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Zoom rebrands after rocky post-pandemic stint, reimagines visuals

The pandemic proved to be a growth opportunity for Zoom, but the aftermath has caused detriment. Zoom now renames and rebrands to save face.

zoom team chat

Your next video call might look a little different as Zoom has unveiled a total visual rebrand with its expansion from a virtual meeting space into a full communications platform.

In a move that is described by CMO Janine Pelosi as “more than a decade in the making,” the unsung heroes of pandemic WFH life are branching out with new offerings in instant messaging, channel-based internal communications a la Slack, and even a video-integrated CRM called Zoom Contact Center.

The key to this rebranding is the change in name, from Zoom Chat to Zoom Team Chat. Pelosi states that the new name honors Zoom’s belief that “collaboration is at the heart of human creativity, and the magic happens when people work together, as a team.”

Along with new collaborative features and an updated name, Zoom has also changed its visual identity. A Tweet from Monday, Sept 12 shows the new look, which includes a new logo font, a darker shade of the iconic Zoom blue, and new icons for each feature in the communications suite.

Also notable is the cheeky integration of the new icons into the logo, creating an image that resembles how a certain search engine integrates its logo into its search results page navigation.

Pelosi makes sure to mention that the changes being made are not merely for aesthetics. She states that the impetus behind switching to this new shade of blue is “to enhance legibility and advance accessibility.”

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This seems a significant point to make, as Zoom has been simultaneously raked over the coals and loudly lauded by accessibility activists on social media since it began ruling the remote meeting landscape in 2020.

The company has been heralded as the steward of expanded event accessibility, of course, bolstered by the mandated necessity of social distancing in a pandemic. Many on Twitter have thanked the “Zoom revolution” for not only making virtual participation in public events commonplace, but for the technological advancements that only remote attendance allows, such as being able to mute an interpreter’s voice while communicating in ASL.

Some lament that, as the U.S. begins to transition to a life with COVID-19, the expanded accessibility ushered in by the “Zoom revolution” will be left behind.

However, Zoom’s inherent accessibility options have, at times, left folks wanting more. A class action lawsuit from December 2020 claimed that Zoom’s lack of free closed captioning options violated the ADA by imposing an unfair surcharge on deaf and HoH users.

Zoom did eventually offer its in-app auto-generated captions to free account users in October 2021. As of a software update released last month, automated captions can now be self-enabled by users when they enter a meeting. Previously, only hosts had the ability to enable captions for a meeting, and users with institutionally-controlled accounts needed an admin to enable their ability to do so.

Explicitly naming accessibility in its rebrand is a keen move by Zoom to take advantage of this moment and keep itself in the center of the remote work revolution. It’s an attempt to show that this is more than a fresh coat of paint slapped onto the same old system.

And it demonstrates that, at the very least, Zoom is aware of the reputation it has garnered over the past two and a half years, for better or for worse.

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Jesse has a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a PhD in Theatre from the University of Texas at Austin. His research on LGBTQ+ theatre has been published in multiple anthologies and on stage in Austin. At home in Dallas, he enjoys cooking, reading, and spending quality time with his partner and their three dogs.

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