Swaptree Logo Gets Deforested

By Mash Bonigala

What happens when a popular website decides to change their name and logo design? This rebranding new logo is a delicate move, because so little of the former brand is left. This risky proposition is one that swap.com, formerly swaptree, is currently trying to undergo successfully. Whether the new Swaptree logo is a good idea remains to be seen.

The original logo had a tree, referring to the name, enclosed in a friendly blue circle. The leafy section of the tree is cleverly created from three circles with arrows to resemble the commonly recognized recycling symbol. This is appropriate because Swaptree website’s main purpose is to enable swapping books, games, music, videos, and other media. The name of Swap is written in simple lower case letters that have different levels of thickness for each word to differentiate the two. This gives Swaptree a simple, uncomplicated look—which is what customers want from a swapping company.

Although Swaptree has been in existence since 2004, it wasn’t until recently that the idea took off. Recycling is becoming increasingly popular, especially forms such as this that allow users to trade unwanted items for ones that they need. Perhaps this success is what spurred the change in name and eco-friendly logo.

The new Swaptree logo design simply involves a circle filled with a clean, modern green. Green is a perfect color for an ecologically minded company, but this image is perhaps too plain. The new name is written in a more complicated type that is a tad bit more feminine. This word is enclosed by the circle, giving a more modern image than the original.

The new Swaptree logo design may be less interesting and less brand-specific than the original, but it has certain benefits. It is more “all purpose”, referring only to the company’s main business: swapping! The name is also more memorable. However, the writing-inside-a-circle motif is rather common in modern logo samples, to the point of being overused. One can’t look at this Swaptree logo and not recall the logo for the Food Network as well as hundreds of images just as similar.

The name change may be another issue. Swaptree was certainly more memorable, although the tree seemed unrelated to the general business. Swap could belong to almost any company in a related field, while the old name was uniquely theirs.

Although losing the recycling symbol in the logo seems like a poor choice, this may be due to a change in customer base since the economic downturn. There are likely many families interested in this website for economic reasons rather than ecological ones. The new Swaptree logo is a better representative of these new customers.

The new Swaptree logo is attractive and broad enough to encompass a more well-rounded business, but it may be a little too broad. We will be watching in coming months to see whether swaptree can survive the complete change in brand and gracefully make the change to swap.