Design Method

Lessons learned from the Pandora logo redesign

The early life of any business or rebranding exercise involves the creation of a logo that represents your companies unique voice. Making your organisation stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace with an exclusive identifier should be something that everyone understands.

Step forward radio streaming service Pandora. Back in 2013 the service boasted 200 million users and accounted for 70% of all Internet radio in the United States. However, the success of Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music is primarily responsible for the now out of favour Pandora for losing more than 75% of its market value since 2014.

A dramatic rebrand was quickly ordered in October last year. But, rather than showcasing their individuality, it appeared they tried to piggyback on the success of online payments provider PayPal instead.


Pandora’s new logo simply displays one P, whereas PayPal’s utilises two. Rebranding should be used to remove any confusion and cement the new logo into the hearts and minds of their user’s hearts and minds.

However, the similarity led to the online community questioning whether PayPal had acquired Pandora. Many even tweeted complaining that they were getting mixed up when attempting to open PayPal or vice versa.

PayPal delivered a harsh but fair home truth when they announced that “Pandora has no obvious path to profitability.” But, the beleaguered streaming service has also unwittingly admitted to any potential investors that they are unable to innovate.

Looking back at Pandora’s first rebranding in eleven years, it seems that they had no idea what problems would soon be coming their way. They even revealed that the exercise was more revolutionary than evolutionary.

Inevitably PayPal began proceedings to sue Pandora over the remarkably similar logos. The move could be the final nail in the coffin of the increasingly irrelevant Pandora radio. But could this all have been avoided?

We are living in a digital age where everything is remarkably similar. There are endless options of products and services that become white noise to consumers who are relentlessly bombarded with information.

There is a counter argument that PayPal would rarely get confused with the Pandora Radio streaming service and any talk of legal action is ludicrous. But, that would be entirely missing the point.

A logo should be unique, the fact that so many are not, merely illustrates the dangers of everything looking the same. What use is an aesthetically-pleasing design if it gets lost in the crowd and ultimately make your brand invisible to your target audience?

However, branding should always be the differentiator. From the first second that someone discovers your web presence, it will be your branding that communicates with consumers. Why would anyone try to confuse or mislead their audience by using a similar logo?

Clearly defining “who you are” and what you do should always be paramount to both your brand image and its perception. After all, your logo is your business identity, right? Investing time and money in an innovative logo designer that can bring your ideas to life will pay for itself.

Finding someone that takes the time to understand your brand, culture and what you genuinely want to achieve is equally as important as their design skills. Ensuring that your branding measures your story and unique voice should always be top of the agenda.

Many design agencies will attempt to guide users into the latest faddy design trend. But if this only dilutes your company message, what’s the point? Pandora learned this lesson the hard way by confusing their audience and removing its authentic voice with its rebranding.

The Pandora and PayPal lawsuit highlights how we are living in a world where everyone wants to be like somebody else. The best-kept secret is that if you can showcase your authentic and unique self, then your brand will have no competition.

Whether you are looking to develop your existing brand or to create a fresh new look; it’s bringing your voice to life where the real magic happens. These are just a few of the reasons that we invest a little more time to work closely with our clients and get to know who they really are.

If you would like to start a conversation with one of our rebranding experts, please contact us using the details below.