Facebook made a change today that probably slipped by most of their users. Facebook introduced a new corporate logo that is so close to the old one that shows a surprising lack of creativity as well as a lack of change – so why bother?
Redoing a company logo is an expensive proposition. Besides the cost for the design itself, there is rebranding or revamping the company Web site, signage outside buildings, advertising, product packaging, employee badges, any branding merchandise the company sells, letterhead, company trucks, and numerous other usages. Companies go through the effort, however, when they want to reposition themselves, expand into new markets, or change their image.
The change is subtle, if not imperceptible at first glance. The company kept the blue background, with white type. What is different? The font has changed to a slightly less formal one.
A good rebranding effort and a freshly redesigned logo should be based on a business rationale and an attempt to stay current if the old logo looks fuddy-duddy. The social network’s old brand mark was created in 2005, not exactly last century. The fledgling company was trying to look strong and confident. When considered now, the old “a” had two levels, with a curl or finial above the bowl like in this publication. The letters were more squared and somewhat uneven looking.
The new “facebook” logo is a more modern font, with rounded lower-cased letters and a simpler “a” with a bowl and a straight line. “Now that we are established, we set out to modernize the logo to make it feel more friendly and approachable,” noted Josh Higgins, Facebook creative director, in a statement. “While we explored many directions, ultimately we decided that we only needed an update, and not a full redesign.”
They really did not “need” it. Even adding WhatsApp and Instagram to their company, did not exactly require repositioning themselves in the public eye. If they did believe so, they could have taken a more obvious new position.
The best practices on redesigning a logo, as noted by several creative directors in Adweek as well as other publications, call for not making a change if it is not needed. Make a change and adopt a look that will last for years (the old Facebook design was not really old!). Think Target, Nike swoosh, or another word one – Google (last changed in 2010 to flatten and eliminate shading, but the font and colors are similar to the 1999 version). Coca-Cola’s script logo has essentially been the same since 1941.
One branding firm executive quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Howard Belk, suggested that Facebook may have had its smartphone users in mind when it revamped the font. Back-lit on a Samsung Galaxy or an iPhone, the new clearer Facebook lettering with more white space and different kerning does show up cleaner.
Approximately 1.44 billion people use Facebook at least once a month. Reportedly, 87 percent of the users checked the site from their phones at some point in the month. So, it is clear that mobile presence is important, but most mobile users simply click on a blue box with an “f” in it.
While Facebook goes around updating its signage throughout their offices, maybe the reasoning will become clearer. But, for now, the lack of change the new logo shows will probably not be noticed or posted it on Facebook or any other the social networks.
Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss
Wall Street Journal: Facebook’s New Logo: Can You Spot the Difference?
News.com.au: Facebook has a new logo… Can you spot the difference?
Adweek: Tips for a Successful Logo Redesign