Crow announced his design to depart from Uber in a post on Medium, in which he recounted the efforts of building up the design team for the company and stated his reason for stepping away is to spend more time with his family.
“I’m using our recent successes as a chance to take time off to rest, reflect, and recharge. I miss being there for my kids and I’m making a decision that enables that,” he wrote.
What seems absent from his post is any overt mention to the major redesign effort that Uber underwent just prior to his decision to step down. Crow did mention the redesign on Twitter, linking to a video on the Uber account and to a post about the design overhaul made by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick—a post that only notes the involvement of the company’s director of design Shalin Amin, but not Crow.
— Andrew (@AndrewCrow) February 2, 2016
Last week, Wired offered a behind-the-scenes look at the rebrand from which Crow is completely absent. The story mentions only “Kalanick and his design team,” and states, “Kalanick is not a designer. He’s an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature.”
According to Wired, Kalanick “refused to entrust the rebranding to anyone else,” deciding to forgo bringing in outside branding agencies and bypassing the company’s in-house team. That team is presumably the one Crow had been building under the title of “Head of Design and Brand.”
The logo produced by Kalanick’s hands-on effort has been widely panned by the public. As Imgur user sesto pointed out, the logo is an incredibly simple design disguised by unnecessary design flares, and the stripped-down shape has some major flaws: it’s off-center and there’s an overhanging line.
“Uber seems to be trying to shed their ‘black tie night club’ vibe to appeal to ‘millennial individual,'” graphic designer Ty Humphrey told the Daily Dot. He saw the rebrand as a sweeping change that the company “backed into” and has left them with little in terms of easily identifiable imagery.
“The app icons mean nothing to me,” he said, noting that if the company plans on spinning off apps for additional services, “they’ll have a really hard time differentiating the icons.”
That point has already been proven correct with the sudden, drastic redesign to the Uber icon. Users have roundly complained about how difficult it is to find the app on their phones—an issue that will be especially troubling for the “drunk at 2am” demographic that Uber counts on.
.@Uber since the genius logo change, I can't seem 2 find ur app anymore. U know what logo is super easy to find though? It rhymes with Gyft
— DJ Swivel ⁷⁷⁷⁷⁷⁷⁷ (@djswivel) February 7, 2016
When you can't find the Uber app on your phone bc you are still looking for the old one.
— Sarah Buhr Davis (@sarahbuhr) February 3, 2016
It’s possible Crow’s decision to depart from Uber came simply as a result of the stress caused by spending two years neck-deep in rethinking the entire image of a company.
But the absence of Crow’s name in the conversation about the rebranding process suggests he may have stepped away because he wasn’t given the chance to do the job he was hired to do, and the result without his input was a hot mess.
The Daily Dot reached out to Uber for comment on Crow’s departure from the company. We will update if we receive a response.