What's In A Logo?
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the phrase, “What’s in a name?” Actually, quite a bit. Just ask Google. Or Yahoo. Apparently, there’s a lot of merit in branding gobbledygook, inserting r@nd0m punctuation and/or gratuitous use of “oo.”
By the same token, there’s also a lot to be said about a name’s (brand) logo. To illustrate this, why not use the same original search engine giants?
While Google has taken a pretty revolutionary path by allowing its sacrosanct logo to be continally riffed, mashed, altered and revised (they're called doodles, and there’s even a website that houses all of them), without permanently changing it, Yahoo took a more familiar path, culminating in its reveal last midnight on CEO Marissa Meyer’s Tumblr and company Tumblr.
Google’s approach is pretty revolutionary. It flies in the face of traditional, incumbent and old-school branding, advertising and design best practices -- but then again, so does search. Google’s approach is bang-on strategy because it is authentically Google and so inextricably endemic to search (how else do you find it?) Contextually, what could be more natural than seeing this on the 50th anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech (especially if one was searching for something related)?
Brands invest millions upon millions to make a grand entrance and grandiose statement about absolutely nothing. In fact, they take a giant step back instead of any step forward, because they detract from their preexisting equity and loyalty in order to make a feeble Hail Mary attempt to move an incremental stumble forward.
The Coca-Cola Classic version of this is AOL or Aol or aol.
Here’s a hint. Don’t tell me you’re changing by overspending and tweaking a logo (and in so doing, just demonstrating to me that you HAVEN’T changed at all) -- just change! Demonstrate your intent by action. This is a perfect platform and time for innovation if you think about it. Flip the funnel. Break the funnel. Break something -- just not your damn logo.
So should Yahoo fit into this hall of shame? I’m reserving judgment and giving the company the benefit of the doubt on this one. To echo the words of Marissa Meyer, the logo (itself a “portal” into a $10 billion valuation) hadn’t changed in 18 years, and in Yahoo’s case, it needed to change.
Personally, I don’t give a damn about the logo itself. I always prefer the old logo of any brand. That’s just me. I don’t really have an opinion on the new logo, but I do have an opinion on how Yahoo went about it. Here’s what I like:
- Marissa Meyer announced it on her Tumblr (as did the company.) Her Tumblr. Her Tubmlr. Get it? Nice integration of a new asset, which in of itself demonstrates change.
- The company pre-sensitized its zealots by offering a 30-day lead-up showcase with variations on the logo.
- This wasn’t a tired “vote for the winner” approach, or a fiasco like iSnack 2.0.
- Most importantly, it doesn’t appear the company broke the bank with a navel-gazing effort.
Yahoo got the press it was looking for. After all, I am writing about it right now.
It’s early days and yes, there will be haters out there, but as long as the company continues to lead with action versus intent; innovation versus traditional approaches; and demonstration (of change) versus communication; maybe -- just maybe -- this will go down as one of the more successful logo redesigns of recent years.