Saturday, August 06, 2016

When is it time to change your logo?

This topic is more about graphic design, even though I don't work in graphic design anymore. A logo is an important part of a business and at some point it has to go through a redesign. I see that even to this date (2016), IBM has not changed its logo, and yes, it is in dire need of a refresh!

I read some opinions about the value of the logo because the designer, Paul Rand, is legendary. That was more than 40 years ago, and even though an exceptional designer can create a long-lasting presence, the times can change. A logo is simply a means to an end, and just like the company, it has to adapt to the environment and expectations. It doesn't mean the logo is bad, but just that what it tries to convey is not the business focus anymore.

There are two design elements in the IBM logo that are less relevant today: 1) Blocky serif font: This represents solidity, trustworthiness, conservative values (over innovation and risk) and technical spirit. 2) Scan lines: These represent early digital technology.

In reality, part of the reason why the text is blocky is to accomodate the scan lines. I would get rid of all these aspects. IBM today is a different company than it was 40 + years ago and should reflect this new spirit and focus. A good design would be a modification of the old one, and it doesn't need to be a complete redesign like Yahoo or Pepsi.

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