09.06.13

30 Days of New Logos and All We Got Was…

It’s no secret that updating a globally recognized logo is a risky endeavor. However it can be a necessary evil and for Yahoo and CEO, Marissa Mayer, it appears now was the right time to take this leap. Yahoo’s mindshare has been on a steady decline as they struggled to remain relevant amongst behemoth competitors and a rapid influx of startups. With a revolving door of CEOs and key leadership over the past few years, it seems now with Marissa Mayer at the helm, Yahoo has it’s best hopes ever of making a come back—and who doesn’t love a good come back story.

After a flow of updates to the Yahoo front page, email, photo-sharing service Flickr, and a series of acquisitions including Tumblr, it’s obvious that change is afoot. It is this sense of change that makes now the right time to cement in everyone’s mind that this is no longer the Yahoo we once knew. One of the most effective and visible ways to reflect this, is with an update to the company logo.  We see examples of this pretty frequently, including Microsoft, American Airlines, and the not so successful Gap rebrand.

Rather than spring a new logo on the public, Yahoo was smart. They saw this as an opportunity to generate buzz and turned the endeavor into a successful marketing ploy. For 30 days, Yahoo released a new logo, all of which had been rejected as the final solution, until day 30, which was the reveal of the new logo. Marissa Mayer states in her blog post to launch the final solution that she wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo—whimsical, yet sophisticated. Yahoo employees at large also felt it was important to maintain a tilted exclamation point and the color purple which is synonymous with the existing brand. All of these are valid and relevant goals and desires for the new logo, but unfortunately it appears that this is where making the right decisions stopped.

Updating a company logo is a huge undertaking and one that requires in-depth research, strategy, and for best results, an outside opinion. A team of four Yahoo employees and an intern spent a whopping two days on developing the 30 logo options that were revealed over the past month. Apparently, within those two days they were able to complete what would take some of the best and most reputable branding agencies a minimum of six months to accomplish. At the very least, they did focus on all the very minute details and mathematics to ensure proper proportions within each letter form and the logo as a whole.

Without being a part of the actual logo redesign team, it is nearly impossible to truly understand the process they undertook to develop the final solution or the exact motivations that drove their decision making. What we can see is a new logo that lacks personality, innovation, and no reflection of Yahoo’s new direction or focus as a leading internet company.

The best logos communicate a message or reflect an idea about what the company does. They should work as part of a larger brand experience that piques the interest of the audience and is memorable. Although, the new Yahoo logo is subjectively fine and a non-offensive iteration of the original logo, it lacks the legs to add anything to a larger brand story.