Clear Channel Gets a Little Less Clear

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Is your business ready for a logo design change? Many of the companies that have been successful in the recession have been so by reevaluating their brand strategy and aligning it with customer needs. Clear Channel is one business that is staying modern with a minor ‘brand refresher’.

Like many logo designs, the Clear Channel logo was holding the company back. The upper case lettering had serious serifs and was generally just a little too corporate. In addition, the image in the logo design was, well, lame.

The new logo type is better suited to the modern audience, a sans serif font with friendly rounded elements and a more natural capitalization scheme. The image has been changed little. The new Clear Channel logo image appears to be a magnified version of the former. It has a less obvious letter C and a lighter colored palette, but the swirl and the general shape are the same.

The new logo design could be seen as an evolution of the old one, but making the letter less obvious may be a move in the wrong direction. All that is left is a rounded swirl, which gives a feeling of movement but is too vague to be the sole representative of a brand. This swirl is fit within a rounded square that is similarly vague, yielding a logo image that says absolutely nothing about the brand.

Further, it is difficult to see exactly how this relates to the industry at hand. What exactly does the image represent? Clarity? Reliability? It’s hard to tell—and we are willing to bet that customers won’t see it any clearer. A simple text based logo design might have been clearer and more effective at the same time.

There are a few positive elements, of course. We love the change in color; black was too serious and corporate, while the shades of blue are a perfect complement to the brand. We also like that the new logo design and visual identity are related to the old. In fact, most people will never notice that there has been a change. However, this visual identity is much more modern than the one it replaces, despite its faults, and will be a better representative of the new brand.

This is not your average redesign; the stakes are much higher with half a million displays spread over thirty countries. Many, many people will see this logo, and it will have to resonate with a greater variety of cultures and backgrounds as well. Five thousand people all over the globe work for this company, and the customer count probably reaches into the millions.

We can nitpick forever, but this is a much better logo design that will likely resonate with its customer base. And, design considerations aside, that is really all that matters. People will see this logo design, associate it with Clear Channel, and begin to build brand loyalties. While we have mixed feelings about the methods, the results will probably be overwhelmingly positive.