Yahoo!’s new logo: ask the experts

By Milo Yiannopoulos on September 5th, 2013

We asked graphic, design, photography and branding professionals their opinion of the new Yahoo! wordmark. Here’s what they said.

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LUKE SCHEYBELER

EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, SCHEYBELER+COMPANY

Logos are symbols that attempt to visually represent the essence of an organisation. Given that the new Yahoo! logo is a blandly corporate, humourless, confused jumble of unappealing elements that most people will barely even notice exists, I feel it achieves this goal brilliantly.

DAN TAYLOR

PHOTOGRAPHER, HEISENBERG MEDIA

I’m impressed by their ability to take something as simple as a logo change and convert it to a month-long marketing push, ultimately preparing users for a new look. If you remember the Gap logo change debacle, Yahoo! clearly did this one right. With that said, a major portion of brand recognition is the guidelines that are attached to it. Why Yahoo! is dead-set on retaining the exclamation mark, which invariably gets left out time and time again, is beyond me.

A new look is a clear signal to consumers that a-change-is-a-comin’, and Ms. Mayer is making no bones about it. Now let’s see if the product offerings can match the buzz around a font and colour change.

KATRIN FRIEDMAN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR, HY! BERLIN

Playing with a logo – keeping it alive – I think is very important these days. The type is a very old school, kind of like Optima. A modern choice, if perhaps not really fitting for Yahoo!. I have to admit I liked some of the previous 30 designs a lot more. But the colour is very usual, which is good. It’s strange for me personally as it’s so closely associated with Catholic rituals and rubric here in Germany.

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KAI TURNER

DESIGN CONSULTANT

It looks like something you’d find in a pack of clip-art. The bevel effect on the letters is atrocious. On her blog, Marissa Mayer says, “We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish.” Two whole days? Well done. I think it’s an insult to logo designers and typographers who actually care about their craft to suggest that you can re-brand a billion dollar business with something you’ve knocked together over the weekend.

A lot of the initial reviews of the logo seem to be in consensus that the old logo was bad. The old logo maybe wasn’t as cleanly executed as it could have been, but at least it had style. It reminded me of the typography used in the old Warner Brothers cartoons. If I had been in Mayer’s shoes, I would have hired someone like House Industries to create a characterful typographic identity: a refresh that reflected the whimsy and playfulness of the old logo.

JAMES ATKINS

DESIGN LEAD, THE KERNEL

On first view, most of these look 30 relatively cheap, knocked off with free fonts. So that’s probably appropriate for the Yahoo! brand: knocked up quickly, with little thought. But looking into this further I think the point of this exercise isn’t to crowdsource opinions on a logo, it’s to highlight that change is coming and to educate the audience into the possibilities of what the Yahoo! logo is, or could be. To distill down the elements: the exclamation mark, the uneven baseline, purple and a larger cap-Y. So I reckon Yahoo had their final logo in mind already. The 29 others are to soften up the audience.

People don’t like change and if they’d just launched the final version every other self-aggrandising junior designer on Behance would be thinking they can do better. The comment section of Creative Review would have been even more unbearable.

But I really don’t think tweaking their logo will go very far in solving Yahoo!’s problems. I don’t like or use their services and have no view on their brand. If I get an email from a Yahoo! domain I generally think it’s spam. But this exercise has highlighted the fact to me things are moving over there. From that perspective, maybe it’s a success in communications.

Visually, though? Well: the exclamation mark doesn’t fit the rest of the letterforms; it’s rounded while the rest are the rest “cut” or “sharp”. There are blingy highlights and shadows in the letterforms. For me that’s a hint to letter-carving in stone, historically used on headstones and monuments.

I won’t miss the spam.

ROB MANUEL

FOUNDER, B3TA.COM

Marissa Meyer has done a lot right so far but this looks like Yahoo! is fiddling while Rome.com burns. This hype extravaganza kills everything. The logo is supposedly a loosely-labelled “refreshing update” but, boy, I’m sceptical.

DAN GILMOUR

SENIOR CREATIVE

It has no strength. When viewed on a mobile device it disappears and has little to no impact. The curvatures on the ends of the first three letters are throwaway details that just make it look staid and dowdy. The exclamation mark doesn’t fit with the rest of the type, it fades off and doesn’t PUNCTUATE, as if one were telling a joke and sheepishly trailing off because you’ve messed up the punchline.

The bevelling is more pronounced than Google’s, but looks more dated and seems an afterthought. Funnily it works better when viewed as if a headstone engraving. In case it’s not clear: I don’t like it.

DON’T MISS: Milo Yiannopoulos reviews the new design
DON’T MISS: An exclusive leak of never-before-seen prototypes
VIDEO: What the public think