What Yahoo’s New Logo Says About Graphic Design and Company Identity

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Last week, we talked about Yahoo’s “30 Days of Change”.  For 30 days, Yahoo.com featured a different logo every day.  This campaign was designed as a lead-in for the revealing of a brand new, permanent logo.

The campaign has had mixed responses.  Some people simply don’t like change, so when you have 30 days of constant change, those people get down right crazy.  Others passed it off as a novel trick or gimmick.

I may be in the minority, but I kind of liked it.

Whatever the general consensus might be, the reaction goes to show just how much people noticed those little logos tucked away in the corner of their screens.  Yahoo got a lot of attention, and even non-Yahoo users, myself included, have waited to see what the new logo would look like.

Well, the waiting is over.  On Wednesday night, Yahoo revealed the brand new logo that you see at the top of this post.

And the response is…still pretty mixed.

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Bevel? But Modern Design is Supposed to Be Flat!

Now everybody, let’s get our design hats on for a moment.  After all, the internet masses seem to think they’re graphic experts.

The initial reaction seems to be a combination of “Is that Optima (font)?” and “what’s with the beveling?”.

Though similar in certain aspects, the font is not Optima (and so what if it was?).

As for the bevel effect, there’s not denying it’s been put to use.  Beveling is what gives the letters that “three-dimensional” look.  Many are quick to mock the effect simply because it’s so easy to do.

Anyone with Photoshop can type out a word and make it beveled in 20 seconds.

But just because something is easy to replicate doesn’t mean it’s bad or unprofessional.  After all, modern design is simplistic by nature.  Many modern logos and titles could be replicated in minutes by someone with minimal photoshopping ability.

I would go as far as saying that modern design is less about creating and more about discovering.  It’s about finding those fonts, colors, shapes, and sizes that fit together to form the perfect branding creation.

So then the question becomes this: did Yahoo succeed in discovering a logo that represents them?

By eliminating the bevel or widening the font, the new logo would look like almost every other modern design out there.  As a company, Yahoo spent a decade copying the competition, and it didn’t work out so well.

I don’t love the logo, but I certainly don’t hate it either.  There definitely seems to be a battle of new design vs. old design happening in the logo itself, and for that I say it does an accurate job of summing up who Yahoo is.

It certainly isn’t easy taking a company in a new direction without completely forgetting who you are.  Yahoo is trying, and recently, it appears they might be succeeding at it.

This logo might be small in itself, but what it represents is something far greater.  Reflected in this design is the life and times of a multi billion-dollar company that’s nearly 20 years old.

When you try to display that in five letters and an exclamation point, there’s bound to be some mixed opinion.

Check out the unveiling video here:

What are your thoughts on the new logo? Did you like one of their logos more?  Are Yahoo’s best days behind them?

One Response to "What Yahoo’s New Logo Says About Graphic Design and Company Identity"

Written by Timothy Snyder
on September 6, 2013