Cotter Visual Synergist

Do Logo Redesigns Always Reflect Change?

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?