Yahoo!’s new logo. Was it worth the wait?

Yahoo logoby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

After a month of teaser logos, Yahoo! has posted their final, new one. Here are several comments from CEO, Marisa Mayer and the in-house design team’s  rationale of the new logo:

• “The aim was to create a logo that was “sophisticated with a wink.”
• About the exclamation point animations – “It might be an exclamation riding on a Segway, or riding on a pogo stick or swinging on a Tarzan vine. It’s a hat tip to the traditional whimsy our users have loved and will continue to love.”
• “You’ll notice a chisel to our logo that’s very architectural. What we’re saying is our logo is the foundation upon which our brand and products and user experience will continue to be built.” (Yahoo! created their own typeface, yet to be named.)

I agree, the logo needed to be refreshed. It was out of step for their new products and what Marisa Mayer’s drive to make Yahoo! feel younger. In my opinion, it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. I believe one problem is Yahoo! decided to use their in-house design talent instead of a top-notch design and brand company. There are some in-house agencies that have great talent, but that is more the exception than the rule. ( I’ll probably will be getting death threats from some of my design friends who work in-house for companies for that last statement.)

• The logo is much more feminine and I see this as a plus. Women do dominate online activities, whether it’s search, mobile, shopping, research, community and just about any other function.
• It does accomplish the goal of “tipping the hat” to its heritage.

• The design conveys a conservative, reserved feeling that is more suited for a financial institution that is trying to look hip.
• The attempt to be “whimsical” is not as sophisticated as it should be. (Google does a better job at being both playful and sophisticated with their doodles.)
• Their new type face isn’s something so unique that you couldn’t have gotten the same effect with an existing font (it looks like a distorted Optima font.)

If you are going to the effort of redesigning your logo and visual brand, then invest in the best talent you can and be very focused on the core guiding philosophy that you want the logo to convey. I understand the logic of designing it in-house. Who knows you better than you? There are two problems with this, first not all people are created equal. Talent is called talent for a reason. Second, just like individuals, it is often hard to see yourself clearly or objectively. I’m truly pulling for Yahoo! because I’m a fan of Marisa Mayer and I want her to succeed. It will also be better for the marketplace to have two or three strong players in search, not just one. But, this logo is not a good step forward and it has turned a potential “wow” moment into a “who cares” pause.

My over all grade for the new Yahoo! logo is a C, which means it’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s mediocre. What grade would you give it?


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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