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Yesterday YouTube launched a major UI revision to all its channels, from mobile, to games consoles. At the same time it’s made the first significant revision to its logo since its launch 12 years ago. The revised logo has been made live on mobile and desktop, and will begin to appear across all channels in the coming days.

Some companies are for ever launching redesigns, others release minor iterative tweaks on a regular basis. YouTube is one of the latter—you’d be forgiven for missing their updates—the change to the logo however is more substantial.

One of the most charming elements is the logo change animation, that sadly won’t be used anywhere but design blogs.

Every choice that has been made feels right

YouTube has dropped the red, rounded box—that vaguely resembled an old-style TV screen—surrounding the ‘Tube’ part of its name, and in the process redesigned the text. The rounded red square now sits to the left with a play icon. It’s an extremely smart move. The play icon, has become synonymous with YouTube; it is more minimal, and more flexible than the full logotype. The play button brands any video as YouTube wherever a YouTube video is embedded. However, the play button does not sit well with the original YouTube logo (the two rounded squares being incompatible in a single mark). The logo redesign unifies the universally recognized UI element, with the larger corporate logotype.

Sometimes the hardest process in design is not spotting mistakes, but recognizing when you have something that works; the play button icon works on every level, and building their identity around it might be the smartest thing YouTube have done in some time.

YouTube’s old logo (left), and their new logo (right).

The text itself has also been redesigned. The new letterforms are slightly more rounded, with tapered spurs, resulting in a more contemporary, and more legible wordshape.

It is an excellently crafted logotype, carried out by an in-house team lead by creative director Christopher Bettig. Every choice that has been made feels right, and YouTube’s aging logo suddenly feels fresh and interesting again.

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