Admittedly I’ve never had much use for the GAP, other than the fact it inspired some of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits (“Lay off me I’m starving”). But its newly designed logo seems to be leaving branding experts and fans alike starving for a bit more.
Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you updated on what's happening in the digital world.
Given the chance to redesign our world, there would probably be a few things we’d all like to change. Sure we could tackle the obvious ones like restructuring poorly designed highways or creating an effective mass transit system for a sprawling metropolis, but let’s get a little more creative than that.
As adults, our emotional relationship with logos is equally as profound. In fact, it is perhaps the most vital piece of branding there is.
Coke is the Cannes Advertiser of the Year
Gap has announced on its Facebook Page that it is scrapping its new logo design efforts, acquiescing to a torrent of criticism coming primarily from Facebook and Twitter users. Last week, Gap unveiled a new logo, one it called “a more contemporary, modern expression.” The retailer’s customers were not so thrilled about the change, and Gap decided to ask users for their logo design ideas instead. However, that course of action has now been reversed, as well.
Gap has finally shed some light on its new logo, which has had the industry buzzing and wondering why the retailer ditched its previous iconic mark. The logo, created with Laird & Partners, New York, is meant to be the latest "evolution" for the brand, which has been updating its product, rolling out pop-up stores and tapping hot designers such as Patrick Robinson. The logo is also in line with the label on Gap's popular 1969 jeans line.
It appears Gap is rolling out a new logo and critics aren't being too kind about the shift. The new logo has replaced the retailer's iconic blue box, which had "Gap" emblazoned across it in capital letters, on the brand's home page. Now, a gradiated blue box is perched at the top right side of the "p" in Gap. The original logo can still be found on the retailer's Facebook and Twitter page, however. The logo is pervasive in American culture, appearing on some 1,200 stores in North America. Gap also operates nearly 300 stores in Europe and Asia. Gap is the 84th most-valuable brand in the world, according to Interbrand's 2010 study. The group values the brand at nearly $4 billion.
Twitter unveiled a new Web site on Tuesday that it hopes will be user friendly. The redesigned site, which will be available to all users in the next few weeks, makes it simpler to see information about the authors of Twitter posts, conversations among Twitter users, and the photos and videos that posts link to. “It’s going to increase the value that people are getting out of Twitter, so in less time you can get more information and value,” Evan Williams, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview.
While major fashion brands unveil their latest styles this week in New York as part of Fashion Week, Twitter yesterday unveiled a new look that is as eye-catching as some of the fashions you'll see on display on the runway. The goal: provide "an easier, faster, and richer experience". The plan: role out some major changes to portions of the Twitter userbase over the next several weeks. The reaction? With most redesigns, there's the good, bad, and sometimes the ugly. Unlike, say, Digg, which was pummeled by users following its recent redesign, Twitter's new design is unlikely to spark revolt. But that doesn't mean that it isn't bold. It is, albeit in more subtle ways that reflect Twitter's belief that it provides a "consumption environment". Here's a breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Hilton Worldwide has been undergoing a major reevaluation of its flagship brand, Hilton Hotels, and, after completing international consumer research, a lengthy strategic branding process and custom graphic design work, is introducing a brand-new Hilton logo. "We've embarked on the most comprehensive research in the history of the company for the Hilton brand," said Dave Horton, global head of the Hilton Hotels brand. So what does the new logo, one of more than 20 in the company's 91-year history, say about Hilton? Almost the same things the old logo said about Hilton.
Mapquest today unveils an easier-to-use, redesigned site and revamped logo as part of the AOL-owned brand's efforts to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded space. Visitors can opt into the new site via a call-out atop the current home page, or by typing new.mapquest.com in their Web browsers. For the next few weeks, Mapquest -- which had 49.1 million unique U.S. visitors in May, per comScore -- is allowing users to switch back and forth between the two sites while it evaluates their feedback.
YouTube began pushing out the site's redesign Wednesday after testing the format since January. The cleaner, stripped-down version, which comes after a year of planning, more closely resembles the style and design of pages from parent company Google. The changes might seem subtle at first, but that's only because the site sports a cleaner look. Metrics from preliminary tests that YouTube ran earlier this year suggest that overall video playbacks with the redesign rose 6%. People stay on the site 7% longer to view and comment longer. The cleaner design also helps pages load faster.
MSN on Tuesday officially debuted its refurbished home page, with a greater focus on Bing-powered search, local content, in-line video, and top social networks. "This marks the beginning of the ramp-out over the next couple weeks of our new home page here in the U.S.," said Erik Jorgensen, ccorporate vice president at MSN. The new site, which went live in beta form last November, also includes a new MSN Local Edition, which will exist as a stand-alone Web site, but will feature prominently on the relaunched MSN home page.
It goes without saying that the Great Recession has been a time for companies to pull back and retrench. But the recessionary downswing has also become a remarkable opportunity for re-imagining and reinventing brands. Some marketers have been forced to rethink their brands because of competitive pressures; when things are good, it's easy to put aside the marketer's responsibility to continually re-excite its consumers (and stun gun the competition). Too many marketers leave that quest to Apple, Nike and Marc Jacobs.
Facebook is beginning a roll-out of a redesign to its Web page that places more emphasis on notifications. It'll improve things for users for sure, but it's just the first step of a plan to give Facebook serious Web emailing powers.
While there's still some debate about the fallout from Tropicana's much-maligned redesign, this much is for certain: Coca-Cola has usurped the top slot from PepsiCo in fruit-juice share. PepsiCo blames a surge in private label for its share falloff rather than the repackaging and there were inevitably other factors at work in what was an action-packed year for the usually predictable orange juice category, which is the single largest juice type within the fruit-juice category.
I recently wrote about reports on the documented decline of visitors to Twitter.com. A good friend encouraged me to take a deeper look at the reports as a way of discerning hype from reality and to also examine the potential trends that will most likely set the stage for something more meaningful. At the very least, Twitter has been nothing short of a cultural catalyst that transformed how people communicate as well as how messages are distributed and disseminated. Twitter as a platform has also effectively served as the social OS for many of its loyal and enthusiastic users.
Walmart is doling out hundreds of millions of dollars for "Project Impact," an ambitious five-year push to de-clutter its stores to make them more shopper-friendly. But having less merchandise on display has put a serious crimp in sales for some categories and dinged suppliers. And that's got Bentonville buzzing that the retail titan might just put the program on hold as a result. "They solved half of the problem, which was un-cluttering the stores," said a person familiar with Walmart. "That leaves them with the other half of the problem: how to make up for the lost sales" from removing millions of square feet of prime merchandising space.
Burger King is getting a makeover. At the grand opening of its redesigned restaurant at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the fast feeder announced plans to continue rolling out the sleek, futuristic new store designs, dubbed “20/20.” The company plans to revamp all of its nearly 12,000 locations with the new look, including LCD menu screens, corrugated metal and brick walls, as well as an exterior that emphasizes the “Home of the Whopper” tagline, according to the Associated Press. “As we continue to grow and strengthen the brand worldwide, this new restaurant design exemplifies our vision for the brand’s future and reinforces our goal of delivering superior products and positive guest experiences,” BKC chairman and CEO John Chidsey said in a statement.
With 8,100 locations in 147 countries and approximately 30 million reservations annually, Hertz is one of the world’s largest rental car services. It’s also the most yellow. Since early this year, Hertz has slowly been introducing a new logo first brought in February from a customer survey. With the logo now on Hertz’s web site and the cover of the 2008 annual report I would have expected a little more fanfare or at least more information, but there is none unfortunately.
Marc Andreessen is backing a new browser company called RockMelt. Not much is known about RockMelt other than it is being designed by an all-star team (including software engineer Robert John Churchill from the Netscape days) and that it is tied into Facebook through Facebook Connect. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has a screenshot of the sign-in page and speculates that RockMelt is in fact a Facebook browser. Miguel Helft at the NYT leans in that direction as well. It kind of makes sense since Andreesen is on the board of Facebook, but I suspect it is only half the story.
Back in March, I asked people to quit whining about Facebook's redesign. It wasn't that I liked the radical changes the site had made—they were unquestionably terrible. In an online poll that attracted more than 1 million respondents, 94 percent panned the new design. But I doubted the numbers: People always hate when their favorite site is redesigned. Lots of users were probably responding more to the suddenness of the changes than to the substance, and we'd all get over it soon enough. Five months later, I feel vindicated
Yahoo is unveiling a major overhaul of its vaunted home page, a redesign aimed at creating a less cluttered, more malleable and cohesive user experience.
At the start of the year, it all seemed to make perfect sense. PepsiCo decided that Tropicana, one of its biggest brands, was in need of a major brand overhaul. In January, the company told assembled journalists to expect an ‘historic integrated marketing campaign' and a redesign that would ‘reinforce the brand and product attributes' and ‘rejuvenate the category'. Then PepsiCo introduced its secret weapon. In swept Peter Arnell, chief executive of brand and innovation agency the Arnell Group. In a rambling speech, he described a five-month ‘journey' that had resulted in ‘dramatic' changes leading to Tropicana's packaging being ‘engineered' to ‘imply ergonomically' the ‘notion of squeezing'.
When you listen to your users, you get vanilla. feature creep. boring. It takes a dictator to create the iPhone and change the course of an entire industry. Imagine if Steve Jobs let other people add features to that device. So I’m surprised that Facebook, which has stared down its users so many times in the past, is folding on the most recent redesign flareup and reverting back to some old features. Just because, oh, a million people demanded it.
According to at least one early poll, the latest Facebook redesign is a flop. A week after the social network began rolling out the revamped home page, a "New Layout Application" on Facebook shows that few approve of the new version.
Jack has risen, hallelujah. After being hit by a bus in a Super Bowl TV/Web commercial Feb. 1, Jack -- the grand-tete CEO-mascot of Jack in the Box -- emerged from his coma March 4, newly inspired. At Jack's direction, the San Diego-based restaurant chain will undertake a brand makeover this spring, including a new logo (Duffy & Partners, Minneapolis), redesigned store environments and a new corporate website that launched Monday.
It’s a revamp-gone-wrong tale that has already secured its place in the annals of packaging: PepsiCo retains Arnell Group to redesign its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice cartons as part of its new ad campaign. Said cartons make their aisle debut in January, minus the familiar straw-punctured orange and sporting a modernized depiction of—well, fresh-squeezed juice. Consumers revolt and demand the old packaging back. Two months and a reported US$ 35 million later, PepsiCo reverts back to the original Tropicana packaging, straw between its legs (and back on the carton).
Facebook has announced a completely redesigned homepage which significantly changes the focus of the site. Along with the new look, which offers much more organized, easy to digest updates from your friends, there are also some new features that users have been clamoring for for some time — like the ability to filter or mute content from select friends.
Facebook's all set to make a product development announcement of sorts on Wednesday in the form of what it calls an "Open Door" event featuring CEO Mark Zuckerberg and several other executives. The most notable portion of it--according to an e-mail from the company's press corps--is that it'll unveil "the next evolution of Facebook Pages."
In a SlideShare presentation posted this afternoon the Walmart Great Value redesign is presented to the world. If this presentation is accurate it presents a redesign that takes cues from European retailers like Tesco and the elegant American designs of Publix. As discussed in many posts, the impact of this rebrand and the corresponding marketing and quality emphasis by Walmart on it could dramatically change the brand landscape.
Oh, the ’80s. For Finesse, it was a decade of big hair and equally big sales for then-parent company Unilever. But the bargain brand’s taken a bit of a beating since its heyday, and 2008 was time to contemporize with a redesign that could double as a way to slash costly printing bills.
Newsweek is planning a redesign and some shifts in content to fashion an opinionated take on events, aimed at a much smaller, and wealthier, readership.
ESPN.com is counting on less clutter and more advertising options to bolster revenue at a time when its sister cable channels are battling rare weakness.
In a way, there’s something kind of cool about a company that changes its logo every decade or so: Each new logo is like a cultural milestone - a snapshot if you will, of that decade’s graphic flavor, and how tastes change over time. But I guess once you get past the cool time capsule thing, you kind of have to wonder: Has each change in logo actually resulted in some kind of benefit for the Pepsi Cola company?a