New logos usually mark a change of direction for a brand. K-Swiss and its newly launched brand identity and logo showcases a new “slant”. The company says it is in a period of resurgence and needed a refresh to reflect that. And that change of direction is literal.
How do brands post on 9/11?
How can brands insert themselves into the conversation without seeming opportunistic?
How can they show their sincerity?
It is a time for people to reflect, remember others and share stories to help heal. The pain is still real. Acknowledging this will be more respectful than anything else a brand can do because whatever they do, they will be criticized.
What is your company’s “personality?” Do you know your brand?
Before you begin on any marketing or advertising campaign you should be able to define your company brand. We can help you drill down to your core brand identity, so it’s clear.
Can you answer these questions?
What are your company’s core values?
What are your present and future goals for your company?
Looking at where you’re headed… try this exercise.
Relax your mind. For a moment, let your thoughts flow freely.
How do you see your company?
How do your customers see your company?
Can you use “power words” to describe your company?
“Power words” are positive, active, descriptive words loaded with emotions that create a dominant image or impression in peoples minds.
Logo design is a process. We synthesize the ideas you tell us about your company and return with some appropriate visual representations of those concepts. Distilling concepts to their visual brand essence is what we do for you, helping define and develop your core brand along the way.
A great logo starts with knowing your brand.
Next >… Creating your logo – a process
What makes one brand successful and another a failure? Think through these brand successes and failures and you will be able to see how the many variables of change contribute to their outcomes.
Icons are built over time through consistent brand experiences, and once this status is reached a company can then minimalize a mark or identity system. Visual brand recognition is just that good with Starbucks. They dropped their brand name and the word ‘coffee’ from their logo. Broad brand awareness is needed if you are to remove a word mark and leave only the logo. That is, if you don’t want to confuse or lose customers. Starbucks was clever in keeping many of their iconic signifiers, and the result was a solid, refreshed visual identity (VI), which did not infringe upon the customer’s experience of the brand. More…
In the late 90s, Target was seen as just a discount retailer, much like Wal-Mart or K-Mart. By offering pared down versions of designer apparel and merchandise through exclusive deals with high-profile designers Target began to stand out from its competitors setting themselves apart with high-quality merchandise at lower prices. It now remains to be seen how and when they will recuperate from the credit card scandal which has tarnished their brand. Trust is at top of the brand list.
In 1997, Apple was dangerously close to bankruptcy. Today, stock prices have gone from $6 to $500+. What changed? They produce reliable and elegantly designed creative products which are enhanced by a strong visual identity. Apple articulates its brand from its products down to the store level experience. Their brand creates a positive experience all around for customers. More… here and here
In the late ’90s, UPS reminded customers of the ways UPS can meet their needs by replacing its slogan “Moving at the speed of business” with “What can brown do for you?” They created ads with characters like the “Mailroom Guy,” and the “CEO” to show that no matter where you are in the company hierarchy, UPS can help you. In 2001, UPS showed a profit margin that was roughly double FedEx’s.
UPS’s latest global slogan, “We [Heart] Logistics” is designed to highlight its position as a company that serves customers worldwide. UPS establishes a strong brand by using forward-looking slogans that tell customers they are continually adapting and providing new ways to meet their needs.
The successes: Acknowledge that a brand’s identity goes way beyond a logo – it’s about the experiences they offer. These experiences and brand signifiers weren’t altered to the point of being unidentifiable, thus making the transition easier for customers.
When people are brand loyal, they are loyal to the product and its aesthetics. The danger of rebranding is that customers can be too attached to the old concept to accept any changes.
2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 were all years in which JCPenney sported a new logo. Sometimes a new logo reflects changes that are not necessarily better. The fact that the logo has changed this frequently tells you a bit more about the company than one might think. More…
In 2009, Tropicana (a PepsiCo company) changed their visual identity of their flagship product by replacing the image of an orange pierced with a straw to a picture of a glass of orange juice. They also implemented a vertical logo with a new typeface. Consumers complained that they found the product difficult to distinguish among the many varieties of Tropicana, and more importantly, very difficult to differentiate from other juice brands. It was reported that sales of the Pure Premium line dropped 20 percent between January 1st and February 22nd.
By the end of 2009, Tropicana reverted back to the old packaging, proving that they were listening. This is a good example of an iconic brand misjudging when a VI might be altered and, more importantly, to what extent. A VI overhaul has the power to be disruptive, and not necessarily in a good way. Sometimes, the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,’ rings true.
In 2008 Pepsi’s 11th new logo in its 110-year history was introduced. Five logos in 21 years, with the prior update being in 2002. this logo rebrand was not well-received and Pepsi was endlessly ridiculed for the amount spent and the Brand agency’s conceptual words around it which seemed too contrived. More …
In 2010 the power of the internet forced Gap to retreat to its original logo just days after the launch of their rebrand. An interesting look at how the company was not afraid to admit they were wrong and listen to their audience. More …
In 2000, BP updated its logo from a green shield to a green, yellow and white flower, adding the tagline ‘beyond petroleum’. The oil giant spent $7 million on brand research and $200 million in support of the rebranding. Environmental charities claimed it was spending more on rebranding than on research into renewable energy.
In 1985 “New Coke” was launched with a new formula in an effort to keep up with Pepsi. Consumers were unhappy with many US customers boycotting the “New Coke”. Within 3 months, they reintroduced Coke as Coke Classic which went on to outsell both New Coke and Pepsi.
In 2011, Coke withdrew a newly-branded can in the US. Focused on their $3 million pledge to the WWF to help save polar bears, the company launched a white can. Visually, it looked too similar to the Diet Coke alternative, and of course brand confusion set in, customers complained and within one month, the red can returned.
As of 2013 3M has been in existence for 111 years and has had 30 logo iterations! The most recent in 1978. That is an average of every 3.7 years. There is an undue need for change in this company that shows they have created their own brand confusion. More …
The failures: Why change something that doesn’t need changing?
As you look around everyday you can see examples of successes and failures — I know you can pick them out.
Happy Birthday Mac!
I want to thank you for helping me earn a living.
As a designer for over 35 years I have had an array of working Macs and icompanions.
We began in 1989 with a Mac IICX and from there over the years have had a Quadra 700, PowerBook, PowerMac 8500, PowerMac G3, Power Mac G4 Quicksilver, PowerBook Titanium, LaserWriter printer, a variety of mice and keyboards, displays of 17”, 20”, 27”, 30” cinema, iPod Shuffle, iPod Classic, iPad, iPhone 4s and an iMac Aluminum 27”.
You have allowed me to be productive and willingly handled all that I have been able to throw at you!
Purple tends to be a color that people either love or hate. A visit to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach’s Kennett Square office “Brand Opening” led me to a thought-provoking conversation on the BHHS corporate brand color choice of purple. They all knew the reasoning well as it was conveyed as part of the brand.
Historically, purple is the color of kings and emperors because it was nearly nonexistent in Renaissance and Medieval era due to near extinction of the snail used to make imperial purple. Imperial purple disappeared in 1453.
In pre-historic existence, our ancestors probably never saw a purple fruit, flower, bird, fish – or any living thing. This just added to the expense of creating the color.
The earliest purple dyes date back to about 1900 B.C. It took 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye to be used on a single garment the size of the Roman toga. This explains why this “regal” color was used primarily for garments of emperors or privileged individuals. Roman emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus both decreed that only the Emperor could wear purple. When Nero became Emperor, the wearing of purple and even the sale of purple was punishable by death!
Purple pigments and dyes are now less costly and complex, yet the purple symbolism of nobility and luxury remains true to most people in the world.
Other cultural symbolism
• “Purple Heart” – the American award for bravery.
• Purple is a symbolic color for the gay community in many Western cultures.
• Purple symbolism is generationally specific. It is the color of “Barney” (children’s TV character) and also of Yahoo.
• In U.K., Italy, Thailand, Brazil purple symbolizes mourning or death.
Visually distinct features of purple
• Purple is the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow.
• and lastly, purple is the hardest color for the eye to discriminate. See this visual illusion.
The 2012 rebrand involved a new pricing strategy, called “Fair and Square Pricing,” in which there would be everyday prices; month-long values; and “best prices” on the first and third Fridays of every month. The logo was meant to play off the “fair and square” theme (notice the square).
The logos in the image at left show the evolution of its visual brand.
Ron Johnson, the newly ousted CEO, had shortened the company’s name to ‘jcp’ in an attempt to rebrand. Consumer research showed overwhelming support for the prior logo before ‘jcp’.
The rebranding coincided with last year’s loss of nearly $1 billion for the company. Executives are hoping that the return of the former familiar logo will also encourage the return of shoppers.
Stephen Sadove, currently CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, will join JCPenney after Saks Fifth Avenue’s pending merger with Hudson’s Bay.
How often do companies go through a rebranding when a new CEO steps in? Each CEO sets themselves up to make their mark and rebrand the company as their own. But if you notice, it is often the struggling companies that look to rebranding as part of the answer to their overall strategy.
We like to make all communications easy for viewers to read. And of course we never want to create stumbling blocks to their concentration and comprehension! Recently I have seen too many examples of broken typography which has led me to put together this post.
1 Avoid distracting “widows”, “rivers” and “orphans”.
Rivers are a series of word spaces on consecutive lines of type that align more or less one over the other to create the appearance of a visual river in the text. Rivers can be vertical, diagonal, or even curved. They can be hard to ignore and divert your reader’s eyes, competing for needless attention.
A widow is a single word alone on a line at the end of a paragraph.
Orphans are single lines of copy alone at the bottom or top of a page or column.
2 Optimal Type Alignment – Aligned Left, Right, Justified, or Centered?
Justified body copy creates more rivers, undesirable letter- and word-spacing and hyphenation issues. If you must justify, there are a few things you can do to minimize visual disturbances. Adjust the size of margin, decrease the body copy size, or manually hyphenate the text.
Right-aligned and centered are generally not used for body copy. Left-aligned text is just right!
3 Insert only a single space after all punctuation.
4 Avoid underlined text. In today’s world this is a visual cue that the text is a hyperlink. Emphasis can be achieved by using italic or bold.
5 Text longer than a short headline or subhead should never be in all caps. As a rule use upper/lowercase letters.
8 Lines of type should not exceed 52 characters in length, or two alphabets. When lines are too long, readers may lose their place in returning to the next line.
9 For a single-column width – 4.25 inches is ideal and a two-column width can be as narrow as 2 inches.
10 Avoid letterspacing upper/lowercase copy.
11 Create a hierarchy of messaging with your type. Which one or two messages do you want to command the viewer’s attention? Vary their size and weight accordingly and direct the viewer’s eyes.
Read more about Visually Leading Your Viewers With Intent.
Keep these simple rules in your arsenal to ensure your copy is readable and have fun with type!
The new logo was created by Yahoo’s in-house brand design group and product designers. It was not part of the “30 Days of Change” campaign, according to Ad Age.
So, the “30 Days of Change” was really just an exercise with no intention of using one of the 30 featured choices. They had already decided on the chosen logo.
CEO Marissa Mayer’s blog post reveals, “Over the subsequent weeks, we’ve worked on various applications and treatments of the logo.” Huh? She goes on to mention, “We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo — whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud.”
A bit too involved for a CEO, but again, read more…
Results are a CEO-centric logo.
Yahoo is running a “30 Days of Change” new logo campaign. Each day in August they showcased a new design on their website, leading up to the unveiling of a new logo on September 5th. At first I thought this was meant to garner positive attention, hype and to just get people excited. Why not engage Yahoo users and ask for their votes? Sounds like a novel idea. Or why not allow other designers the opportunity of submitting their version? Yahoo has online polling asking visitors to rate each of the new Yahoo logos vs. the old one but, interestingly enough, most versions are not as well liked as the original logo.
Logo redesigns are not meant to increase business. They are meant to reflect change in an organization. Sometimes redesigns are done to revitalize a beaten down brand as a result of bad PR, poor management, or a corporate blunder – basically to eliminate negative images of the brand. And sometimes a rebranding is a reflection of a new CEO wanting to put his/her stamp on the business. This appears to be just that. A reflection of CEO, Marissa Mayer wanting to change things up and making her mark.
Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt says the new logo is meant to symbolize “a renewed sense of purpose and progress at Yahoo.” This may motivate employees, but logos are, more importantly, meant to create a brand identity for customers. To them, a design change means, not only a brand change, but a product change.
So why try to fix something when it isn’t broken? Logo design changes are not always well-received by customers.
In 2010, The Gap unveiled a new logo and quickly reverted to their original logo.
In 2009, Tropicana orange juice, a Pepsi company, redesigned its label to look more contemporary. After the new design hit the shelves, Tropicana sales declined by 20 percent. Needless to say, they quickly brought back the old design.
In 2008, Wal-Mart, in an effort to improve its image with women, changed its logo from black corporate block letters to a softer, more feminine design which was received positively.
So let’s see how Yahoo does! Will they stay with their original logo or choose one of the proposed 30 choices?