Ok, I tried to like this logo. I really, really tried. I went over it trying to find something positive about Ontario’s contribution to Ontario’s and Canada’s big 150 birthday bash but … wow. Oh wow…. I …. sigh.
I’m not being critical for the sake of being critical. I have some serious issues with the basics in this design. First and foremost is it’s legibility to older eyes. The Ont. gov said it was looking for a design to appeal to millenials. Fine. Cool. But they seem to have forgotten the millions of us here that aren’t under 20 who simply can’t read the logo without a struggle. The logo completely ignores an entire demographic for an event aimed at all of us. And, this seriously pisses me off.
You’re likely saying “come on, it’s not that hard to read”. It is. When I first looked at it, I had to think for a minute about what it actually says. When your market struggles to understand your logo, you’ve already lost.
Here’s an list of what is wrong with the design:
1 – the 150 is not clear. It merges into the design so you see 50 but not the 1 before it. This creates a moment of “what”.
2 – the claustrophopic design creates an optical illusion to my eyes where the words and numbers do a bit of vibrating, making it a even harder to read.
3 – it’s unreadable from a distance.
4 – it looks dreadful shrunk down on a small screen, making it more difficult to read.
5 – the spacing and size of each character is erratic (the nicest description I could come up with). The differences seem to have no purpose other than to squeeze the design into an alloted space.
6 – the type is jagged looking. It has the appearance of being hand drawn with a thick black marker. Sorry, but this makes it look amateurish and sloppy. Not an image Ontario really wants to convey.
7 – OMG that zero! Words fail me.
8 – there is NO ENERGY, which, when I look back at my rundown, is the single biggest fail.
Come on, where’s the excitement about the celebration? Where’s the vibrancy? The colour? Where’s the sense of space and breath-taking beauty? Ontario is 1.076 sq kilometres (514,600 miles for my American friends) of cities, towns, villages, farms and wilderness, wild and wonderful woodlands, the Canadian shield, carpets of trilliums in the spring, red maple leafs in the fall, maple syrup, BBQs in the sunshine, strolls along the Sandbanks, paddling along a quiet shore in Algonquin Park, listening to loons cry at dusk, thousands of lakes, snow, heat, cold, rain, ice fishing, rushing to catch a subway, the sounds of a streetcar grinding on the tracks, street festivals, Shakespeare & Shaw, sitting at Timmies with friends, espresso, microbreweries, wineries, food … oh the food, lining up for Dim Sum, film festivals, a trip to the local amateur playhouse, bush parties, bhangra lessons in city chambers, Pow Wows, May 24 weekend & cottage country, cultures merging from every corner of the earth, history spanning back thousands of years to the first peoples and the Ontario goverment gives us … our parents’ basement.
So .. no. I don’t like it.
Did you know Kodak was still around? I ran across an article the other day that mentioned their logo redesign and was actually pleased to find they didn’t fold. There was a time when Kodak was synonymous with photography – think of the slogan “Kodak moment”. You didn’t need to say anything more because your audience instantly picked up on the meaning. Last time I heard about Kodak, they were filing for bankruptcy. They sold off over $500 million worth of patents and intellectual property, sold off their film and photographic units and successfully emerged from Chapter 11.
In 2006, they ditched their yellow and red logo for a simplified word only image:
Gone was the instantly identifiable red K on yellow that could be spotted a mile away. There was never any doubt what this represented:
You didn’t even have to read the word Kodak to know what company it was. I have to admit, I’m not fond of the bland, nondescript ’06 logo. I like the yellow/red version. It has history attached to it, generations of instant recognition. Plus it translates well into a small logo on a web page. Not all logos can do this. The new logo rolls back the design to an earlier era – one that was successful for the company and when Kodak and photography were one and the same. They’ve resurrected their classic 1970s logo that is oddly well suited to 2016.
The new/old logo is a bit different. Can you spot it?
The Kodak slides down along the right edge using a thinner font. It feels sleeker, cleaner. What’s interesting is how such a small change altered the entire feel of the logo. The words really stand now. Not sure about you, but my eyes immediately fall onto the word and move towards the stylized K. Nice balancing act. A nice nod to their history with a clean, modern font. This is a keeper.
I have an excellent redesign for you. The instantly recognisable Guinness logo was refreshed in the spring and the designers have done a fine job. I often look at logo changes and that little intransigent part of my brain instantly rejects the alterations. It usually takes 3 or 4 examinations before I make up my mind and quell the boring part of my thinking. The Guinness logo is different – love at first site. It retains all the best features of the original – tradition, Ireland, culture and pride.
As expected, the company kept their classic harp design. I suspect if Guinness had a fit of madness and did away with it, there would be a rebellion in Ireland.
Guinness has done a number interesting things: they moved the date onto the harp, where original tradmark was back in 1862 and gave the harp a rich engraved look. While everyone else has been moving towards minimalized logos, Guinness swam against the tide with this nod to their past.
The second big change that is the font. Something in the back of the brain says “that’s new” – it is and it isn’t. They are using the same crisp serif font, it simply isn’t elongated any longer. It’s wider, plumper, adding to that sense of depth. The focus is squarely on the harp. The eye is immediately drawn to it – and why not. It’s the very definition of iconic. It has that instant brand recognition most companies would sell their souls for.
The logo is far less fussy, doing away with the superfluous lines. The eye moves in a nice fluid line from the harp to the name. Perfect. Clean. Simple… and yet the engraved harp is still complex enough to be intriguing. As a bonus, that jarring red signature is gone. Guinness opted for a consistent gold colour throughout, adding a sense of continuity to the entire design.
I like the change. Let’s be brutally honest, the previous logo was bland to the point of lifelessness. It was simplified it to such an extent, it risked becoming clip art. In the same space, Guinness now evokes tradition, craftsmanship and quality. Rather well done, n’est pas?
I’ve seen a bit of chatter this week about Sears’ new logo so I decided to wander yonder and take a look. Here’s the old:
Ok, yes, the new logo is better. Sears went with a clean, simple font that is nicely spaced. At first I was underwhelmed:
After seeing the two on the screen, side by side, I have to agree, it’s quite an improvement. The new logo is far easier to read, especially on a computer screen. The old blue logo was a neonesque nightmare on computer screens. So this is a nice move. It remains legible on small screens unlike the previous blue one which was a nightmare to look at.
I don’t think there’s a Sears in Toronto anymore, they’ve pretty much gone the way of the dodo in Canada and I doubt this logo is really going to help much. The thing is, when I think of Sears I think of a place my mum shopped … and I’m in my 50s. The old logo screamed outdated and stodgy. Not that my mum is stodgy … this entire paragraph just didn’t come out right. Apologies to my mum. At any rate, Sears feels old and tired – nothing about the store or their new logo has that come hither feel to it. The company has way too much baggage for a logo to make any real impact.
I stumbled across the new Mastercard logo recently and have given it a bit of thought. Well, to be honest, I kept looking at it trying to figure out what was different – I knew something was, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Can you spot the difference?
I even pulled out my card to look at the logo before the penny dropped. A couple of subtle changes have refreshed the old logo. The words across the logo, with all the stripes created a bit of visual noise. By removing them, MC has created a clean, simple and leaner logo. Shifting the words off the logo and underneath, squares it up, creating a nice sense of symmetry.
I’m pleased they kept the classic design and didn’t make huge changes. If a logo doesn’t translate well over time, ok, make that radical shift, but this is a case of “don’t fix what isn’t broken” – the two circles are instantly recognisable around the world. These small changes create a clearer visual when shrunk down on a smaller screen or on a credit card itself. Even if the word is cut from the logo, it’s immediately understood.
I have to say, changing the lettering to black and moving it off the colours, makes the wording easier to read as well. Nice touch of clarity. However, I really like the change in typography the most. The new font ditches the hard edges and now flows with the circles. The combo of lower case, rounded edges and complete vertical alignment has fresh feeling. Don’t know if their intention was to create a slightly friendlier logo, but that’s the end result. Keeping the old, but giving it a bit of a facelift has worked well.
Small changes sometimes create the boldest impact.