(All the above logos are properties of respective companies and have been used only for informational purposes.)
The Oxford Dictionary defines a logo as “…a printed design or symbol that a company or an organization uses as its special sign.” Corporate history has shown that a logo is much more than that to a company. A logo helps attach adjectives to a company – tech-savvy, fast, smart, conventional, hip, boring! A change to a logo makes the audience sit up and notice (often rethink) about the company. The human mind has a tendency to attach personal or humane characteristics to something intangible as an organization image that helps the logo.
Changing logos is a way of advertising. It’s a pretty safe bet that you can perform (most of the time) a good redesign of your logo once. That can be interpreted (and explained) as an improvement and forward thinking. You do it too frequently and you may look like you’re unsure of who you are, or more importantly, who your clients are.
Recently, a few major companies have redesigned their logos. Except for a couple of them, the old logos looked better than the new.
Intel’s new identity is an improvement. The old logo, used for almost 37 years, was simply a lower-case version of the word Intel with a dropped letter “e” in the word. This new logo is a marked improvement on the old one and consist of a more modern font (Neo Sans) than Helvetica in the old logo. The new face has more personality without going completely overboard.
I was not entirely sure the circular bands were necessary, but that was when my friend from the company shared this bit about the Intel logo and mentioned that the main driver of the new logo was “one of our VP’s of marketing who recently joined Intel from Samsung – which I thought was kind of weird when he was first hired – but anyway, I thought it was good he was brining in some changes to “make his mark” on Intel. The thing that is most ironic about all of this (logo redesign) is the Samsung logo from where he came.” He then mentioned that the Intel logo is pretty much the exact chromatic inverse of the Samsung logo. Interesting.
Kodak looks terrible. The typeface is too soft and vague. The two yellow lines look really out of place (they may be dropped in a few years just as VISA lost the blue and brown bands), and feel forced, as if they had to incorporate yellow into the identity somehow, so they pasted a couple of sticks in there. The lack of a logotype symbol greatly reduces the visual value of the logo. There’s nothing to remember now. The old Kodak logo (it served the company for more than 50 years) was instantly recognizable due to its distinct look. They just wiped away decades of branding.
The logo looks more like a beachball with too much of a 3D for me. It will probably loose its clarity when reduced to small dimensions, unlike their old logo which held up well in any situation. I feel that the original blue-with-white stripes had more impact. The reversing of colours was not required. They should have made subtle changes. As for the font, it’s way too plain, and the ampersand doesn’t have any of the character from its earlier version. All in all, it is too much of a shift from the previous logo.
Certainly Unilever logo was very much in need of a change. It was very industrial and cold. The new logo is warm and “friendly” but it is very complex. The movement to a script typeface I think was brilliant and that in itself gives a warmer feel. I always try to follow the rule “Maximum meaning, minimum means”. When designing a logo, one should not try to say everything all at once, which is the purpose of advertising and marketing. The logo should meet the preliminary goals of warmth and friendliness. In this case the goals are met, but then they are diluted by adding too many caveats. This logo says too much, it could be put on a billboard with a catchy tagline and be a great ad campaign in itself. All in all, I think it is better than average. I’d like to see how it holds up on a fax. Or embroidered on a corporate T-Shirt.
Logos have been around since early days of the Renaissance, the 13th Century. Goldsmiths’ marks, paper makers’ watermarks were among the first logos used in this way, as trademarks.
Even though the word “logo” comes from ancient Greek and it translates to “word” or “speech”, other cultures – the Babylonian, Assyrian, Mayan, Chinese, Egyptian also used pictographs to communicate words and ideas. Traders used to mark their wares with monograms to claim ownership and right to title of the goods.
But it is only in the last century that the logo started generating more interest (and more so particularly after the concept of branding was introduced by the likes of Pavlov and David Ogilvy). Modern history of logo dictated companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors who had similar working products to sell. And ever since they made their entry, logos have revolutionized the advertising world for sure.