Fast Company

Are These New Logos An Upgrade Or A Downgrade?

Good logos are like good friends: "When they show up wearing a mustache, with no explanation, you just go, 'Huh?'" says Michael Cronan, creative director at branding firm Cronan. But, of course, most logo changes are done for a reason. Cronan and partner Karin Hibma evaluate three recent ones.


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NEW

YELLOW PAGES

// The Problem
Yellow Pages was largely thought of as a print (and outdated) product, even though it has digital platforms.

// The Verdict
"The fingers-walking symbol was an iconic visual metaphor, and to replace it with a generic set of initials--which may as well stand for 'Yugoslavian Port Authority' out of context--is a huge loss. Yes, the new logo looks like an app icon. But it doesn't have personality."


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MTV

// The Problem
Viewers knew and loved shows like Jersey Shore but didn't always know they were on MTV.

// The Verdict
"MTV is all about reality TV now, so it's smart to take off 'music television.' But by filling the M with scenes from their shows, the noisy backgrounds and lack of shadowing make it hard to see the M. It looks like a torn billboard."


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FIREFOX

// The Problem
Mozilla was about to release version 3.5 of its Firefox browser, which looked similar but had a lot of back-end changes. The company feared users wouldn't notice the new stuff.

// The Verdict
"The colors are softer, so it appears a bit more unified and globular. But there's nothing that feels fresh, fun, or interesting. It seems like Firefox redrew this for themselves, not their customers."

Illustration by David Cowles

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6 Comments

  • Mike McDonald

    The photo background of the MTV logo seems like a rarely used form of the logo. In most applications, they tend to use the solid white on dark background version. Seems kind of odd to judge the logo on a seemingly limited use case. 

    The more significant changes were dropping the tagline and shortening the legs of the "M", which I think were both positive changes. 

  • Stephen Leckenby

    MTV - The chaos within the "M" actually communicates MTV programming about as well as anything. You see "TV" a bunch. Their next step should should be to replace the word "music" with something that better matches their current programming. I will leave that open for suggestions...

  • R Heinbach

    Yellow Pages - I believe this new icon fits their mobile strategy very well.  The "generic set of initials" is simple, elegant and easy to find in sea of apps.  Also, the visual metaphor of fingers walking across a phone book is dated and will be lost on a new generation of consumers.  (4 Stars)

    MTV - The old icon screams 80's music videos, but the new logo is difficult to discern.  Updated, yes.  Better, perhaps.  (2 Stars)

    Firefox - This new "softer" layout is consistent with design of the new browser.  It's also inline with Apple's latest version of OSX (lion).  Adding "fresh, fun, or interesting" elements would detract from the brand's already established equity among technology users.  (5 Stars)

  • Les Gagne

    Here's my creative girth suggestion for Yellow Pages:  I think they should have used the yellow square of the new "yp" logo and turned the old walking fingers up side down in the shape of a Y (remove the book and maybe a subtle p could have been added too in the palm area).  The new two finger symbol logo has the potential of going viral and becoming a "pop icon" sign in re-inventing the coveted brand, in how we communicate with each other,  and how we go about "finding" the things we want.  Les  thebigbeaver@mail.com

  • Les Gagne

    Here's my creative girth suggestion for Yellow Pages:  I think they should have used the yellow square of the new "yp" logo and turned the old walking fingers up side down in the shape of a Y (maybe a subtle p could have been added too in the palm area).  The new two finger symbol logo has the potential of going viral and becoming a "pop icon" sign in re-inventing the coveted brand, in how we communicate with each other,  and how we go about "finding" the things we want.  Les for Hire.  thebigbeaver@mail.com