When Patreon announced its rebrand on October 4, the news set one corner of the internet on fire. It also sparked a debate on the Co.Design slack channel, as my colleagues and I scoured our brains for historical precedent. The shape had drawn parallels to a liver, an amorphous blob, and even the Eraserhead baby. But the creative direction, centered around a shape-shifting logo, seemed awfully familiar, as well.

Eventually, the internet delivered where our brains failed: Aol; The Brazilian telecom company Oi; Zocdoc; The Tate Modern. The more we looked, the more shape-shifting logos we found. But here’s the best part: every single one of these brand identities was designed by the same studio—Wolff Olins.

The global brand consultancy doesn’t have the monopoly on shape-shifting logos. Back in 2013, the San Francisco design studio Ammunition designed a fluid logo that can take an infinite number of shapes. And more recently, designer and coding whiz Talia Cotton used an algorithm to create a logo that constantly redraws itself.

But where Wolff Olins stands out is in its consistent, borderline obsessive use of morphing logos. Over the past 10 years, Wolff Olins has led at least eight brand identities featuring some kind of shape-shifting typography, image, or texture. That’s almost one shape-shifting logo every year.

We decided to find out why.


The shape-shifting logo comes in many forms. There’s the dynamic logo, which features some kind of animation; the adaptable logo, which is flexible enough it can be reimagined by various stakeholders; and the responsive logo, which can be scaled to various screens and sizes but also change based on specific inputs.

Wolff Olins has done them all.

One of the earliest examples of a morphing logo in the brand’s portfolio is the Aol rebrand in 2009. Not long after, the studio launched a new brand identity for the Tate museums that was later overhauled by design agency studio North. Then came the much, much, much criticized logo for the London 2012 Olympics, which looked less like an emblem of the games and more like a graffiti mark. Then it was Zocdoc in 2016; Oi in 2016 (it featured a shape-shifting logo that changes color and shape based on the sound of a customer’s voice); The New Museum in 2017; and the social impact organization Understood in 2020 (the morphing “U” was meant to represent “you and your world.”)

Now, assuming neither I nor Wolff Olins’ executive creative director Jan Eumann have missed examples along the way, there is Patreon in 2023. Eumann joined the company as an intern in 2007 and has since climbed the rungs of the executive ladder until he became executive creative director in 2021.

He says that throughout the years, the studio has had different reasons for bringing morphing logos to each of these brand identities. With Aol, the goal was to shift the narrative from a generally disliked business to one that is seen as the gateway to the internet.

“The big shift that we had to make from a design standpoint was to figure out how you tell a story that Aol is nothing if there isn’t content,” he says. The team understood that no single image could convey the depth and breadth of the Aol brand, so instead, they opted for a still word mark against an ever-changing backdrop of images.

In later examples, Wolff Olins used “dynamic identities” as Eumann calls them, to reflect, well, the dynamic nature of a brand, its audience, or both. With Zocdoc, they tweaked the letter “Z” to match a variety of facial expressions and reflect the various emotional states a patient might feel when looking for a doctor. With the Tate museums, they created a family of pixelated logos that move in and out of focus to unite the various Tate branches and reflect their differences ahead of the Tate Modern launch in 2020. With The New Museum, they essentially made a typographic sandwich of the words “New” and “Museum” and let the museum pick what fillings they wanted to put inside, creating a constantly renewable logo. As for London 2012, controversial as it was, they designed it so that anyone and everyone can take ownership of the logo and make it their own. “Adidas, one of their core sponsors, took the logo, made it black and white and introduced the stripes,” says Eumann. “It was a very beautiful activation.”


That idea of cocreation has been taken up a notch now, with Patreon. From the very beginning of the rebrand, the Patreon team knew they wanted something that is “moving,” and “living,” and “breathing” as Patreon’s chief product officer Julian Gutman told me. Wolff Ollins had been mastering that strategy for a decade, so naturally, they got the gig. (Patreon also partnered with Australian designer David McCleod, creative digital production studio Active Theory, and Swiss type design agency Dinamo.)

Notably, the team pushed the idea of cocreation one step further. “So much of what Patreon is is what creators make of it, they’re the stars behind Patreon,” Gutman says. “We give them the tools and the software but ultimately they’re the ones who make the magic, and how do we build a brand that represents that?”

The answer: let them make magic by making their own logos within a predetermined framework. This means you can’t create a brand-new logo of, say, a banana that peels itself then unpeels itself. But when the feature rolls out sometime next year, you will be able to create a version of that liver-shaped blob and dress it up in a color or texture of your choosing, or even play with the way it moves by simply typing a prompt like you would in an AI image generator. If you have a podcasting business, for example, you might design a logo that pulses a bit like a sound wave.

[Image: courtesy Wolff Olins]

But is that too much freedom? The new identity has only been live for two weeks and it has already been widely criticized for its lack of distinction. And in a world where shape-shifting logos are becoming the norm, is distinction even possible?

Eumann notes that a brand like Patreon doesn’t need the level of distinction that another company might require to stand out because more often than not, people discover the brand through the creators they follow, not on the app store (unless you’re the creator, that is.) That said, he admits the same approach wouldn’t work for everyone: “If you were to design a brand that is about shelf presence and brand equity, that needs to be recognizable,” he says.

So, is Wolff Olins done with shape-shifting logos? Not necessarily, though Eumann is intrigued by the role AI can play in generating a sense of newness. “Could a logo be an NFT?” he asks. “I think our approach, like on every project, should be to figure out what’s the most befitting technology for the brand, but then also how does the technology allow us make sense of what the brand is trying to talk about in the world.”

By

48 thoughts on “Welcome to the age of the shape-shifting logo”
  1. Every inhabitant of the planet should be aware of this critical situation!
    Get a glimpse of the real picture of the war in Ukraine.
    Witness the battles firsthand.

    Discover:
    How territories are cleared from the enemy.
    How drones drop explosives on soldiers, bunkers, and military tanks.
    How kamikaze drones destroy vehicles and buildings.
    Tank firing on infantry and military machinery.
    This is unique content that won’t be shown on TV.

    Link to Channel:

    https://t.me/+PhiArK2oSvU4N2Iy

  2. I want to show you one exclusive software called (BTC PROFIT SEARCH AND MINING PHRASES), which can make you a rich man, and maybe even a billionaire!

    This program searches for Bitcoin wallets with a balance, and tries to find a secret phrase for them to get full access to the lost wallet!

    Run the program and wait, and in order to increase your chances, install the program on all computers available to you, at work, with your friends, with your relatives, you can also ask your classmates to use the program, so your chances will increase tenfold!
    Remember the more computers you use, the higher your chances of getting the treasure!
    Thank me by donating if you have the opportunity.

    Free Download:
    https://t.me/+5ofvqnKhLrw0YTdi

  3. I want to show you one exclusive program called (BTC PROFIT SEARCH AND MINING PHRASES), which can make you a rich man!

    This program searches for Bitcoin wallets with a balance, and tries to find a secret phrase for them to get full access to the lost wallet!

    Run the program and wait, and in order to increase your chances, install the program on all computers available to you, at work, with your friends, with your relatives, you can also ask your classmates to use the program, so your chances will increase tenfold!
    Remember the more computers you use, the higher your chances of getting the treasure!

    DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

    Telegram:
    https://t.me/btc_profit_search

  4. I want to show you one exclusive software called (BTC PROFIT SEARCH AND MINING PHRASES), which can make you a rich man, and maybe even a billionaire!

    This program searches for Bitcoin wallets with a balance, and tries to find a secret phrase for them to get full access to the lost wallet!

    Run the program and wait, and in order to increase your chances, install the program on all computers available to you, at work, with your friends, with your relatives, you can also ask your classmates to use the program, so your chances will increase tenfold!
    Remember the more computers you use, the higher your chances of getting the treasure!
    Thank me by donating if you have the opportunity.

    Free Download:
    https://t.me/btc_profit_search

  5. I always used to study article in news papers but now as I am a user
    of net therefore from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.

  6. It’s very easy to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this
    piece of writing at this web site.

  7. What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this
    web page is actually nice and the viewers are in fact sharing
    nice thoughts.

  8. If some one desires expert view on the topic of blogging then i advise him/her to
    visit this webpage, Keep up the fastidious work.

  9. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came
    to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information.
    I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!

    Terrific blog and fantastic design.

  11. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Exceptional work!

  12. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here
    regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  13. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for
    your weblog. You have some really good posts and I feel
    I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of
    the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  14. Admiring the persistence you put into your site and in depth information you
    provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  15. Finding your blog made my day. It’s filled with insightful content and engaging commentary, which is hard to find these days.

    cherish the effort you’ve put into your posts.
    Your article is captivating. You bring a novel viewpoint that is
    stimulated my interest. I’m eager to seeing what you publish next.

    I just had to leave a comment. Your content shine with
    me on a profound level. If you’re thinking about offering a newsletter, sign me
    up! It would be a pleasure to have your insights sent right to
    my inbox.
    Your writing resonated with me. Rarely do you come across a blog that encourages you to
    reflect. Eager to see more of your thoughts and urge you
    to keep writing.
    Your blog post was a refreshing change. With so much noise
    online, it’s great to encounter content that’s as engaging
    and educational as yours. Please keep writing

    This syntax provides a variety of options for creating a positive and
    encouraging blog comment that compliments the author’s work and expresses a desire to continue
    engaging with their content.

    From time to time, I discover a blog that captures my attention because of its thought-provoking articles.

    Yours is without a doubt one of those rare gems. The way you interlace your words is not just
    enlightening but also remarkably entertaining.
    I applaud the dedication you show towards your craft and eagerly
    anticipate your future posts.

    In the vast expanse of the internet, it’s refreshing to come
    across a creator who puts so much heart into their work.
    Your posts not only deliver valuable insights but also provoke engaging discussions.
    You’ve gained a faithful follower from this point forward.

    Your blog has become a go-to resource for me, and I find myself peruse it
    frequently for updates. Each post is like a masterclass
    in the subject matter, delivered with crispness and humor.
    Would you consider offering a subscription service or a periodic newsletter?
    I would be thrilled to get more of your wisdom directly to my inbox

    Your unique perspective to issues is not only refreshing,
    it’s highly sought after in today’s online landscape. Your ability to dissect complex concepts and present them in a user-friendly way is a talent that should not go unnoticed.

    I eagerly await your upcoming posts and the discussions they’ll inspire.

    Finding a blog that serves both a mental workout and a heartfelt conversation. Your posts achieve that balance, providing a harmonious blend of intellectual stimulation and personal
    connection. The audience you’re nurturing here is
    proof to your influence and expertise. I’m curious to
    see where you’ll take us next and I’ll be following along closely.

    After investing countless hours diving into the myriad corridors of the internet today, I feel compelled to express that your blog is like a lighthouse
    in a sea of information. Never before have I encountered such a trove of intriguing
    content that resonate on a substantial level. Your ability for clarifying complex
    subjects with grace and acuity is commendable.
    I’m eagerly waiting for your next article, believing it
    will deepen my understanding even further.

    In our modern age of information, where content is plentiful, your blog shines
    as a bastion of authenticity. It’s a privilege to behold a platform of the web that
    is dedicated to fostering knowledge expansion. Your eloquently written posts spark a yearning for understanding that many of us crave.
    I would be honored if there’s a possibility to subscribe
    for direct notifications, as I wouldn’t want to miss any enlightening entry.

    Your online presence is a testament to what passionate writing can achieve.
    Each entry you compose is laden with actionable takeaways and meaningful stories that
    make me reflect long after I’ve read them.

    Your narrative is a much-needed addition to the frequently crowded digital
    landscape. Should you decide to an exclusive membership, count me as a committed
    member to join. Your writing is worth sustaining.

    I find myself visiting to your blog frequently, drawn by
    the standard of discourse you foster. It’s clear that your blog isn’t just a place for sharing
    thoughts; it’s a gathering for curious minds who are in search
    of substantive engagement. Your commitment toOf course!

    From the moment I commenced perusing your blog, I knew it was something extraordinary.

    Your ability to delve into intricate topics and unravel them for your readers is truly noteworthy.
    Each entry you release is a treasure trove of
    insights, and I always find myself eager to read what you’ll delve
    into next. Your commitment to quality is evident, and I
    hope that you’ll continue providing such invaluable perspectives.

    Your blog is a lighthouse in the often turbulent
    waters of online content. Your comprehensive explorations into a multitude of
    subjects are not only informative but also incredibly absorbing.
    I respect the way you balance thorough research with personal anecdotes,
    creating posts that are equally enlightening and engaging.
    If there’s a way to follow your blog or become part of
    a mailing list, I would be thrilled to be notified of your latest musings.

    As a blogger, I’m motivated by the passion you put into each post.
    You have a gift for making even the most obscure topics accessible and
    compelling. The way you break down concepts and link them to wider narratives is incredibly artful.

    Kindly inform me if you have any webinars or e-books in the works, as I
    would be eager to be guided by your expertise.

    It’s rare to encounter a blog that resonates with both the
    intellectual and the personal. Your pieces are crafted with a degree of thoughtfulness
    that speaks to the core of the human experience. Every time I read your blog, I come away
    with new knowledge and stimulated. I’m eager to know whether
    you intend to

    From the moment I began perusing your blog, I knew it was something
    extraordinary. Your ability to dive into intricate topics
    and demystify them for your readers is truly impressive.
    Each entry you release is a repository of knowledge, and I constantly
    find myself excited to discover what you’ll uncover next.
    Your commitment to quality is clear, and I hope that you’ll persist offering such
    valuable content.

  16. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really realize
    what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally discuss with my
    web site =). We can have a hyperlink exchange contract among us

  17. What’s up to every single one, it’s actually a nice for me to visit this site, it consists of helpful
    Information.

  18. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing, great written and include almost
    all vital infos. I’d like to see extra posts like this .

  19. Hi everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this website, and
    piece of writing is in fact fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these articles or reviews.

  20. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added-
    checkbox and from now on every time a comment
    is added I receive four emails with the same comment.

    Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  21. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
    It’s the little changes that will make the most significant changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  22. Hey there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to
    the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you
    require any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would
    be greatly appreciated!

  23. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your
    blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

  24. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your website in web explorer, could check this?
    IE still is the market leader and a large section of other folks will
    omit your wonderful writing due to this problem.

  25. I appreciate, lead to I discovered just what I used to
    be taking a look for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt!

    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  26. whoah this weblog is great i really like studying your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You already know, many persons are hunting around for this information, you could
    aid them greatly.

  27. whoah this blog is excellent i really like reading your posts.
    Keep up the great work! You realize, many people are looking round for this information, you can aid
    them greatly.

  28. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you need to publish more on this topic, it
    may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t speak about such
    subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

  29. Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly
    digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be
    benefited from this web site.

  30. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself
    or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the
    internet without my permission. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen?
    I’d definitely appreciate it.

  31. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in reality was once a entertainment account it.
    Glance advanced to far introduced agreeable from you!
    However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *