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283. A Busy Month for Identity Redesign.

There are a lot of sites showcasing the latest and greatest in branding, and though we dabble in that exact thing from time to time, Graphicology's purpose is a more general than that. However, there have been several smaller identity redesigns that have gone under the radar of the major design press and I felt it would be good to gather a few of them up and take the temperature of identity design. I feel like the redesigns/launches that get all of the attention skew our perspective of what is really going on out there, both good and bad. These mostly smaller or less publicized projects give us all a better idea of how others are executing our craft. Sometimes, executing is an appropriate choice of words and sometimes the results are rather nice. 

I usually use Graphicology's Twitter account to post these identities as they happen (as soon as the press release is available in most cases) as well as short-form posts that don't quite require the blog's full attention. (Follow here: graphicologycom). The oldest logo design post is only three weeks old—the youngest a few hours. So hopefully this article (and others like it to come) will help fill in the gaps of our branding/identity design current events. (The above image is a design suggestion to director James Cameron, written by someone who has worked with him in the past to move beyond Papyrus for the Identity for the film, Avatar. It was not implemented obviously. Read more about it here.)

Quintiles. This one is pretty fresh, just being released yesterday. And it came with more than a mere logo update. The release included information on a new company perspective called The New Health (watch that described here), and an announcement that all of their global services will be under one brand. It's still up in the air as to whom to credit the new design, although New York based advertising agency, Doremus is their agency of record. Quintiles is a biopharmaceutical services company (think clinical trials) based in Research Triangle Park, NC. I have to say that the old type didn't seem to match their bold, red Q and although the update isn't without its flaws, it's a definite improvement if keeping the icon was a given. It's rather bland and doesn't communicate much, but I guess it's solid enough for such a large company.


Hon. I'm a little biased on this redesign from earlier this month, as Hon's announcement and support of the identity relaunch via social media makes it hard to critique it in a vacuum. (And it's difficult not to like a geometric O). The new corporate mark reminds me a bit of Dyson (speaking of vacuums) but that's not a bad thing at all. The company seems to be genuinely excited about the new mark, its first tweak in over 40 years. The office furniture manufacturer, based in Muscatine, Iowa believes that a new logo is a big deal. Tim Smith, the company's director of brand communications said, "It signals a change. It raises a flag. It attracts attention." Refreshed LEED-certified corporate digs followed up the new logo. Certainly not the most interesting or dynamic of logos you will ever see, it is an appropriate update for such a company. It's modern, strong and without too many frills. Something you'd expect from, say, office furniture. Looking at their past history, I only regret that they didn't erase the mistakes of the 70's before four decades had past.


Argos. This redesign comes from across the pond in Britain via Argos a catalog retailer that sells pretty much anything. The design takes a very questionable tail of an A & an awfully chopped S and replaces them with some wobbly characters of a nondescript typeface. The swoop is now detached and looking very much like another online retailer named Amazon. You may have heard of them and their nicely designed combination mark from Turner Duckworth? Since that's the case, I think the new version is a big mistake even if the old feels very much that, old and dated. It's just too similar within a similar industry. And something about most 'smiles' in corporate identity makes me a little angry. Give me some good service and then we'll share a smile, um-kay? (Like most of these, it's hard to say who the responsible design firm is.)


A-data. One of the more interesting updates comes from A-data, the Taiwanese digital storage company. Not content to do a mere refresh, they went all Wolff Olins and pulled out a rainbow-colored hummingbird to help reenergize their business. The type is a poor choice and it's hard not to see AAA amongst the rest, but let's be honest, you're not looking at the logotype are you? The bird is dynamic, caught in mid-air and even though it's not rendered with as much craft as we'd like it's hard not to see the courage in the attempt. I will say this - in the technology sector - it stands out. I can't wait to see the brand celebration event Fly, Catch, Go! which will be launched to share A-DATA’s moment of glory with the general public. (Their words, not mine.) See more of this in action via this news release.

Scottrade. Definitely flying under the radar is the redesign of Scottrade, the St. Louis based online stock trading site. Mainly, I think this is a result of the revisions being relatively small. But what the changes lack in importance they make up for by being ugly. I'm not sure what those three stripes represent, there is no pretty shade of purple, and the tagline Get Invested feels a bit too much like an order for my tastes. The revision came along with a new advertising campaign with a theme of Don't Go. View an example at the bottom of this post.

AMN Healthcare. A smaller—though no less important to them—redesign comes from AMN Healthcare, out of San Diego. And as so often is the case the new design is only a small part of a business realignment as announced here. Why did they need a new logo? "To more effectively symbolize its position as the leader in the healthcare staffing and management services industry and the unique strength of its interconnecting service offerings" of course. I have to say from a strictly design perspective it feels too trendy. Like someone got a logolounge account and pulled some elements or approaches off of a few of their favorites. (I enjoy logolounge, don't get me wrong here. You know what I mean.) Of course, this may not have been the case, it just feels very 2009. Not the best thing you want to say about a new logo, even though it's not without it's charm albeit somewhat correctly—a clinical charm. Oh, I'd like to see more space between that M and N, please. Just a bit. A touch. A tad. And maybe extend Healthcare towards the right as mathematically it may be aligned; it's not aligned visually. Okay, I'm done.

South Shore Furniture. Coming in strong from north of the border, this furniture maker out of Quebec managed to redesign a little contemporary charm into their logo for their 70th anniversary. And it's a nice contrast to what Hon produced above. Theirs was for office furniture and the same approach would have been wrong for South Shore which needed to convey more comfort and warmth over modern functionality. I like that they eliminated one piece of furniture and using only two, communicated a sense of home. I'm also very fond of their omission of the old TV and stand as their presence was just wrong. The new lamp and dresser are nice and rounded and feel good inside the new shape (which is kind of like a rug, or at least that's how I would have sold it.) Even the hot dog colors look better in the new configuration. The look is completed with a solid typography choice. Here is the full press release.


OSN. This is from my new neighborhood, the Middle East. Here (and I believe only in the ME region) Showtime and Orbit (both cable TV content providers) merged about six months ago and obviously needed to do something as locking-up two logos simply was not a long-term option. Designed in-house, the new logo is definitely better than the two old ones, but just barely. It makes me laugh every time I see it because it makes me think of the old ESPN / SportsCenter logo from back when Chris Berman was a regular SportsCenter anchor. Ha. See it in action here.


Thalassa Sea & Spa. What started out as a name change become something much bigger. Being fully launched by the end of this week, Accor Thalassa's well-being arm is now known as Thalassa Sea & Spa and gets a new face-lift itself. Per the press release, "The new identity highlights the brand’s expertise and offers a new thalassotherapy experience that combines in-depth revitalization of the body and the distinctive instantaneous sensorial escapism of the spa setting." Their new motto? There are journeys your body never forgets. Which is true I guess, like the time I went running in the middle of a Phoenix summer without nary a water bottle. My body will never forget that, for sure. The French company operates about 20 spas in France and abroad. Even though it reminds me a bit of the drunken love-child between IBM and AT&T's logos, the new (fewer) waves aren't so bad and the type update feels approachable yet sophisticated. A design solution that is right for the situation.


Tax Brain. There's not a whole lot to say here, as this is an early contender for worst of 2010. It was pretty darn ugly to begin with, but after major reconstructive surgery it only has a generic, lifeless, boring, meaningless bunch of shapes to call its identity home. I've included this because it makes me think of all the logos you can get off the shelves from stock sites that although have the vague appearance of something professionally produced, have none of the life and purpose that you'd otherwise get. It wouldn't surprise me if that's exactly what they did either. What decent designer couldn't fall out of bed and design something interesting for a company called Tax Brain? C'mon.


Youth Olympic Games Singapore. This isn't technically an identity replacement, as the new mark isn't exactly going to replace the old so much as complement it. (And by old, I mean pretty new. This is the first annual event, see.)  I'm not exactly clear what role each will play for this year's games, but with just a bit less than 200 days to go, all that will become clear soon enough. The official press release amused me a little bit, I must admit. “YOG-DNA” is targeted at young people, not as a logo or a brand, but as a label. It represents the attitudes and freedom of young people and has no restrictions like a traditional “brand”. Uh...right. Call it what you want, but what you have right there is a logo. I guess the kids will appreciate the black and white, the grunged-up forms, and the irregular digital typography having missed out on all those trends in the mid-nineties. I don't mind the idea behind the mark, but why have two? If you really want to capture the spirit here, go all the way. Here's a link to a video to see if you have YOG DNA.

The Hub. And one last news-worthy identity. The Discovery Channel (a family favorite), Hasbro and Satan have teamed together to launch a brand-new kids network called The Hub. Well, just Discovery and Hasbro, but it will be pure visual intoxication for kids everywhere. The network debuts in the fall of this year, so we'll have to wait to see how it moves and sounds, but I bet it will spin and bounce and glow and pulse and fly and...

Okay, that's the major identity redesigns so far in 2010. It's been a busy month for both big designs you'd see elsewhere and those that may have received a lot less exposure. I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of the projects that you might have otherwise missed.

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Reader Comments (2)

I think I love the ADATA redesign. It's smart a visually engaging. I agree with you on the Scottrade design too! Great post!
January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA-N-D
Love creativity as it is always inspirational.
July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHome Staging Tips

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