Pinterest's new brand identity is a reflection of its evolution from a humble image sharing network to a search behemoth.
Pinterest has come a long way since 2010, from its humble beginnings as your mom's favourite place to get summer decoration ideas (I mean who doesn't love lemon-themed paintings!) to a search behemoth whose tech architecture is being copied by the likes of Google. And while some still associate it with the "Live, Laugh, Love" type of midwestern suburbanite, which is actually where the majority of its userbase was from way back when. Pinterest's actual premise has always been pretty compelling; “what would a search engine look like if there wasn’t one right answer?”.
Fast-forward to 2021 and Pinterest is taking a pivot, positioning itself as the 'anti-social media platform' with a colorful, collage covered convert constructed by design studio Made Thought. The one focus that really sings here is etching out the idea of 'inspiration' as this is key to Pinterest's magic. Design Director at Pinterest Andreas Helin said it best “If someone’s takeaway is inspiration, then we’ve succeeded".
It's this ease in finding and saving inspiration that has been amongst some of Pinterest's success in recent years. How many images get uploaded to Pinterest each day? How many images get uploaded to the internet each day!? We're constantly bombarded with an avalanche of visual imagery, how do we sort, clarify and prioritize what works for us, what provides a spark and orders our thoughts and vision. Specifically for designers, the collation of visual imagery and inspiration is a central pillar of the design process. For all their users more broadly, Made Thought has summed up their inspiration ethos for Pinterest like this "We made the Pinners — and their shifting spectrum of interests and dreams – the centre of the brand. We collided and collaged different worlds into ever-evolving tableaux — to suggest the beauty and possibilities of inspiration." Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Nice use of the word "tableaux", I had to Google that one...
Pinterest's algorithm is GOOD, like really good, the related image functions can leave you scrolling for hours through endless troves of relevant imagery. And that's maybe why we're seeing a very similar style of search being pushed by Google with their "collections" function. It's from this bounty of images that the new Pinterest look has been fleshed out utilizing collage. Taking it alllllllll the way back to grade school, the collage visuals encapsulate the image foundation of the platform and have been carefully pasted with a chic scrapbook aesthetic. This approach comes off quite Maximalist, but accurately reflects the nature of the platform with curated "worlds" and themes that are a subtle nod to Pinterest boards.
For the logo, it seems Pinterest is streamlining its attention to the pin icon, leveraging familiarity with it by removing the word "Pinterest" in many of these executions. This rebrand has focused more on color expression and creative direction, refining how its brand imagery should live out in the world. Their new plumage of colors (I don't know why but these colors remind me of bird feathers) features some interesting combos with great contrast, crested by the recognizable Pinterest red hues. This new palette is fully-fledged on the new Pinterest business site. The most drool-worthy part of this rebrand (imo) has got to be the new custom typeface by Grilli Type, the attention to detail here is insane, just take a look at the project page on Grilli's website. To top it all off it looks like they've taken inspiration from some of the true typographic greats, Renner, Frutiger and Edward Johnston.
Pinterest has always been serious about search, and this rebrand has shown that they're serious about brand and design as well. They've graduated away from the mono-demographic of the Southern Aunt who just needs some new, zesty recipes for her famous sweet tea. The nexus of 'inspiration' gives the brand a huge arena to play with for the future and designers are going to continue screaming "aha!" (light bulb moment) when they find the perfect image for a moodboard or logo example that sparks off a dozen new sketches. Pinterest's rhetorical question; “what would a search engine look like if there wasn’t one right answer?” continues to have legs.
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