Past Logo Design News

(9291)

From 2008 until 2013, we at SpellBrand used to write a lot about logo design rebranding news. However, these have become outdated awhynd so in an effort to clean up our blog, we have taken all those past news items and posted them on this page while removing the older news pages.

A 100th Birthday Present for the Indianapolis 500

Originally Posted On Dec 13, 2010

Reaching one century of existence is quite a milestone, one deserving of a little celebration and a few gifts. The Indianapolis 500, known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” obviously agrees, because the race has been treated to a special anniversary logo design to celebrate the one hundredth year of the iconic race to come in 2011. The logo was unveiled a few months ago at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is just beginning to make its way into promotional materials.

This has been one heck of a birthday party. 2011 will be the last of the motor speedway’s three year centennial celebration. The logo design was launched in both Indianapolis and Pebble Beach, CA, with past Indy winners and notable names from racing in attendance. The company also has started an online series of reflections on the history of racing on their blog.

History is a large part of the Indianapolis 500 brand. The race is considered the premiere American auto race and is watched with great enthusiasm all over the globe. It is an irreplaceable part of the motor racing scene and is attended by celebrities and notable people from a variety of industries. This year’s race is shaping up to be the most momentous and best attended ever, thanks to a centennial brand and an extra marketing push.

The logo design captures this sense of history. It was designed with retro flair in deep red, gold, and blue colors. Metallic silver and gold accents add a sense of class and draw in the eye while also tying in to automobiles. The feeling created by this color scheme is classic with a modern touch, a brand that few racing fans will be able to say no to.

Further, the logo design uses motifs from previous Indianapolis 500 races.  The well-known ‘Wing and Wheel’ that was originally used in 1926 is the main image. The banner above has been borrowed from the logo designs of 1924 and 1929. These elements tie the race to its notable past and give legitimacy. This is not just a “retro-feel” brand; it is one with roots.

Many celebratory events and activities will fill the months preceding the fast approaching late spring event approaches quickly. The launch party, attended by recognized names from auto racing and beyond, was the first of many celebrations. Further, the speedway plans to provide opportunities for everyday fans to get in on the festivities. After all, your one hundredth birthday only comes once.

The Indianapolis 500 is always accompanied by the fanfare and celebratory feeling befitting a renowned sporting event. In fact, this sense of merriment is an important part of the company brand. Special logos such as this are an important part of the brand as well because they promote the idea that this is an event worth celebrating. If your brand needs a logo design that captures this same spirit, whether for a particular event or for everyday use, contact a professional logo designer today.

New Logo For London Consultancy

Originally Posted On October 17, 2011

Whitebridge Hospitality is a relatively new company. It was formed from the London hospitality division of Cushman & Wakefield, which unmerged from the parent company to form the new business. The split occurred last spring, but the new brand is only now being unveiled. So far, the break seems to be friendly, with the two businesses now sharing a non-exclusive referral contract.

As a global real estate brokerage and consultancy, Cushman & Wakefield manages and consults with hotels and other hospitality businesses throughout the UK. However, the corporation works not just in the UK but in Italy, Russia and Czech Republic. Because London is a hot market for this business right now, the London division that has left to form a separate business that will remain ties to the parent company. Whitebridge Hospitality specializes in upscale properties; they are brokering leases for London’s new Heron Tower, for example.

Because the hospitality businesses that the company manages are upscale by nature, an upscale logo design is needed as well. The new logo design, however, is more bling than luxury. It features a W turned on its corner, so that it could be seen as either a W or a B without its backbone. This icon is interesting and clever, but its fill is less so. The image is rendered in silver with a gradient suggesting a bright light shining upon it. The name of the company is written below in a deep, rich blue, with the W and B matching the shape of the image. Luckily, there is no gradient in the rest of the logo design.

The company is positioning itself as a way to make ‘ambitious dreams a reality’ for its upscale clients. However, the reflective light on the image is just a little too much. Gradients and three dimensional light can work for certain brands, but in this case they combine to create an urban, hip-hop feeling that is likely not the impression that Whitebridge Hospitality wishes to create. Because the rest of the logo design is balanced and attractive, we suspect that the logo will be toned down to an even-coloured matte once the business discovers that the shine does not complement its brand.

In addition, logos with light gradients and other three dimensional aspects may look great on a screen, but they don’t render as well on stationary and signage. This can be a real challenge for a company that does much of its communication in these formats.

The hospitality industry is becoming more and more competitive, even in the field of hotel and real estate consultancy and management. While this was once considered a niche field, there are now many companies to choose from. Whitebridge Hospitality is smart to break off from their parent group, allowing the company to specialise and develop a brand that appeals specifically to their market.

If you are trying to be successful in finding success in your field, whatever that may be, professional UK logo design is essential to your goals. A logo design differentiates your brand from your competition, making it easy for customers to see that you are the clear choice.

Originally Posted On August 12, 2008

A logo is a symbol of pride regardless of the industry you’re in. That’s why you will read so many harsh comments about logo redesigns of cities or brands. And they have the right to do so because we are all part-owners of logo designs and brands we patronize.

Coming from this perspective, I can’t really understand why professional baseball team New York Mets came up with a uniform patch patterned from a pizza company, Domino’s.

Players will be flaunting this bland pizza company logo design to commemorate the first season in their newly constructed 45,000-seat stadium home, the Citi Field. To make matters worse, it will be available in all promo items and merchandise of the team. It’s very disappointing not only from a logo designer and logo design team’s perspective but from sports fans as well. Commemorative patches carry sentimental meaning and can command high dollar value as time goes by.

And as The LoHud Yankees Blog pointed out, this is “the only team that would design a patch for their new stadium that doesn’t mention the stadium or show any images of it.” Perhaps there are some legal issues with using Citi but it’s a good observation indeed.

Even the MetsBlog was flooded with negative comments about this new logo to a point that someone mustered the guts to proclaim it’s the “worst sleeve patch in MLB history”. Well, I can’t blame them for saying those things. A little touch of creativity will surely help but I guess the people behind this patch want to stick to something similar to the Citi Field logo.

Let this be a lesson to all brand owners to put more effort and emphasis in developing their logo designs. Gathering insights from loyal followers is a good starting point. Getting help from expert logo designers is of utmost importance.

New Soho House Restaurant Opens With Fanfare

Restaurant group Soho House has a noteworthy history of success in the UK, with popular establishments such as Babington House and Pizza East gaining wide support and cult followings, so it is easy to predict that their latest venture will be successful as well. Dean Street Townhouse is rather unique in its mix of classic British culture and modern attention to detail, creating a brand that many people in the UK will believe in.

The branding of Dean Street Townhouse begins with the logo design, which creates a classic British brand with a hint of sophistication. The black and white colour scheme and the straightforward font are as simple as can be. The only image is a half circle window that is commonly seen on townhouse doors. Because the brand focuses on doing simple things well, this restaurant logo design is an excellent complement to the overall brand.

The location is another important part of the brand. As the name suggests, the restaurant and adjoining hotel is located in a historic Georgian townhouse. The decoration is deluxe but maintains old school appeal, with vintage furniture and hand-painted wallpaper. The restaurant and hotel both have the appeal of a British club, an unusual atmosphere in the middle of non-traditional Soho.

One key part of a restaurant’s brand is the food, and this is where Dean Street Townhouse truly shines. The focus is on serving classic British foods, but giving them the attention and presentation that gourmet food receives. From pheasant goujons with Oxford sauce to apple pie with custard, every course is well prepared yet distinctly British. British classics crowd the menu, offering London an opportunity to sample gourmet versions of their favourite comfort foods.

While the brand can hardly be called inspired, this lack of modern innovation is actually a purposeful core element of the brand. With many restaurants offering the latest in gourmet fare, many people long for the classic food of their childhood. It is rare to have these classics prepared with gourmet sensibilities, making Dean Street Townhouse unique even in its plainness.

The restaurant opened with a preview day, when everything on the menu was half price. This gave curious restaurant goers a chance to decide whether British food can be worth gourmet prices, without making a significant financial commitment. The overwhelming consensus among first day patrons was that the food was excellent, with every dish prepared according to the highest standards.

Will this brand have the staying power to become a traditional presence in Soho? While it seems likely, this in part depends on market conditions. With a recession rolling through the UK, many people are turning to comfort food for solace, which definitely works in the establishment’s favour. Offering this food in its best possible form is an excellent marketing point, especially when a cohesive brand and comfortably deluxe setting complete the experience. Unless the British turn against their favourites, all signs point to success at Dean Street Townhouse.

British Kellogg’s Takes Branding Logos To A Whole New Level

Branding is essential to any British company, which is why wise companies spend so much time and resources on professional logo design and marketing. Most companies know how important it is to get their logo out into the public eye and to help their consumer base associate the logo with the product. However, the British division of American cereal titan Kellogg’s might be taking this principle a little far.

Thanks to modern technology, logos can be placed almost anywhere, including on the tiny bits of fiber that we call cornflakes. Kellogg’s has announced that it is developing a new laser technology that will allow them to burn their logo design onto individual corn flakes, taking branding to an entirely new level. Customers soon may be staring into a sea of Kellogg’s designs every morning.

Why go to these lengths to mark your product and your logo design?With store brands encroaching on Kellogg’s market in the UK, the company is doing everything it can to differentiate its product from imitators. Because there are not a lot of ways to make a cornflake different in taste or texture, appearance seems like an obvious way of further branding the product. Although this doesn’t seem like a significant selling point, many customers may be willing to pay more for a bowl of logos. We already pay more for logos on a variety of other consumer products.

With a staggering 128 billion bowls of corn flakes consumed every year, this cereal seems like an obvious choice for experimentation. Perhaps branding via cereal imprints, while seeming outlandish now, will be the wave of the future. If the tests are successful, you can plan on seeing brand names on other Kellogg’s products in the UK, such as bran flakes and Special K.

However, there are drawbacks to this plan as well. First, many may be offended by the blatant commercialization of an otherwise wholesome product. People have become accustomed to seeing logos on billboards, packaging, and even clothing, but seeing branding on food itself will seem out of place and overly pushy, at least at first. Second, this type of technology surely has a cost, likely a very high one. Customers may actually be increasingly likely to turn to generics if they perceive Kellogg’s as overspending on brand labeling, especially if this technology drives up the price.

This branding move may be seen as daring and bold, or reckless and ridiculous. The key determinant will be the result. If Kellogg’s turns a logo bearing corn flake into a branding success story, you can bet that other companies will follow. Branded, logo design foods just may be the wave of the future, the next frontier of marketing. It should be noted that putting visible logos on clothing was once a similarly strange idea, yet most people now proudly display the logo design of their favorite designers. Brand imprinted food will be on the shelves soon; will you be one of the first to try it?

A Logo with Impact for Montreal?

The Montreal Impact are a favorite team in Canadian Soccer, and they are about to make the fortuitous leap from the North American Soccer League to Major League Soccer. This is a huge opportunity for the team, one that certainly warrants a new logo design and a little branding work.

The old sports logo was… okay. It featured a fleur-de-lis in the background filled with blocks of the team’s blue and gray colors. The name was written across the shape in bold, heavily outlined letters that had a distinctive angling as well as generously placed lines that indicated speed. A soccer ball with movement lines further gave an impression of intense and fast movement. The name of the city in which the team is located was written in tiny white letters below.

What did this logo say about the team? Nothing, really. It had a great sense of movement, but no personality. Moreover, despite the significance of the fleur-de-lis symbol in French Quebec, it is perhaps not the most compelling figure for a sports team. After all, a mascot is supposed to intimidate, win, move… do anything but look pretty on a flag.

The new logo design, unfortunately, keeps some of the less effective aspects of the old. What we love: the shield shape, which ties into some of the older European football clubs. The color scheme feels more adult, and the logo has been generally polished to a gleam. What we don’t love: the fleur-de-lis is still there, now chopped off in three different places. The shield was a good place to start when planning an MLS soccer logo design, but in this case it is cluttered and even a bit of an eyesore. While we like the beveling in theory, this will make it difficult for the logo design to work effectively in a variety of formats. For example, it will lose its power when embroidered or printed on fabric.

The Montreal Impact logo is filled with significance. The four stars represent the four original nationalities of the settlers of Montreal, while the silver is present on the city’s coat of arms. A new motto is placed at the top, and the writing maintains that upward slant that gives a feeling of speed. I’m not terribly fond of the typography, but it is at least readable. This logo design may have a few obvious flaws, but its immense significance just might be enough to rally the public support that the team needs. Sometimes even a flawed logo design can do the job.

The Impact logo lacks, well, impact. While the new logo design is not perfect, it is certainly an improvement over the old. If I was the designer, I might leave the fleur-de-lis uncropped or remove it altogether.

Sports logo design is an interesting field because it tends to be flashy and expressive, almost to a fault. However, it is nonetheless very important for the future of a team that the logo and mascot be professional and crisp, something that can inspire the players and rally the fans.

Warburtons Brand on the Rise

Warburtons is one of the best known bakeries in the UK, family owned and based in Folton. While there may seem to be few changes in field of bread, you may have noticed that your favourite loaf now comes with a very different logo design.

The old logo design was created somewhat like a family crest, in a rhombus shape with banners. The blue, red, and white are patriotic and suggest a home grown UK brand, while the phrase “Since 1876” lets people know how much history is behind the brand and its produces. The name of the company is written in bold letters with serifs and shadows. The gold seal at the bottom implies quality.

The new look is definitely a new direction for the UK business. Clean, modern letters with just the hint of serifs are youthful and modern in a muted orange colour. The writing is angled slightly to give a soft and tactile feeling to the letters, on that suggests bread and baked goods. The new logo design and packaging bearing it have been slowly rolling out across the UK over this spring and summer, so you should be able to find this logo design at a Tesco near you.

The old look was twelve years old, but it looks decades old. It was overdue for a change. The switch from red to orange will give the company a softer, more approachable, and more modern look. The lettering has been designed to give the same sense of tradition without being fussy or old-fashioned. As for the “Since 1876”, does anyone really care when the bakery was first opened? This is one piece of information that could easily be dropped in favour of a simpler, more accessible UK logo design.

This logo design and packaging change may seem less than noteworthy, but Warburtons rather wanted it that way. According to the company, the product line, company brand, and identity will remain unchanged. What the company needed was an image that suited these aspects of the corporation in a more modern way. This is not the most dramatic change, although it is certainly a huge diversion from the original, but it is one that will rejuvenate the company in the eyes of consumers.

The new logo design will be used in different colours across the Warburtons range. It is simple and recognizable, which will make it easier to spot on a grocery store shelf. It is a positive change for the UK company and will make it easier for them to grow as well as to introduce new product lines.

The lesson that we all can learn from this is that the world of UK logo design is changing. There is no company too large or too small to need a professionally designed brand. Whatever the market that your business is trying to reach, good design can be an important part of your marketing efforts. As we have seen, even bread needs a professional UK logo.

New Name, New Logo, New Future

You may not think that nonprofit organization needs to have professional branding, but in actuality nonprofits must be run with the same branding and marketing sensibilities as any other business. Although they are not marketing to customers per se, they must woo donors and government agencies that disperse funding.

A professional logo design and brand are essential to presenting a nonprofit, or any business for that matter. The Marin Institute is a nonprofit that focuses on being an alcohol industry watchdog and informing the public about the dangers of drinking. The name was appropriate when the organization was opened, but it has since become inappropriate for the organization because they no longer limit their activities to Marin County, California. In addition, the word “institute” implies that the organization is involved in research, when it in fact is not.

The new name for the Marin Institute is Alcohol Justice, a name that is much more appropriate for the organization’s activities. In addition, the change in name comes with a change in logo and a change in the overall brand. The old logo involved a skyline with a couple of the buildings modified to look like wine bottles and even a mug of beer. One of the wine bottles has a searchlight shining directly onto the name of the nonprofit, which is written in bold, official-feeling blue letters. I am surprised that they have not used a whisky bottle or glass in the logo.

The new logo design features the name of the organization in huge, upper case black letters that are as bold as they can get. The O in “alcohol” and the T in “justice” are drawn so that they resemble a person; the arced lines above the person’s head suggest that they are talking or otherwise broadcasting information.

The new charity logo design is better than the old, to say the least. It is less institutional and hints at the actual purpose of the organization. Moreover, it is more unique and easier to remember, which will help the Marin Institute to build their presence in communities all over the United States and expand their sphere of influence.

One criticism of the new nonprofit logo design is that the O’s don’t’ really seem to work well with the other letters; they are simply too round. One could argue that this was done to make them look more like a human head. Honestly, is your head shaped like a perfect sphere? Mine is not. A normal O, in an oval shape, would create a better overall logo while also looking more like an actual cranium.

Are you running a nonprofit organization that needs a better brand? Unfortunately, many in this industry miss out on opportunities to grow and help others for lack of a professional brand, including a nonprofit logo design. However, it is never too late to talk to a logo designer about getting a design that will help your organization to grow and expand. A professional designer or branding consultant can create a brand that will present your nonprofit organization in a way that is attractive both to individual donors and to the government agencies with which you work.

NIU Moves Forward

Northern Illinois University is, unfortunately, known for negative events that are really beyond the university’s control. It was home to a school shooting in 2008 that killed five and injured more than twenty others. Unwanted events can have a huge effect on a brand, necessitating the creation of an entirely new logo and brand.

The creative process behind the new logo design is perhaps as interesting as the logo itself. A professional logo design firm was used, but graphic arts students were also allowed to be involved in the process. The advice and submissions from students were narrowed down to two designs, which were perfected with the logo designers. Results from polls and focus groups were also taken into consideration. The final university logo was selected by the school, again with input from the logo design company.

If you are determined to create a logo by committee (which can be an arduous task indeed!), this is a great way of approaching it. The students did not dictate the new design so much as they provided inspiration and input. It’s a great way of getting a professional logo design that is relevant to the people it represents.

The new logo features a shield shape with an image of Altgeld Hall, an iconic building that is a landmark on campus. A wavy line indicates movement and divides the new school logo design between the name and image. The school colors of maroon and white are a part of the logo, although black is used for emphasis. This logo is sometimes seen with the name of the university written beside it, although the design can stand well on its own.

This is not the best logo design in America, nor even the best university logo design in America. However, it is a huge improvement over the former one, which was simply the school’s initials written in the school colors with the name of the university below. There was nothing about the old logo that was distinctive to the school, while the new logo is definitely relevant. The old logo design was stark and even threatening, which is hard a feeling that will help alumni, students and the community to move forward.

Developing a new brand and a new visual identity is a huge part of leaving negative events in the past. It allows you to present an entirely new image to the public, but also to go through a healing and letting-go process yourself. By involving students in the logo design process, the school was signaling that they are allowed to have a say in the way their university is defined. While a student logo on its own would not have been the best choice, working with a professional design agency provides the best of both worlds.

The new logo design will launch on the school’s website in just a few weeks, before the fall classes begin. The other divisions of the school have a year to make the switch to the new logo design and the new brand.

Rumor of Logo Change for Certain Microsoft Products

You know you have “made it” as a company when tech sites and the blogosphere are abuzz not over a new product or an interesting company scandal, but over a rumored change to a single product’s logo design. Of course, we all know that Microsoft “made it” a long time ago. Nonetheless, tech sites all over the world are speculating about a new Microsoft logo design, which is supposedly being launched along with the new Windows 7.5 operating system for smartphones. This project reportedly has the code name Mango in the Microsoft complex.

The current Windows Phone logo features the name of the product in the black lettering and font that is associated with the Microsoft company. The shape of the popular Windows logo is seen in a cool, glossy circle that looks like a button waiting to be pushed. The button even has a little gleam on it, giving it a three dimensional feeling.

The new logo design is, well, very similar to the old one. It cannot change too much without running into conflict from the parent brand, of course. The same font and lettering are used, along with the recognizable Windows symbol. The Windows logo design is there as well, but it is enclosed within a square, which gives a stable and trustworthy feeling that most of us would like to associate with our smartphone operating system. The new logo design has been seen in each of the four different colors and posted as such on a Japanese blog run by a Microsoft enthusiast.

Why is this so exciting? While Microsoft is constantly changing, most of the changes are internal—that is, those of us in the general public do not see them. So, when technology enthusiasts see suggestions of a changing brand, they cannot help but wonder whether there are other changes and new products in store. This is particularly true of Microsoft, a company that tends to keep their research and development very quiet until just before release.

Technological logo design is a very specialized field. First, the logo needs to feel official and to tie into the parent brand. Second, it should have some friendly aspect in either the font or the image. This is because so many modern consumers remain a little intimidated when it comes to technology. Last, the technology logo design needs to be relevant to its industry. Like all logos, it needs to show what the product and the brand is roughly about. These demands come on top of the usual needs of a logo design, such as appealing to a target market and being scalable.

As you can see, logo design is a very difficult field, and professional designers must consider a wide variety of issues every time they sit down to the drawing board. However, this attention to detail usually results in an attractive and appropriate design that perfectly represents the brand for which it was created.

More Cinema, Less Max

If you are a movie channel watcher, you are probably familiar with the channel Cinemax. However, you will soon notice that the channel is looking a little different. Cinemax is completely rebranding, a process that includes introducing a new logo design.

But first, let’s discuss the old one. This television channel logo design has been in use since 1997—that’s right, fourteen years ago. It features the name of the company written in rounded lower case letters with the ‘max’ portion of the word surrounded by a black circle. This draws attention to the syllable, as does the way that the words are arranged. While the circle could be interpreted as a friendly element or even a spotlight, we think it was just a logo design trend of the time. In 1997, three major premium movie channels in the nation added circles to their logos to highlight the abbreviations that are used in the TV Guide and other listings, so Cinemax was not alone.

The new logo design is a huge change from the old one. It features the long rectangular shape that is often associated with movie screens in an angled orientation that gives a feeling of movement. The lower case rounded letters have been traded for blocky upper case letters that have a much more substantial feeling to them. This logo is simple, but it definitely feels fast and modern.

Cinemax is supposedly already using this new logo design, but the website for the channel still uses the old one. The social networking profiles and YouTube accounts use the new one. We aren’t sure about television because we do not have that channel. Either way, the usage of the new brand seems sporadic at best.

This is a very ineffective way to rebrand your company and introduce a new logo design. While there is always a transition period, it is best if this time go as quickly as possible. You need to introduce customers to the new brand by making blog posts, Facebook updates and other general introductions, explain a little bit about the meaning of the new logo if necessary, and then roll it out. When you begin using a new brand, you discard the old one as soon as the new one is complete. Cinemax may be known for television that breaks the rules, but breaking branding rules is a whole other thing entirely. This makes us wonder if this logo design will go the way of the one introduced in 2008—that is, a partial rebranding that somehow faded away before it got any traction.

If you are considering rebranding and wondering whether this is the right time for your market and your business, it is best to speak to a professional logo designer. These professionals can also help you make the right decisions about how to introduce your new design and also when to pull the old one. For most people, this process can be handled with a little common sense… but Cinemax is showing us that this sense is not so common after all.

A Bold New Symphony

Currently in its 109th year, the Seattle Symphony is an established presence in the arts and music community of the Pacific Northwest. This week, the symphony unveiled a new music logo design and brand that is designed to promote its history while paving a way for the future. It is trying to be increasingly relevant within its community, and presenting itself in a new light is a part of this move. In addition, there is a new Music Director, who is bringing a new sense of style to the nonprofit.

The old logo design was very attractive and indeed, representative of the field of music. It featured a swirling letter S, which appeared to be hand painted. There were a few random smaller lines in the image as well. The name of the organization was written in upper case, serious letters beside the image. This logo felt artistic and yet serious, with a business-like gray color that was definitely cool and collected. While it was an aesthetically pleasing logo, it seemed almost corporate. It lacked the deep emotion that is usually associated with classical music.

The new logo is much more colorful and energetic. Lines come together in a pattern that is reminiscent of piano keys, but in a curved line that represents the letter S. The biggest changes are in the color—gray could not be more different from the new hot pink—and the font, which has left the serifs behind and is instead in bold, thick and plain lettering.

The new logo design comes with a new tagline: Listen Boldly. Indeed, this tagline is a great verbal representative of the new brand. It is an unusual phrase that will get attention because very few of us associate listening with acting boldly. It encourages people to be active listeners when experiencing the classical music that the symphony offers within the Seattle area.

One of the benefits of using this color pink, outside of its eye catching nature, is that it will stand out against a sea of logos, even if this hypothetical sea were filled with music logos alone.

However, is standing out important enough that boldness should be a core part of a brand? The answer to this question depends on the type of brand that you are trying to present. If you are selling a product that is different or edgy or even youthful, a bold logo design may be the right one for you. If, on the other hand, you are simply doing it as a device, as a means of gaining attention, then it may not feel right or work well over the long term. In the case of the Seattle Symphony, we are not sure which category they are trying to fit into.

On the other hand, we love the new fonts and we especially like the new tagline. It is important for people to get involved with community organizations such as this one. We hope that this logo design will inspire more people in Seattle to patronize the Symphony.

Change You Can Barely Spot

No one knows branding better than some of the multinational corporations running our globe. While small business owners are wondering whether to spend a tiny sum on professional design services, the Big Guys have huge teams dedicated to marketing and graphic design just for their business. One important part of building a brand is to keep consistency in the brand—that is, to make sure that customers encounter the same experience, including visuals, every time they interact with your company.

In order to achieve continuity and consistency, NBC is shuffling around its programming a little. The NBC Sports logo design is currently seen when sports programming just happened to be shown on one of the non-sports channels that the network owns. The main sports network is called Versus—are you confused yet? Apparently many viewers are having trouble associating Versus with NBC, which is not surprising as the brands have little in common. Therefore, NBC Sports will be the new name of the channel, and the network programming will be called… something else.

The NBC Sports logo design needed a few small changes in order to make this leap, of course. And by small, we mean miniscule. Itty-bitty. This is almost like those “spot the differences” puzzles that most of us did when we were children. So now we ask you, can you spot the differences? Here are the ones that we see:

  • The word “sports” is in a different color and font. This new font was created especially for the logo, so it fits perfectly with the brand’s needs.
  • The acronym “NBC” is also in a new font, although it is still bold.
  • The word “sports” used to have a slight angle that is no longer present.
  • The peacock seems a little larger compared to the lettering. Is the coloring a bit different as well? It is difficult to tell.

NBC’s Chief Marketing Officer had the following to say about the logo design: “The changes are subtle, but signal a big change: a new beginning for the NBC Sports Group.” The official rebranding date is set for January 2 of the upcoming year, but you may begin to see changes before then.

The NBC Sports Group was recently formed and aims to bring all of the sporting events involving the network under one central brand. Logo design and marketing will be a huge part of this effort, but changes in language are key as well. For example, all golf broadcasts on the channel will heretofore be called “Golf Channel on NBC.” Versus.com will be closed completely, probably relocating to the new brand website at NBCSports.com. Meanwhile, there are no changes planned for regional sports networks, so local ball lovers can continue to watch their favorites without any changes whatsoever.

Brand continuity is important in building your business. If there is an aspect of your brand that does not seem to fit the rest—the Versus of your company, so to speak—it may be time to make a long overdue change.

From Papyrus to Logo Gold

Celadon is a furniture store offering eclectic and modern home furnishings and accessories with a little bit of old fashioned flavor. It’s a fun business and brand, but the logo design was not so much. It featured the name of the company in a standard font that you can find on any Windows PC—Papyrus—and not a whole lot else. It felt like a homemade, quickly thrown together logo design, something that the owners put together in a few minutes when they realized they would need a design. At least we hope that they didn’t pay for this.

On the other hand, the old furniture logo design had a few attributes that were definitely reflective of the brand. It is not a standard font; instead, it is one of the ones that languish on the hard drive unused. It is simple and has a somewhat sophisticated and even exotic feeling. If you are not aware that this is Papyrus, you might think this is a decent enough logo.

The new logo, however, is magnificent. It is simple and sophisticated like the old one, but has a unique flair—no stock fonts and images here. The image is of swirling overlapping lines forming a loose square around the company’s initial. The full name is written below in a thin, rounded upper case font that feels light and yet traditional. This is generally a traditional and yet sophisticated font, which begins to build an entirely new brand for the furniture business.

One of the other things that we really like about this rebranding is the color palette. The old logo design used black and white—simple, sophisticated, and boring. The new one uses a dark charcoal gray, which is just as simple but a little more modern. In other words, the new logo takes the old brand attributes and improves upon them. It begins to build a more complete brand. This is important, because the South Carolina retailer is growing. They are no longer merely a local brand, but one that is branching out and adding a website component to their business.

This logo design is very communicative; you can tell a lot about the company simply by viewing it. However, it has managed to completely avoid one of the major errors made by many furniture retailers: developing a brand that is too gender-specific. In many cases, the people shopping for furniture will be couples. If you appeal too much to the women, you run the risk of alienating the men (and vice-versa). The Celadon brand will appeal equally to both genders, which suggests that their furniture will as well.

When is rebranding necessary for a smaller business? Any time that you are using a logo design made entirely of a stock font! All kidding aside, rebranding and developing a new logo design may be a good idea if you are planning any sort of expansion. After all, what appeals to one market may not work as well for a much larger audience.

MuchMusic has been a popular music television channel in our neighbour to the north since 1984, but most Americans have never heard of it. Called the MTV of Canada, the channel has followed MTV’s lead in showing a decreasing amount of music videos and an increasing round of reality television and popular shows. The television logo design has been much the same for 15 years, featuring a red and yellow globe with the name jutting out in a bold black and white rectangle.

The music logo design was somewhat cartoony, but it was definitely similar in tone to many other television logos that debuted in the same time period. It is bold, and has a simple graphic and bright colors. However, the market is constantly changing and logo designs are constantly changing with it. It is really kind of amazing that the logo survived this long.

The new logo has a rainbow cascade of bars of color, in modern, muted pastels. The letters are written in stark white that almost blends in to the bars of color. The lettering is upper case and adds a little boldness to the otherwise soft and feminine logo.

Is a soft and feminine logo design right for a music channel? That seems to be the question of the day. The new logo feels very similar to that from the Martha Stewart Show, which also utilized bars of light colors and blocky white lettering. This logo design is supposed to appeal to a market filled with pop culture-savvy young people, but it seems to be geared more to a middle aged market. We have to wonder who thought this subdued and feminine music would be the visual basis for a youthful brand.

On the other hand, the new logo design seems to have good points as well. First, the colors can be used in animations to create interesting on air advertisements. It will probably be just as recognizable in a variety of color palettes; as long as they are light colored and the writing stays in white upper case letters, people will recognize the brand. Second, it is minimalist in a modern art kind of way. This may allow the brand to represent a wider variety of music.

It can be scary to change logo designs, especially when the design has as much recognition as this one enjoys in its market. In addition, the new logo is in no way similar to the old one; it might as well be from another planet. It is sugary and fluffy where the old one was edgy and young. It does not exactly scream “rock and roll” or “adolescence.”

We have to wonder if a brand modification would have been better. Surely there would be a way to change the old logo design to make it more modern and relevant without losing the salient elements that have been a huge part of the core brand. It could have been made cleaner and more contemporary without turning into the girly and sweet design that is now being introduced.

The Royal All Star Game

Branding is becoming more and more of a factor when it comes to sports. There was a time when mascot design was at best simple and at worst scary. Game and sports channel logos were also simple, usually simply the name of the event in a relevant color. In the last few years, however, branding and logo design have become almost as important as the games themselves.

The Major League Baseball 2011 All-Star Game has barely ended, and the 2012 logo design has already been introduced. This year’s game was hosted by the Diamondbacks, so this team’s colors and motifs play a huge part of the logo. It has a distinctively Southwestern shape and letters that have pointy serifs and are curved to resemble that used in Arizona’s logo, which themselves resemble snake fangs with the curved extensions at the bottom.

The logo design for the 2012 All-Star Game is also relevant to its team. The crown at the top of the logo refers to royalty, while the stars refer to the game. The shield shape is the same shape as the video board in the stadium used by the hosting team. The color is royal blue—what else?—with a stripe of a lighter blue down the side. The writing is in an official looking font.

It’s not a bad logo design per se, but it is certainly bland. It definitely relates to the team that is hosting the event, but it lacks anything really cool or interesting. Most people watching the MLB game will not realize that the shape of the logo is similar to the video board, so this is meaningful in theory but functionally useless. The light blue stripe is apparently supposed to be a banner, but there is no shadowing or anything to set it apart from the rest of the logo design. This makes it fade into the banner and look more like a mere stripe. There is just too much royal blue. The entire logo seems to fade into the background, and all of the details get lost in the color.

One interesting thing about this logo is that it apparently has another version, one without the Royals’ colors that is used only by the MLB. This seems a little silly, especially considering that the entire logo design has the mark of its team.

The interesting thing about sports and logo design is that good design has become a necessity in almost every type of sport. It is not just the Super Bowl or the All Star Game that get the top-notch logo; even small local teams are using design to promote their bigger events. Similarly, elementary school teams have better mascots and team logos than even the pros had just a decade or two ago. Marketing is becoming an important part of sports. This is because marketing and logo design can actually create more cash flow for the team, bringing in sponsors, increasing awareness, and in the case of professional teams, bring in more profit from merchandise sales.

Orlando Calling Logo – Music festivals are very popular in the United States, as can be seen in popular examples such as Lilith Fair, SXSW and the Vans Warped Tour. If there is anything better than seeing your favorite band play live, it is seeing a few of your favorite bands on one stage. There is a new music festival about to have their inaugural year in Orlando, called “Orlando Calling.”

Orlando Calling is beginning with a bang; big names such as Kid Rock, Bob Seger and Blues Traveler will be among many performing. The festival will also have a logo design and all of the branding elements that you expect from a professional organizer. The Orlando Calling festival is indeed going to be professionally organized, put on by Festival Republic, the big name behind some of the biggest performances in Europe and the UK.

The logo features a crisp blue background with a pattern of small arrows fading into the color. A rouch orange banner is placed across this with the name of the festival in angular and bold white letters separated by a star. Splatters of paint give the orange banner a weathered and somewhat retro look that contrasts against the somewhat techy background. The orange and blue colors have likely been chosen because of their contrast with each other as well.

Will this logo design be up to the task of representing a new festival? We sure hope so. The Humongous Citrus Bowl and the surrounding area have been dedicated entirely to the performances, which will occur over two days in November. The tickets cost an immense amount of money. However, we think that music lovers will flock to the performances. After all, the big names are going to be there as well.

Festival Republic is no stranger to branding and bringing in a crowd. They are responsible for one of the largest music festivals on the globe, the Glastonbury Festival which brought in an astounding 177,500 music lovers. Organizers are hoping that this will be the first of many Orlando Calling events and that the name will earn its place on the list of great American music events.

Branding and logo design are especially important in arts and design fields because people naturally expect companies in these fields to have a sense of style. However, it is also important that the brand appeal to its target market and present its sense of style in a very visual way. In this economy, many people are very selective about how they spend their entertainment dollars. A logo design needs to be compelling enough to convince them that this is a good use of their limited money.

Although many businesses, both large and small, are tempted to go cheap on design when the economy is bad, this is actually the precise wrong strategy. This is a time when winning customers over and presenting a great brand image is more important than ever. If you are not sure if your logo design is up to a task, talk to a logo designer about rebranding.