Rob Marsh
Filed under Design, Logos, Satire.

That New Logo Design Is Not What You Think It Is

Note: This post includes a couple of references to scatological terms that have been a part of the news surrounding two logo redesigns this summer. If you find that kind of reference offensive, please skip to the next post.

Looking for a little criticism of your marketing team? Then you should launch a new logo design.

Remember The Gap?

In 2010, The Gap introduced a brand new logo to represent the brand. The new logo was basically a blue box, and was roundly criticized for being lousy by the brand’s critics and fans alike.

And it took less than a week for the Gap to reverse it’s decision and announce they would be sticking with the old logo. It was a disaster.

Since then it’s as if the logo critics smell blood in the water.

Virtually every company that has updated its logo in the past couple of years has come under some kind of criticism for the effort. Sometimes it’s deserved. Sometime, it’s not.

But two recent logo updates have met with a new kind of criticism. Not just an “I don’t like it.” or an “It’s not an improvement over the last logo design.”

The new criticism is scatological.

As in (and we’re sorry if this offends anyone), “The new logo is a pile of poop.”

Only the thing is, it isn’t.

The logo that supposedly looks like poop? Here it is:

New Hershey Logo Design

If you are anything like 99% of the people who see this logo, you probably recognize the Hershey’s Kiss.

But a few people (who apparently haven’t grown out of fifth grade) think that the Kiss is something less chocolatey. And once they started posting their comparisons on Twitter everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

For the vast majority of people—it would never cross their mind that the Kiss is anything other than chocolate. Collectively the brand’s fans have eaten millions of them. The Kiss embodies all kinds of positive emotional value. Better still, it’s simple, easily recognizable, and loved. That adds up to a great logo.

But it could have been worse.

Earlier this summer, AirBNB unveiled a nice new icon and logotype with a lot of fanfare:

New AirBNB Logo Design

And then the critics went to work, (and again, we are sorry for this), “The new logo is a vagina.”

Don’t these guys have something better to do with their time?

The new AirBNB logo doesn’t enjoy the same kind of brand awareness that the Hershey’s Kiss has. So fans of the AIRBNB brand won’t have the same emotional connection to the new icon as Hershey fans might have to theirs.

But very few people will see this icon and think, “Vagina.” In fact, our guess is that the only people who would think something like that probably haven’t actually seen one. (Note: Google it and compare. Actually don’t do that. Trust us.)

This is the kind of thing that usually results in some pretty funny parody.

Satire isn’t supposed to match reality that closely.

The firm (Design Studio) that designed this new logo said that part of the thinking in the new design was to “design a marque anyone could draw—something that transcended language and formed the foundation of a new brand.”

And the company’s management said they wanted a symbol that customers could draw. Something that without a previous meaning that would come to represent the experiences their customers would have with the brand.

And that is exactly what they got. It’s a good logo.

They’re both good logos. Better than average.

Maybe its time to take a step back and give a little more thought before we criticize the next new logo design.