Quick note about Obsidian’s new icon:

For me it’s more of a warning sign than reason to celebrate. The only time I want to see a rebrand is if the old brand was offensive. The Cleveland Indians/Guardians rebrand comes to mind. Otherwise I do not care directly.

I do care however about the meaning behind a rebrand. It seems the public facing reason is “the new icon represents our values” which is not inspiring confidence. It sounds too business-y, even if the values themselves sound good.

The old logo was licensed cc-by - so maybe they didn’t like that and changing the logo had mostly practical reasons and then they took the opportunity to strengthened their visual identity. Who knows really? But I take a rebrand as an indicator of “corporatification”: Grown ups (managers) showed up in the beautiful workshop that built Obsidian and needed to reduce the complexity of an ongoing project like this down to its perceived core, forgetting as always that illegibility is a non-debatable fact of reality. Reducing complexity is changing what you found, not stripping away inessential parts. We’ll see if they can hang.

In short: The best case scenario is that nothing will change. Dynalist inc. (the company behind Obsidian) will continue to make a great app and that’s it. Worst case scenario: There will be changes in the approach and the business practices to satisfy things like “growth” and “revenue”. Ugh. Let’s hope this is not an early indicator of Obsidian being the next Evernote…

P.S: 1Password rebranded recently, too. Shortly after they also added telemetry.