The 2010 Logo Designs that Never Were

By Mash Bonigala

Rebranding and changing your logo design can be a tenuous process. On one hand, you may feel that your unique circumstances demand a new logo design. On the other hand, there are good reasons for maintaining as much of your brand as possible, especially if you already have a large, loyal customer base.

This redesign is not so much a facelift as a quick shot of Botox. The colors have been toned down just a bit, and the edges made a little less sharp. The letter M has been widened slightly to more closely resemble an envelope, but the envelope creases have been softened and the sharp corners have been removed. The words ‘by Google’ have been shifted to the right. These changes are very slight—in fact, most Gmail users did not even notice—but the result is a gentler, friendlier logo design.

It should be noted that this came in the wake of an overall company rebranding for Google. Google released similar changes to their main logo design, so the Gmail design may be an attempt to bring all of Google’s many products in line with the parent brand.

Again, we are willing to bet that no one outside the logo design world even noticed this slight change. The recognizable Wikipedia logo image has been toned down, with less shadowing and less dramatic lines. The letters in each puzzle piece are squarer and less stretched than they were before as well. The most notable difference is in the tagline, which is now written in unitalicized letters. This gives it more importance, making it part of the company instead of an afterthought.

Wikipedia is selling more than quick access to a wealth of information, and they know it. This attention to the fine points of branding is what sets them apart from the more credible but far less popular Encyclopedia Britannica and other similar products.

Cartoon Network is another company with a logo design that is barely different from the original. However, as with our other examples, these changes show a significant change in brand. Cartoon Network is increasingly offering shows for older cartoon fans, who make up a significant portion of their audience. The new logo design is squarer, without shadowing and other distracting details. It is an adult logo now, moving away from a comic book logo and toward a brand with real substance. Whether they can do this and still maintain the audience for their youthful shows remains to be seen. As it is, many parents are already hesitant to turn on the channel due to adult content.

How much change is right for your company’s brand and logo design? There is nothing wrong with the above redesigns, as insignificant a change as they may seem. Each change brings out a new aspect of the brand and sharpens it just a little more. In the end, this is a matter best kept between your business and your logo designer.