(Credit: Uber)

While some companies can frequently get away with using a symbol in place of their name -- Nike and Apple come to mind -- it doesn't work for everyone. Despite Uber putting superhuman effort into analyzing and changing its logos three years ago, it apparently wasn't enough to make people associate the visual design with the brand.

According to AdWeek, Uber says that many drivers were flipping the decal on their cars to make it show "Uber" instead of the company's logo, which indicated to Uber that it had a branding problem.

SEE: Uber launches three 'Safety Kit' features to help protect riders in India

When your ridesharing car arrives, correctly identifying the vehicle and driver is critical for both the usefulness of the service and customer safety. Safety has remained a serious problem for the company because of people continuing to masquerade as legitimate drivers.

Uber, Lyft, and other such services have gone to increasing lengths to make sure that riders are flagging down and stepping into the right vehicle, but riders remain a target. Complicating the matter are credible allegations that these companies aren't doing enough work to vet their drivers in the first place, leading to situations where the real drivers may be as dangerous as the fake ones.

Either way, a company's name tends to be a more reliable reference point than a non-alphabetic symbol. Uber has picked up on the this problem, so it's taking the hint and dropping the logo in favor of something that's easier to pick out when you're standing on a street corner.

In addition, the app will be switching to a typeface called Uber Move, designed in-house. The company currently licenses a typeface called Clan Pro, so this will save on costs while improving brand recognition. But visual designs aren't the only thing that's changing.

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In addition to the logo shift, Uber is also completely redoing its mission statement. The old one read, "Make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone." The new one goes, "We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion."

As Android Police points out, running water isn't as common as you might think. Billions around the world lack indoor plumbing, and a half million homes in the United States lacked it a few years ago. So changing to something that's globally relatable may help the company overcome an impression of Western bias.

The takeaways

  • Uber it dropping its current logo and replacing it with the name of the company, to improve brand recognition and to help riders identify the correct vehicle.
  • The company has also changed the app's typeface to one developed in-house, which should reduce its licensing fees.

Also see

Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.