Your Favorite Logos… Redesigned

I’m going to post a few logos you’re all familiar with along side their redesign. Some have been recently redesigned (Kodak, Intel, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) and others are from a few years ago. I’m curious what everyone thinks of the new looks. Did you even notice? Are they better? Worse? Why?

I will weigh in later but I’d like to see what everyone else says first.

The old logo is on the left, new on the right.

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43 thoughts on “Your Favorite Logos… Redesigned

  1. I’m no design expert, but I think all the newer ones look a lot better (and cleaner) with the exceptions of the Bank of New York, DC, and Pizza Hut. In particular, I think Bank of America whiffed big on this.

    Most improved has to go to FedEx.

  2. That FedEx logo (with the knockout arrow) has been in existence since as far back as 1990.

    The newest FedEx logo has Kinko’s attached.

    Did you do any of these Rusty? Or your firm?

  3. I agree about the new AT&T logo. It sucks. It looks like a dinosaur brand’s desperate attempt to redefine itself. The old logo needed a little updating, but they should’ve aimed for a logo that says, “We’re big and important,” instead of, “Please, young people, love us.”

    I like the old Pizza Hut logo better but I think the new one is effective. The old Pizza Hut looks like a place to go sit and have a pizza, while the new one looks like a place to call and order a pizza. The upward slant of the words and the handwriting font feels more kinetic, more “on-the-go,” which is probably what Pizza Hut wants the public to associate with its name. Same goes for Burger King–the new logo is more kinetic than the old one.

    I hate that FedEx Express has “ex” twice in a row. If FedEx stands for Federal Express, then the logo says Federal Express Express, which pisses me off. That said, the new logo is better, although it could use an update.

    The new DC logo is much more appropriate for action hero comics than the old. The star in motion is definitely a nice touch.

    Kodak is wise to distance itself from the old logo that makes you think of film and film development. The new one looks better on a digital camera than the old one, but it’s still a bit crusty.

    I love the symmetry of the new church logo and I hate the asymmetry of the old one. And, of course, the prominance of “Jesus Christ” is an effective way to communicate what the Church wants to communicate.

  4. My kids love the FedEx logo with the arrow in the whitespace, they think it’s just so cool. Whenever they see a truck they call out, “FedEx!”

    I don’t like the new AT&T or the Bank of New York logos.

  5. I’m surprised that everyone seems to like the new Pizza Hut logo. To me, it looks rushed, off-balance and sloppy, and makes me wonder just how bad the pizza will look when it arrives. But I have certain paranoias about what’s going on with my fast food, anyway.

  6. I agree – I hate the new Pizza Hut logo, but I also prefer the old BK logo and the old DC comics logo. For BK, I feel like an old-skool image is more appropriate for the brand.

    For DC Comics, well, a comic loser like myself believes that when it comes to a company involved in the graphic arts, you don’t mess with your logo. The new DC logo is most predominant in DC films — Batman Beyond I believe was the first one to use it in the credits, with an animated logo a la Marvel. I feel like the old logo had class and some real history to it. A shame to discard it.

  7. There’s a difference between liking a logo better in isolation and thinking that the change of a logo is on balance a good thing. I like the new DC logo better, but agree with Supergenius that the change is not a good thing.

    I’m guessing that changes in printing and imaging techology contribute to the need/desire to change a company’s logo. Logos designed for older, more limited technologies can look dated. Updating is probably a good thing, but one can go too far. The new Bank of New York logo is an abomination.

    FedEx has messed with their colors since acquiring Kinkos, and it’s not good, in my opinion.

    I like the Pizza Hut and Burger King updates. Fast food is fast, and presumably not boring. They sensibly retain the basic idea, unlike like Hardee’s, which went through a major change when they joined with Carl’s Jr. (I’m still not sure which is which).

    Telcom company logos are frankly not all that important — the landscape changes every few years, so there aren’t any really iconic brands out there, except AT&T, and they’re pretty much dead.

    I think UPS is brilliant to embrace brown. No one else uses it, and they’ve managed to stake it out pretty well (“What can brown do for you?”).

    Can’t Quark do better than that? Isn’t their audience a bunch of designers?

    Can anyone imagine GE jettisoning that script GE logo? Ugly as hell, but how could you replace it?

    All this from a guy who regularly confuses pink and purple.

  8. “All this from a guy who regularly confuses pink and purple.”

    That’s what years of sleep deprivation and two small daughters will do for you. After a while, everything just looks like rainbow glitter.

    I agree that UPS has done a good job, both with logo/color and product differentiation. Burger King and Pizza Hut, though, I just can’t agree with. Everyone knows fast food is fast (well, some areas of the country more than others). I personally need a great deal of reassurance that it’s clean and somewhat deliberate. I do not want any haphazard surprises lurking in the cheese. Or mayo. Hence, the more clean and deliberate the logo, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

  9. Allison, my color sense has actually improved since becoming the father to daughters (as I am repeatedly chastized for putting ill-matching clothes on them).

  10. The only improvements in my opinion are Sprint, UPS, FedEx, and possibly Burger King. I agree with everyone who said the Bank of New York logo is atrocious. Alexander Hamilton must be turning over in his grave. Although maybe now no self-respecting Russian mobster will be laundering his money there.

  11. I’m with Allison on the Pizza Hut logo. It looks exactly the same logo, only jostled around like your pizza will be in the delivery car. It’s time to jettison those atrocious red roofs on their buildings, too. No one goes there to eat anymore, so why build the shape of your restaurant into the logo?

  12. Interesting comments all!

    The AT&T logo is what inspired this post. I can’t emphasize how much I hate the new logo. It offends me as a designer because it’s both ugly and betrays the near-perfect Saul Bass original. It offends me as a consumer because it’s trying to be hip and young and friendly (and failing) and that’s condescending to me. It offends me as a business person it offends me that the designers sold this solution to AT&T knowing how bad it sucks but cared more about the money they were getting paid.

    Burger King: I don’t mind it so much. I hate the ellipse/swoosh thing, but I don’t mind the energy of it. The old logo is cool in a the-80’s-are-cool-again way, but it just feels like grade school.

    Bank of New York: Terrible. Bad, bad, bad. A reproduction nightmare. And it just doesn’t feel wealthy and secure like the old one. The colors are going to be obsolete in a couple years. Terrible.

    DC Comics: I much prefer the older one but I’m not a comic guy so I don’t know the trends of the industry. It could be that part of my bias is that my teacher and mentor, Milton Glaser, was the designer, but it’s mostly because I think it’s a better, more timeless mark. (Again, notice the ellipse)

    The FedEx logo is one of the most brilliant designs of the 20th century. Not only did they change the name from 5-syllables to two, not only did they create an incredibly strong, commanding mark, but they were also able to get an arrow into the design… something I didn’t even notice until YEARS later. I absolutely love it. (the “Express” part under the “FedEx” is referring to express shipping, not the second word in the name. I should have just pulled the mark without anything below.)

    Intel: Meh. Still with the ellipse? Ugh. The type isn’t bad, it feels electronic. The color is an improvement (but not by much). And it’s nice that they kinda combined the two marks, but I’m just still not convinced. Their relationship with Apple will probably have more influence over my opinion on the mark than anything else (which shows how much I care about Intel).

    Kodak: The jury is still out. I seriously lament the loss of the square-K, it’s iconic, it’s Kodak. But the truth is that they have to get away from who they were (film) and into the 21st century… or at least the 20th. I like the type of the new one (except the “a”) but I have a problem with it just being type. I think it needs something else.

    The Church’s logo is great. And that’s not just because my professor designed it. More on it’s evolution here.

    Pizza Hut: Another abomination. The old one could have used an update, but this isn’t it. This looks feels a piece of greasy pizza, and that’s not a good thing. It reminds me of “Pizza the Hut” from Spaceballs. The fake handwriting has to go.

    Quark: Definitely a move in the right direction, but not quite there. Quark as a brand has been dying since the introduction of InDesign. They needed something completely different, and this is, but it feels too stark. But really, I don’t have that much bad to say about it (except that there is no way I will ever buy their software… ever).

    Sprint: I like it a lot. I’m not thrilled about the type, it seems a bit plain, but the mark and colors are perfect. Yellow and black are much stronger and bolder than gray and red, and much more distinct. The mark is great because it’s like the pin-drop plus it’s an arrow. Very nice.

    UPS: (See comments above for AT&T) I hate FutureBrand for even suggesting it. I also hate that they made it 3D and used a swoosh. I hate the typography of it. And it’s a tragedy that they did this to a Paul Rand mark makes it even more despicable. Sure the old mark could have used some updates, but COME ON!!!

  13. Funny, the other one I don’t think is successful is Sprint. It just sits there, a square yellow box with black writing, it says nothing to me.

    Plus, I made a whole career using Quark Xpress. InDesign is pretty much the enemy (Adobe is the new Microsoft — both fascistic) but Quark did drop the ball, technology-wise, and they aren’t a very friendly company to deal with. But give me Quark’s interface 8 days a week, please.

    P.S. I appreciate everyone’s efforts on the Church logo, but it still *isn’t* a logo. I’m not sure the Church needs a logo, but I guess I would make something out of LDS (if we need a logo).

  14. Having worked at a graphic design firm that did work for a bank, I can easily imagine just how that new Bank of New York logo came to be.

  15. D,
    The fact that you like Quark’s interface shows that you are an old-school designer. InDesign’s is so much more intuitive, so much more fluid with Photoshop and Illustrator… FAR superior! And Adobe is NOT the new Microsoft… Adobe actually makes quality products.

  16. HaHa, but you’ve said yourself, the old school logos are better! Saul Bass, Adrian Pulfer…

    I miss Adobe Illustrator 6, a beautiful product. All the Adobe products now mimic Photoshop, which is cluttered and awful. Yes, they’re all the same, making it easier to use one and all, but… that doesn’t make them better.

    I suspect you like InDesign, because that’s what you know best — c’est la vie.

  17. Actually I learned on Quark. I never liked it because I was learning Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time and those seemed so much better, the key commands made more sense, the way the boxes and tools worked made so much more sense. Quark worked on it’s own terms, not on mine. And that’s how the company was as well, not consumer-friendly at all. When InDesign came out I immediately tried it and loved it and only work in Quark when I have to (working for a dinosour company). I don’t mind the demise of Quark. Bye-bye Quark, bye-bye!

  18. I agree that the AT&T change is horrible. And the old logo was an all-time classic. Most of the other changes are ok, though. The FedEx is a real improvement.

    I actually like the new Bank of NY logo, but I guess I’m the only one. I’m not sure about how it will reproduce or age, but it just looks cool and confident to me, and the old logo looked tired.

    I’m kind of on the fence about the church logo. The old one needed updating, but the new one seems like it’s trying too hard or something.

  19. By the way, I’m not a designer at all, and I have very middling taste when it comes to these things. I used Quark as a production tool, almost exclusively, turning out thousands of mechanicals a month for Citibank. It was an efficient production tool for me, but I can see why someone who needs more design features would like the Adobe creative software better.

  20. D: I appreciate everyone’s efforts on the Church logo, but it still *isn’t* a logo. I’m not sure the Church needs a logo, but I guess I would make something out of LDS (if we need a logo)

    Funny, ’cause after looking at these last night, my husband told me he decided he didn’t want to be a member of any religion that had a corporate logo. I didn’t really know what to say… :-(

  21. The at&t update is like “i-Logo”.
    The UPS is has added that 3-D effect shine to it too. Kind of hokey.
    And why would anyone mess with DC Comics and Kodak? It makes no sense. No sense!
    The Bank of NY thing is just kind of stupid.

    Maybe next post should be about slogans. We passed a KFC truck last night and it had this slogan on it that said, “What’s your KFC moment?” and I just felt icky. Like, icky!

  22. It’s between the E and the x, in Ex. It’s white, basically negative space between the letters.

  23. Wow, I’m an idiot. I never saw that arrow before. The sad thing is that I read an entire article in Slate about the FedEx logo which mentions the arrow a million times and I still never saw it. I thought the letters were in a vaguely arrowish shape. Yeesh.

  24. I can remember a long time ago that Bloom County had a comic that referred to the (now old) AT&T logo as “the death star” which was exactly what I thought it resembled. The new one looks fine to me.

  25. Speaking of “Bloom County” and how new versions of old things pale in comparison, is there anything sadder than “Opus?” It’s like Willie Mays running around in center field for the Mets (not that I know anything about that, it’s just the metaphor that always gets trotted out by hack sportswriters for situations like this).

  26. The new AT&T logo is an abomination, but so is the company. What a failure. They threw themselves away, so why is this logo a surprise? Besides, SBC needed a new logo after buying them…

    I had never seen the arrow cutout in the FedEx logo before. Of course it took me almost a year of seeing it to figure out the the Carrefour logo was a cutout “c” and not some sort of depiction of a cutting tool.

    The new UPS one isn’t so bad, but it will look dated soon and will have to be updated more frequently.

    The Bank of New York is horrible, but so was their old one. They should have stolen the design the Church used.

    I’m guessing that the IBM logo will never change. Ever.

    Rusty, you should have put Apple up there. I have a certain nostalgia for the rainbow logo.

  27. Meems,

    What does your husband think if churches that form a company called Intellectual Reserve Inc to act as copyright holder so that it can sue violators without the name of the church appearing in the lawsuit?

  28. I started LMAO when I saw the new Pizza Hut logo – I think they should call themselves “Pizza Hat” now, and the hat is red, which lead me to thinking about the red hat club, which I am pretty sure, is not Pizza Hat’s intention.

    *snerk*

  29. I guess I should chime in on the DC logo. I am a nerd, but not a comic book luvin nerd, so I don’t place much value on the DC logo. That said, it is pretty clear that the new logo is meant to work well in movies, tv, and print. The old one was great for print but really doesn’t have a nice way of being set in motion. While the new one might not be as good for print, I am guessing that they don’t plan on print media being the biggest contributor to their bottom line.

  30. I am looking to find out what font if used for the KFC logo and if anyone knows where I can find it. I happened to stumble across this site so I thought I would ask if no one minds.

    Thanks, email me at endlessenigma@gmail.com

  31. I think they are all examples of over blown expectations of inpact and investment.

    Positioning is the issue…not updated logos. What will it take for “Brown” to recover the millions of dollars it spent on the next logo. Or any of the others.

    I must admit, the art dorector that got Bank of NY to use this etch-a-scetch logo was brillant. Logo is absurd but the guts to present and sell it…wow.

  32. um…..
    all the “new” logos suck compared to the old ones
    all the new logos add fluff (eye candy, strokes, gradients, rounded corners, 3D) but dont add to the idea. Personally I think the “new” logo for ups is the most repulsive….if you remove the letters UPS it signifies nothing

  33. The biggest problem with the new AT&T logo is that by creating a “true” 3D effect on the sphere, they lose the connection with the flat text, so the whole decomposes into parts; the text and graphics also used to harmonize because their widths matched. And that’s not even addressing the blandness of the new oddly lowercase typeface. Are we trying to pretend AT&T is not an acronym?

    One problem with the new Burger King logo is that the buns have become shiny. Are they greasy, or made of plastic? The colors favor the latter. The old logo was a clear message: we sell hamburgers. The new one has added bunch of motion but lost the original graphic meaning. Is the blue swoopy supposed to be a mouth? Is that why the burger is tilted, because it’s tipping down my throat? If so 1) why are my lips blue (am I being poisoned?) and 2) why am I swallowing an entire burger in one bite? Maybe my lips are blue because I’m choking because I’m trying to swallow an entire plastic burger. The result is certainly a lo tmore exciting – what happens next? can the medics revive me? – but less like food, so perhaps more accurate overall.

    The old Bank of New York logo was pretty dated – an odd combination of aiming for a solid typeface but arranging the words off balance. The new logo – oh dear!

    The overall design of both DC logos looks fine, but the new one looks unfinished. I guess they wanted the faux 3D effect that is so in vogue now to increase the “energy” of the logo, but the old logo used positive and negative space better than the new one, and consequently its use of color was bolder. The new logo looks graphically exciting and better emphasizes the text over the graphic but is chromatically anemic. That hurts enough to make this a step down that could have been a step up.

    The FedEx improvement is the best. Fewer syllables, greater visibility, and even improved graphics, since the hidden arrow says more about their business than the diagonal border between the two halves of the old rectangle ever did. Adding the Word “Express” after “FedEx” – and with the new logo including the hidden arrow – seems a tad insistent, but if they’re going to overemphasize anything that’s the right choice.

    The new Intel’s stereotyped swooshy oval isn’t particularly innovative, but overall it’s an improvement over the old letter-“e”-falling-out-of-the-name logo, which was never exactly reassuring. And if any sector of the computer industry could make any claims to leaping ahead, it would be the hardware half of the house rather than the software half, so there’s more legitimacy to this claim than most people will ever realize. It is only the raging success of hardware vendors like Intel that has prevented The Software Crisis from bringing all of our computers to a grinding halt. I write this as a career programmer.

    The new Kodak logo is far more legible, and although it loses the graphic representation of capturing a photo the old logo had, did anyone else notice the new “d” is actually a schematic representation of a film cartridge seen from above. Now just pull the ascender of the “d” up to the other spindle and close the back of the camera to load your Kodak in your camera. . . .

    Of course the new LDS logo is worlds better than the old one. I may be an atheist, but even I know “Jesus Christ” is the most important part of their name. Besides, the old logo, like the old Bank of New York logo, had that tottering, off-balance look, which is not what you want for an institution concerned with eternity.

    I don’t like either of the Pizza Hut logos. What is up with the letters “z” and “H” in the old one; are the swoopy lines supposed to be pizza dough spinning as it is thrown up in the air? If so, why is it hanging off of letters. The new one looks like a sketch, and sketchy is not what I hope for in food, unless we’re talking innovation, which we’re not. The real problem, though is the name: why a hut? Logo designers are always going to be handicapped if they have to make visual sense out of a nonsensical name? Thanks to the previous respondent, I too now see a red hat with a strange face beneath it in both logos.

    Nor do I like either Quark logo. I don’t know why the A in the first logo is made to stand out, nor do I see any other particular graphic significance other than unity of the letters into a logo. As for the new one, that strangely stylized Q graphic looks like a cam off a camshaft, which puts me faintly in mind of a car engine. Maybe some variant of this could be used as a logo for the Toyota Camry, a nice car whose name has always confused me, but I don’t see what it has to do with typesetting. Perhaps a document, or a page, or a book, or a press, or something along those lines could have been adapted into a suitable graphic. Also, for software supposed to help with fine typography, the new typeface itself is surprisingly clumsy.

    Neither Sprint logo is ideal, but the new one looks so much like a corporate merger compromise – bland and disconnected. The new graphic is somewhat interesting, but is largely unrelated to the bland sans-serif typeface or to the bland yellow rectangle. The old Sprint graphic far better conveys the notion of sprinting, as does the idea of an italic typeface, though I would have chosen something whose angles better matched the angles of the graphic; likewise the colors of the old graphic and old type had little to do with each other. A redesign should have worked closely with the old logo’s strengths and just fixed its weaknesses. As for the old NEXTEL logo, bland bland bland.

    The new UPS logo is a far stronger graphic, and the typeface is better unified – the old one alternated upper and lower case to no good purpose. Unfortunately, they like AT&T chose to convert their name from an acronym to a word by going all lowercase, so now their name is no longer “U.P.S.” but the word “ups.” Unlike some earlier respondents, I have no particular problem with 3D effects when suitable – trendy though they may be – and a shield is a simple place to use them. However, I agree the new graphic says less than the old one did, even if it says it more forcefully. Before we had a package and a shield – I guess they protected our shipments – but now we have a shield with a swoopy line on it – so now they’re just about protection. In short, the new UPS logo is much better but unfortunately better suited to a security company than a package delivery company. They could have redesigned the old logo to have all the strengths of the new one without losing their core identity.

    Much better: FedEx, LDS. A little better: Intel, Kodak. Varying states of worse: AT&T, Burger King, Bank of New York, DC, Pizza Hut, Quark, Sprint, UPS.

  34. I have an organic brand logo that I want changed to stand out more, and be improved. i don’t want it totally changed like the bank example. Can you guys suggest people who could help with this. I’m not looking to spend very much through, so I need someone willing to do it for a reasonable price.

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