Getting Sirius about Satellite Radio


Satellite radio is huge right now; it offers better sound, almost universal reception, and a wider range of channels. A few years ago, the two leading satellite communication radio companies merged to form one conglomerate: Sirius XM. When two companies merge, they often develop an entirely new logo design to represent the new company, but Sirius XM decided to simply merge the two corporate logos by placing them side-by-side. However, an entirely new logo has now been developed for the company.

We like the idea of forming an entirely new logo design, so the change was overdue. The question is: is the new logo design better than the old one? In this case, we aren’t sure.

The logotype for new design is, well, boring. Both Sirius and XM had distinctive fonts that were part of their corporate identities. Clearly a new font was needed. However, the new writing is a little generic, with none of the high-tech and original charm of the former ones. Further, using a lower case ‘M’ for the XM portion doesn’t seem to work well with the rest of the logo.

The radio waves of XM’s former logo have been maintained, an element that is attractive and appropriate for the genre. The pale aqua blue of Sirius is also retained, along with a new sky blue color that definitely relates to the sky and the satellite industry. This new logo design incorporates the two brands, but there has been one huge loss: Mongo, the Sirius dog.

Sirius is definitely the better known of the two brands that became Sirius XM, and starry eyed Mongo is the recognizable emblem of this company. Losing Mongo may be part of trimming the fat, a necessary process when melding two companies. On the other hand, the dog image is unique in the technology world and well-recognized. Mongo gave serious a fun, approachable feeling that is simply not present in the new technology logo design.

The new font is oversized and clunky, dwarfing the waves that should be the main part of the logo. They now are less recognizable as radio waves and look more like movement lines. A better compromise between the two brands would have been easy to reach. For example, the new font could have maintained the character of the former two—they were quite similar, so an attractive amalgam would not be difficult to create. The satellite lines could have been added so they are coming out of the dog’s mouth, creating a barking Mongo that combines the two logos seamlessly. There are so many ways that Sirius XM could have kept a little flair, and instead we have a distinctively corporate, character-less logo that is a pale reflection of the former.

Rebranding is essential, but it must be handled in a way that maintains the positive aspects of the former brand. This feels like change for change’s sake rather than a seamless merger of two brands. We predict a short life for this image, and hope that the next incarnation of this radio logo design is a little more interesting.