Yahoo Looks to Find Its Identity with 30 Days of Change
By: Natalie Hansen
A logo is the glue that holds the puzzle pieces of a brand together. It can be used to get the public to quickly recall all the other elements of a brand – reputation, history, customer experience – and helps an organization stand out in the sea of American advertising. When you hear the name Starbucks, you probably see this-
-might cause a craving for French fries without even having to see the name McDonald’s.
Due to the logo’s place in a brand’s existence, organizations do not make the decision to change their logo lightly. Yahoo, the third most popular email provider in the world, is in the middle of a major campaign to re-brand itself. 30 Days of Change began on August 5, and will continue until the big reveal of Yahoo’s new logo on September 5. Each day leading up to the unveiling features a different logo taking the place of the old logo on all of Yahoo’s pages.
Many companies periodically update their logos as trends in design and their particular industry change, but many of the most successful don’t stray far from their original format. Coca-Cola, one of the best known brands in the world, has almost always used the same font and color scheme. Yahoo seems to be following this idea; the first few logos that have been used are all basically just a variation of the font. In Yahoo’s kick off Tumblr post about the campaign, Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt notes that Yahoo was “keeping the color purple, our iconic exclamation point, and of course the famous yodel.”
This doesn’t mean that the final logo will just be a font variation. Savitt hasn’t mentioned whether or not Yahoo may follow in Twitter’s footsteps, and use just a “Y” and exclamation point, or even just the punctuation alone. After all, one of the components of a strong logo is its simplicity. In today’s app-centered world, simple logos also lend themselves well to app icons and can streamline all areas of the brand.
The campaign has received mixed reviews. Shawn Knight at TechSpot said that the campaign was a way for Yahoo to have “some fun while honoring the legacy of the present logo.” A brief perusal of the Twitter hashtag #30daysofchange brings up comments like “Cool idea!” and statements of excitement and anticipation. Elsewhere in the tech and design world, however, Yahoo’s campaign isn’t faring as well. In a post for The International Business Times, Christopher Zara noted that a good portion of the internet discussion on the campaign “reflected confusion about what the company is up to.” Some are confused about the purpose of the campaign – are these logos rejects from the redesign process? Do users get to vote on which logo they like best? CMO Savitt has not confirmed or denied either of these questions. Digital Trend’s Natt Garun called it a “cherry on top of its identity crisis sundae.” Yahoo’s struggle over the past year to differentiate itself from Google is definitely not over.
We have around three weeks left to go in the 30 Days of Change campaign. Even those who find the campaign to be confusing or a strange waste of time are likely interested in the outcome. On Sept.5, we will see if the new logo turns out to just be a different font after all, and if the new look will help Yahoo find its own identity and improve customer experience.