In a continued push to make USB branding more consumer-friendly, the USB Implementers Forum—the organization that oversees the standard —has a new set of logos. We think they’re the best ones yet.
Over the years, USB branding has been less than ideal. The earliest USB cables and branding were easy to understand because there was a very limited selection. Back then, one USB cable was as good as another as long as the connectors (USB-A or USB-B) matched your device.
Around the shift from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0, things got a little confusing with branding like “SuperSpeed” and the little USB icon merged with the initials SS. If you weren’t in the know, decoding USB logos during the USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and USB 3.2 era was pretty confusing. Without foreknowledge, who could really tell you what SS-squiggly-circuit-thing means off the top of their head?
Even the revisions of the SuperSpeed logo in 2020, while an improvement, still left much room for improvement. If you didn’t know what SS-squiggly-circuit-thing meant, it’s not like you would inherently know what SS-squiggly-circuit-thing-20 meant, after all.
A further revision of the USB logos in 2021 dropped the SuperSpeed and other consumer-confusing branding and introduced easier-to-understand speed and power capacity designations right into the port and cable logos.
In the fall of 2022, the USB Implementers Forum announced a further revision to simplify USB logos. You’ll be seeing a lot of it over the coming years, so now’s a perfect time to show off what a really great upgrade the logos are over the old ones.
For host and device products (such as laptops and portable hard drives), you’ll see the following “Certified USB” logos featuring simple and clear speed designations like “40 Gbps” with a clear cable logo.
Manufacturers have the option to print these logos on devices in addition to the box, so you may see them clearly indicated on a laptop’s USB ports, for example—but that’s not required. You won’t necessarily see them printed physically on your devices.
For USB cables, USB-C cables will have updated packaging and cable logo, indicating both the speed capacity of the cable plus the wattage capacity for charging. So rather than having to decode what some initials and a squiggle mean, you can simply read “Certified USB 80Gbps 60W” right on logo, which you’ll find both on the box and the cable itself.
The logo must be printed on at least one of the USB cable’s connectors, although it will often be printed on both. This should solve the problem of having a big pile of USB cables and being unsure of what data transfer and charging speeds they offer.
Note that all of these changes just apply to USB-C cables. The organization isn’t changing anything about those traditional USB-A cables. Although those classic cables will continue and is totally focused on USB-C going forward.
Overall, it’s a huge improvement even compared to the situation starting at the beginning of 2022—and certainly when compared to the SuperSpeed logo era.
Having written more than a few words over the years about the USB logo confusion, we’re happy to see the updated packaging, port, and cable logos. The new designs are a leap forward in both ease of shopping and ease of use.