Many tech companies’ logos look eerily the same: Google, Spotify, Airbnb, and Pinterest are nearly interchangeable, with their sans-serif fonts and bright colors. But the companies’ logos weren’t always this way. Branding experts say part of the reason for the shift from quirky, esoteric logos that reflect the company’s personality to bland sans-serif corporate identities is that the quirk doesn’t really scale. It’s hard to see the cursive of Airbnb’s old logo on an app icon.
Now Houzz, the $4 billion home decor platform, has followed in the footsteps of its predecessors. This week, the company announced a new logo, designed by famed Pentagram designer Paula Scher. It features a bright green lowercase “H” in the shape of a house (the stem of the “h” is the house’s chimney). Compared to the company’s idiosyncratic former logo–an H composed of black, white, and green triangles–the redesign is unfussy and modern and, most importantly, it will be instantly recognizable and easier to read across the company’s website and app.
The old logo was problematic for Houzz because it didn’t scale. “It’s hard to recognize what it is especially when it’s small,” Scher says. “You really need to make these things that work as favicons, that are legible at a 16th of an inch. It was indistinct anywhere they seemed to put it. They were very frustrated with it.”
Alongside the transformation from the geometric H to the house H, the company is changing its logo typeface to a bigger, bolder sans-serif font. In the standard version of the new logo, the house sits next to the word “Houzz” in the new font. The company is also adding a secondary version, where “Houzz” sits beneath the house–a vertical design that’s well-suited to mobile. The larger font combined with the different ways of representing the logo is supposed to provide the company with greater flexibility, helping the identity scale on any platform that people might use it.
Part of the challenge in designing an H-shaped logo for a company called Houzz is for the logo to not feel obvious–after all, lots of companies that provide home-related services use an H-shaped house as their logo. So instead of having a flat roof for Houzz’s house, Scher slanted it. “It’s like, aww, my house,” she says. “It has its own edge to it and I think that’s what gives it all the charm.”
The house is also meant to be universal. Despite its contemporary appearance–a more traditional house would have a centered, peaked roof–the logo is style-agnostic, allowing you to inject whatever style you’re looking for on Houzz’s platform.