As telecom behemoths Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile duke it out for market share, the spotlight falls less often on America’s No. 4 carrier, UScellular. But while the Chicago-based telecom may have only 5.1 million subscribers (compared to Verizon’s 94 million), it does enjoy a low churn rate (read: loyal subscribers) thanks in part to the company’s emphasis on service. This is the network “that puts customers first” and “has its customers’ back,” to quote the website. The company’s slogan: “We speak Fair.”
It’s only logical that a brand so preoccupied with coddling customers would try to convey that mission in all of its branding. And this, as it turns out, was the impetus behind UScellular’s revamped logo, which just made its public debut.
“We’ve had the same logo for over 20 years, and it remained unchanged while the company continues to move forward,” vp of brand management Verchele Roberts told Adweek. “We thought it was time for a fresher and more modern look.”
Yet the challenge facing UScellular (and the design team from MullenLowe, which handled creative) was not simply how to modernize the logo, but how to make it better reflect the customer-comes-first positioning that differentiates the brand.
To convey that message, designers made the “U” and “S” lowercase while getting rid of the periods. While the brand name itself remains unchanged, the logo’s appearance now suggests “us” as much as it does United States.
The company also restyled its five-point star, rendering it as a cluster of converging lines to suggest individuals coming together. “We wanted to send a strong signal on the importance of the human connection and the people-first attitude we have,” Roberts explained.
Meanwhile, the design team cleaned up the logo’s overall appearance, adopting a non-serif typeface and simplifying it so it’s easier to read on mobile screens. (This is a mandate behind many a logo refresh in recent years, including Volkswagen.) The company also deliberately retained the blue and red color palette, taking pains to make sure the new treatment wasn’t so different from its predecessor that customers would be startled by it.
“We took a comprehensive approach to this identity change, [but] it’s not radically different,” Robers said. “It’s still UScellular.”