Rotten Tomatoes Rolls Out a Fresh Logo and Visual Identity After 19 Years

The brand will show off its new imagery at SXSW

Say hello to the fresh Rotten Tomatoes logo. Rotten Tomatoes
Headshot of Katie Richards

Rotten Tomatoes is rolling out an updated logo this week, along with sleeker icons (used by the movie review site to distinguish good reviews, bad reviews and more). The first public unveiling of the new brand identity will take place at South by Southwest this week.

The website has been around for 19 years, and while there have been some adjustments to the logo in the past, this is by far the most drastic change for the Rotten Tomatoes brand. The whole mission with the new identity, according to the brand, was to keep the same vibe it’s always had among fans, but create something that can live across digital, social, mobile and more.

“We are very lucky that we have more fans and more attention than ever before, and that’s a big responsibility for us. We know for a lot of fans we are the first place they go when they are trying to make a lot of entertainment decisions. We take that super-seriously and every piece of what we did in this redesign flows from that exact same point,” Rotten Tomatoes vp Jeff Voris, explained.

The brand worked closely with Emily Oberman and team at design consultancy Pentagram over the last nine months to bring the new visual identity to life. Fans of the site will notice that the logo has a few adjustments including a sharper font and different colors for the logo. Additionally, the design team moved the famous splat icon (used to signify a movie that has received a rating of 59 percent or less) to the “o” in Rotten, and kept the tomato in the word Tomatoes.

“One of our goals was to make the refresh look modern and professional as well as credible, but most importantly maintaining elements of familiarity and really capturing the brand essence and personality of Rotten Tomatoes from the current logo,” Courtney Kawata, Rotten Tomatoes senior art director, said.

Nineteen years ago, the logo and visual identity was designed solely with the purpose of living on the Rotten Tomatoes website, but as the brand has grown, so to has the presence of its icons. The icons, for those unfamiliar with the site, include a a red tomato (an overall good review from critics), a green splat (an overall bad review from critics), a certified fresh badge (a high rating from critics), a red box of popcorn (overall good reviews from Rotten Tomatoes users) and a tipped over green box of popcorn (overall bad reviews from Rotten Tomatoes users).

The five icons exist not only on the Rotten Tomatoes website, but on social media, on mobile and through partners like Google Play and iTunes. That meant the team really needed to think about creating something that felt modern and could work well across different platforms.

Another important part of the creation process was the fans and users of Rotten Tomatoes who, of course, are a very opinionated bunch. After each round of edits, the team would show a group of fans what they had done to the visual identity to ensure the new branding was on the right track.

“We used it as a gauge as to what creative direction we should go in. Some were very against certain directions and we tried to stray away from it and then some provided a lot of guidance towards what we should evolve the logo into,” Kawata said.

“We have very vocal fans. They are not shy about giving their opinions. That’s the kind of fans that we attract. People that want to express their opinions. We felt like we got a lot of good feedback every time we put it in front of fans. They definitely told us if they didn’t like something,” added Voris.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.