Yahoo’s new logo: re-painting the Titanic

Yahoo is the latest brand guilty of wasting time and money on changing its logo. This just the sort of thing that reinforces the mis-perception that branding is about logos, as opposed to inspiring and guiding the whole business. Check out the old and new logos below.

This really is branding bull**** at its worse, for several reasons

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1. Invisible changes

I've used My Yahoo as my homepage for 15 years, and only noticed the logo had changed when I read about in on Linked In.

2. Loss of personality

When I did notice the change, the new logo looks to me like a castrated version the original logo. The quirky nature of the logo has gone and it looks sterile in comparison.

3. Over-intellectual brand bollocks

Just read the stream of total brand bollocks from CEO Marissa Mayer, that totally over-plays what is small, pointless change to the logo, as reported here:

"We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo — whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud."

Yeah right. It gets worse.

 "We didn't want to have any straight lines in the logo. Straight lines don't exist in the human form and are extremely rare in nature, so the human touch in the logo is that all the lines and forms all have at least a slight curve"

And on

"We preferred letters that had thicker and thinner strokes — conveying the subjective and editorial nature of some of what we do. Serifs were a big part of our old logo. It felt wrong to give them up altogether so we went for a sans serif font with 'scallops' on the ends of the letters.

And to top it all off…

"We wanted there to be a mathematical consistency to the logo, really pulling it together into one coherent mark."

4. Re-painting the hull on the Titanic

The worse thing about the logo changing nonsense is how it distracts from the real issue, which is the risk of obsolescence;  its like re-painting the hull on the Titanic as it starts to sink. Meyer is still struggling to answer the killer question: "Why do we need Yahoo?".This is shown by the chart below which shows the revenue trends for Yahoo vs. Google. Changing the logo is not going to fix the burning business issues.

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In Yahoo's defence, they are trying to upgrade some of their core products, and have also bought Tumblr. Despite all this the company's revenue in the last quarter remained stubbornly flat, as reported here.

In conclusion, only change your brand identity if there is a solid brand and business need to do this. And if you are going to do it, make sure the change is noticeable. And please, its just a logo, avoid "doing a Marissa Meyer" and over-selling it.