Medium | Design

Medium’s Re-Design Is Far Better and More Important Than I Realised

Medium took a big risk, and it’s paying off for all of us.

Gareth Willey
7 min readMay 23
Illustration by author.

Design is more than just making something look pretty and presentable. The best of design solves a problem, and proves to be as functional as it is fashionable, rather than prioritising one over the other.

When we look at social networks, they seem to rebrand and re-design for no particular reason. It never seems to add functionality or ease of use, nor is it received well by its users. In fact, the results are often the opposite of what was intended.

One example that comes to mind is when Dropbox went through a re-brand in 2017. They went from minimalist and elegant to weird and whacky. No one could quite work out what the message was, nor was there a clear explanation about what it was trying to achieve. They gave their staff LSD, and they created what they saw.


After this fiasco, I stopped using Dropbox and slowly moved on to another file-hosting service. I didn’t intend to. I didn’t do it out of spite. I was just so put-off by what they had become… whatever that was. It was to enjoy the service I once loved, while they were shoving this new vision in my face.

My best guess is that this was their way to gain attention and publicity, in a time when file-hosting services were becoming competitive. But sadly, they ended up getting the wrong type of attention.

Some decide to re-brand because they simply have too much disposable income and staff, so they feel the need to do something, anything, with their massive amounts of resources.

I remember Facebook doing this all the time, back when I had an account. They would change everything about the app and feeds for no particular reason. It always made the platform harder to use.

The BBC is another example of this. They recently spent a whopping £7 million on a re-brand. It wasn’t needed, but some were looking forward to a fresh lick of paint on the 100-year-old public service.



Gareth Willey

Shit Talker • TED Talker • Yodeler