Sloan says sit somewhere between functional wayfinding and more nuanced pictograms, allowing for “greater range of expression at a slightly larger scale”.

Starting with Tripadvisor’s original brand colour of green, a new palette has been developed too, the green given “a bit of brightening” and other accents such as Orchid, Salmon, Sand and Mustard contributing to a “fresher, more optimistic look overall”. The full rebrand will be rolled out over the coming year.

GalleryMother Design: Tripadvisor rebrand

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Mother Design: Tripadvisor rebrand

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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