After spending a month teasing the Internet with possible redesigns, Yahoo unveiled its new logo at midnight and it is … mostly the same. The letters are less jumbled, and Yahoo darkened its purple branding. It also kept the trademark exclamation point, as it said it would all along.
The new logo has widely been viewed as a let-down on the Internet, which has spent the past month hoping the teaser designs Yahoo released (one-a-day for the past month) were merely a set-up for a more exciting swerve on day 30.
Matti Leshem, founder and CEO of the marketing strategy agency Protagonist, said Yahoo missed an opportunity to create a logo reflecting the “aspirational” quality of the company under Marissa Mayer.
Leshem said instead of the incremental change it ultimately made, Yahoo should have unveiled a logo that showed off the company’s recent commitment to high-quality user experience and more substantial news and entertainment products.
Since Mayer took over in July 2012, Yahoo has acquired more than 20 companies and redesigned some of its most popular news verticals.
“The new Yahoo logo has nothing going for it,” Leshem told Business Insider. “Brand is meaning, and one’s brand is represented by the logo. The opportunity for Yahoo to completely reinvent themselves and show the aspirational consumer the new Yahoo’s potential has been sorely missed.”
But while the logo change itself perhaps leaves something to be desired, the staggered, 30-day rollout was successful both in getting people to talk about Yahoo and in preparing consumers for the change to come.
Connie Birdsall, creative director of brand strategy firm Lippincott, said that while the design community may find the end-product disappointing, the 30-day lead-in was successful in promoting the company’s change of direction and giving lapsed users a reason to visit the site every day.
Birdsall commended Yahoo for being consistent with its message and continuing the incremental change Mayer has been working toward since taking the helm.
“Do I think it’s the most interesting design of the century?” Birdsall asked. “No, but it’s definitely a more grown-up Yahoo.”
“I think that day after day, we saw purple logos with not a lot of design happening, and we thought that maybe, on day 30, there would be this big ‘Whoa! Super-change!'” Birdsall said. “But I think that the new logo was more about building the idea of change in to the psyche of people who use the site.”
Though Birdsall and Leshem disagreed over whether the logo rollout would ultimately improve Yahoo’s brand, both said the change was unlikely to harm the company.
Though companies like Gap and Tropicana have experienced disastrous logo changes in recent years, the two brand experts we spoke to said Yahoo would not experience a similar catastrophe because it has clearly communicated why it made the change and because it’s not a physical product consumers need to locate in stores.
“The worst-case scenario is that people get mad for a day and write vitriolic letters,” Leshem said. “I can’t see people not liking the logo and then not using the site.”
Now that we’ve asked the experts, what do you think?
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