Yahoo has recently unveiled their new logo after a 30-day campaign during which a variation of the logo was presented each day on the company web site, then the final candidate was launched.
The new logo has been designed by CEO Marissa Mayer and a team of internal designers during one weekend in summer. The background due to Mayer: “We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo – whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud.”
The revamp is the first major identity change in Yahoo’s 18-year history and this could have been a great opportunity to signal a positive change for the company. Instead the designers have left more or less all major elements of the logo intact except for the font where the elaboration has been focused. Unfortunately the new logo does not really fit Mayers brief as it feels more engineered, structured and boring than fresh and modern. More business-like than whimsical and personal. The new font also makes it look more like a brand in the beauty sector than a proud internet brand. Out of the 30-day campaign I believe there were several options that suited the brief better than the final one.
The feedback from the public has so far been mainly negative where a majority prefers the old logo. That can be due to the fact that most customers don’t like changes. However, don't forget the disastrous feedback that GAP, Tropicana and British Airways faced from their customers when conducting big rebranding projects. This lead them to change back their identities causing big costs and embarrassment.
Branding is an important strategic discipline and a rebranding is a big operation for any brand. A new logo should be a core element of a professionally planned brand launch consisting of a new brand strategy, new vision, new brand positioning, new customer promise etc. Yahoo should therefore have focused their efforts on defining a strong brand foundation including the elements just mentioned, then using good creative design to conceptualize the brand strategy into a visual identity where the logo is a main expression. Just re-designing the old logo makes this look more like a cosmetic overhaul than a much needed signal of strategic brand change.
In the highly competitive arena where Yahoo is playing, they need to be able to tell customers why they should choose Yahoo and what makes Yahoo different.
A "new" logo is not enough.