Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

Yahoo? It’s not about the logo.

“We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish.”
— MARISSA MAYER, CEO

Design for design’s sake?

It doesn’t half generate some media attention.

Yahoo rolls out its new logo, on CNN (I got a quick mention, too)
Yahoo reveals its new logo, on The Verge
This is Yahoo’s brand new logo, on Business Insider
Yahoo finally unveils its new logo, on Mashable
Yahoo’s new logo is a bore, and that’s the whole point, on Gizmodo
Yahoo unveils new logo, on Huffington Post
Yahoo picks a new GeoCities logo, on TechCrunch
CEO Mayer geeks out on Yahoo’s new logo, on USA Today

But as Dan points out, “‘Everyone is talking about our brand!’ is not the same as ‘Everyone loves our product!’”

Yahoo logo sketch

Yahoo logo

Here’s what CEO Marissa Mayer had to say when talking about Adobe Illustrator.

“I’m not a pro, but I know enough to be dangerous.”

Look out.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

33 appreciated comments

  1. I’d replace all the points on the marked up lettering with ‘just make it look right’. I’m sure that is all for the press release, no-one actually designs like this anyway do they?

    It’s a shame it lacks any sense of fun. Googles identity is more than their logo (put your hand over the logo on their search page and it’s still recognisable).

    I’d like to see the whole brand role out. Brands are so much more than just a logo.

    What I find amazing is how much PR it’s generated. What it means is that people are excited because ‘a big brand changed something’.

    Google change their logo pretty much every week. Yahoo have a lot of catching up to do.

  2. I agree — launching a logo on its own is never really a good idea. Strangely, barely a mention has been given to Yahoo’s website changes, and they’ll mean more to its visitors.

  3. Lee, Your first sentence is spot on. However a few subtleties make it look like maybe they actually did follow those ideas in creating the finished art (as opposed to ‘designing’ it that way.) The ‘wrists’ that are supposed to ‘be consistent’ don’t appear to be, but the Y needs some slimming near the crotch. Keeping the ‘scallops’ consistent means that the strokes of the A are too light for the H (or vice versa.)
    Conceptually, they seem to have followed eBay into the realm of neutrality on their way to insipidity.

  4. “Saturday to Sunday?” Wow, what a deep dive. Way to really look into the best way to visually represent your company’s identity.

    I think it’s uninspired, unimaginative and amateurish to the nth degree. And the issue here isn’t really the logo: it’s the collective thinking that believed this to be a good decision, to be representative of a forward thinking company that can compete with the other folks who have bested them in nearly every category.

    What experience has shown me is that when you see poor, bland redesigns with no character, it’s a clue, a harbinger of the death knell that isn’t too far behind.

  5. This highlights a bigger branding problem Yahoo has long struggled with and that is simply … not getting it.

    So in that regard, this is spot on perfect.

    Yahoo’s branding has always felt like the 90s … and now prismatic?

  6. Rich

    Bringing back bevels, nice. All you need now is comic sans and drop shadow and it’ll be perfect.

    The font choice is definitely less fun, making the angled exclamation mark and changing letter sizes unfitting.

    It seems worrying so much about the spacing and angles has led to a serious case of tunnel vision.

  7. Aaron Dickey

    Like iOS icons, apply a strict grid and some drafting in the design, show it in the presentation, assume design to be flawless. Result: forgettable.

    I agree with Stephen, they just don’t get it. Which was pretty obvious when they launched their new homepage. I can’t be on it for more than 2 minutes without getting a migraine.

  8. Sundee K

    I can appreciate the desire to move toward a more mature look, but the playfulness of the word ‘yahoo’ seems too tightly reigned in by the typeface selection.

    Although intentional, it appears the exclamation point just doesn’t fit. I think it could have been less rounded at the top and not the only character on an angle.

  9. Gabriel

    I still find the strength of the old logo is better when compared with their new ones. And I think partly because I can’t leave the brand that it has instilled in me.

  10. I feel like it’s missing the “one thing” that catches your eye in a logo, and I absolutely disagree with the bevel. It’s more annoying than anything – my eye says, “what’s that line…is it purposeful? Oh, a bevel? How distracting.”

    I also think the spacing could be improved. The Y looks like it’s drifting away from the tightness of the rest of the letters.

    Also I wish the scallops were more subtle.

    It’s an improvement, but 2 days is not enough time to fully flush out logo designs and ideas.

  11. It strikes me that if this was a starting point for a redesign you’d end up with where they were already. There seems little attempt to make a radical change even colour, exclamation mark and audio identity have been missed while they just tweak what they’ve already got. Pointless updating a logo unless the business changes too.

  12. Bob

    Surely most people have already said what I would generally say here. With that, congrats David on the CNN mentions. Really cool to see.

  13. Nick

    For such a short video (less than a minute), I stopped it after 27 seconds because I lost interest.

    First impression of a rejuvenated Yahoo….slow and a lack of substance.

  14. Steve

    @Nick – A co-worker who used to work in the design group at Yahoo said the only reason Yahoo chose purple in the first place was because it was the cheapest color to paint their campus with.

  15. The only thing I can think of is that if I turned that in to my identity and branding teacher I’d get an ‘F’ and a stern talking to. lol

  16. So what was the point of the other logos they did for the 30 day up until the final one? The more I look at the logo it looks the similiar in certain aspects besides this being a san serif compared to the previous one.

  17. Some points I find disturbing:

    • No mention of Hermann Zapf or Optima — a typeface based on classical letterforms but with such a unique styling that it’s too well known to have been simply overlooked. It’s either ignorance or arrogance, the smart money is probably on ignorance, at least from the person who is calling the shots.

    • Just because the letters are based on the Roman capitals makes them beautiful. Beautiful is not the place to stop designing. Varying the size of the letters and setting an angle on the bang! at precisely 9° is basically stopping.

    • The 29 other designs seem to have been done *after* the fact, making them the guise of a real design process.

    • A logo tells a story — the designer’s job is to choose the kind and shape of the story. If a story is not chosen, one or more will be chosen for you. The LOGODESIGNLOVE logotype tells at least three stories well: in good design, *design* fades into the background; *design* spans the gap between *logo* and *admiration*; an economy of form and function is all that’s necessary in design — in the choice of Gotham Black’s chronicling of simple, emergent letterforms; and that’s just a cursory glance at the logotype. Yahoo’s stories: thin with pseudo-personality is beautiful; if you go through the work of making something from scratch, it’ll be original; bevels — a.k.a. a little makeup makes up for a lack of personality.

    It’s so disheartening when people just don’t get it.

  18. Yawn.

    Marissa Mayer spending 2 days designing and admitting her lack of skill in Illustrator has truly revealed itself in this uninspiring attempt at a new Yahoo! logo. The letters and kerning are a disaster. The beveled effect is amateur. The fake logotype blueprint is an insult to designers everywhere.

    Regardless of how awful this is, they still have yet to put out anything that could compete with Google. Until then, I guess they’ll continue to upload brand refresh videos to YouTube (owned by Google) and hope we all pretend to care.

  19. I get Google.
    I get Ecosia.
    I don’t get Yahoo. What does it stand for? Why is it different? What does it innovate? I don’t understand the brand. It’s just yet another place to find stuff on the net or read your emails. There is nothing human or special about it. Does it have a sense of community? Does it feel human in any way? The home page is still cluttered and looks the same as it did before.

  20. Their new logo design is ok, nothing special. But where is the rest of their brand, their website still looks like crap (excuse my language). That they have renewed their logo design is not going to change anything if they do not change their design for the website.

  21. lustandfury

    The bevel on this logo is painful. Spending two days on a redesign that was art directed by a CEO with some knowledge of Illustrator. Man I can’t believe they admitted to all this. The press they got was much more interesting than the final result. It’s hard to believe this kind of thing can happen at such a large company with so much to lose.

  22. First off: Nice to see your mention in CNN David! Glad for you!

    Second off: I don’t get it with this logo, I really don’t. Actually I don’t get anything of what Yahoo wants to be. For me it feels like a brand stuck in between to many choices and they just went with “do all of them” which led to a below average execution in everything.

    As the logo has been butchered all over the web as far as I’ve read, I’ll leave it and agree and go on to say they should really do something about their website, it’s cluttered and it feels like visiting the past.
    It feels like a mix between a newspaper and every other website on the internet they thought was cool.

    Some have said that ye they got us talking about Yahoo, but that will be gone again in a months time and if they continue to not clean up their brand assets, more will leave for better sources of everything.

  23. For a well known company (once) to play around with so many ideas is self destructing in my own opinion. This only happens when the company has lost a solid identity and a firm hold on their market. Sorry yahoo.

  24. Romuald

    I even prefer the logo as written in my comment :

    Yahoo ! (took me 3 seconds).

  25. wilsonality

    i love the song!

  26. Tim

    Almost looks like just tweaked optima. I wonder if they knew that the could have saved time by using that.

  27. Thanks very much, Bob, Martin.

    Regarding the typeface, here’s a post by Stephen Coles that shows the comparison with an unmodified Optima: Yahoo logo (2013).

    Jason, it’s great to know you get those stories from Logo Design Love. Good of you to take the time.

  28. Rich

    Try br.yahoo.com and ask yourself what ‘Bra’ must have done to ‘sil’ to make it walk off so far.

  29. I’m disappointed. Yahoo is a massive brand. I remember it used to be the search engine that I used on a daily basis. Now I feel as if Yahoo have been standing in the shadows of the other leading brands and has fallen short when given the chance to break out into the light.

    By being knocked off the top spot (in my world) by the likes of Google, as well as having their pride take a blow – Yahoo were given an opportunity to re-emerge. If they spent their time wisely by taking a step back and really revaluating their brand – they could’ve launched something spectacular, that would’ve taken the world by surprise.

    Instead we have a logo that looks nice… but it’s not enough. I’ll never forget the day I moved from Yahoo to Google. It was cool to think that Google was able to convince me to change one aspect of my lifestyle and have no regret. After this – I don’t see myself looking back at Yahoo anytime soon.

  30. brad webster

    It amazes me how their story of this went into so much detail about how the letters were built. When I first saw it, I thought- “Oh… Optima-ish”. Why design the letters to look so much like an already existing font? Also, it took us 12 months to effectively rebrand our current organization, longer to roll out. They gave up their weekend to “roll up her sleeves and get into the trenches”?? Whoa. Finally, the bevel?… bevel?… This brings to mind one of my personal design mantras. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

  31. Tony

    What a shame – the incumbent was much stronger; better balanced and with far more character.

    This one looks like it would be better suited to any generic home furnishings store in any mall across the globe. Sad to see the old one go. *Sniff*.

    The backing track is a little disturbing: “Loving every minute ‘cos you make me feel so alive”. It suggests to me an attempt to compensate for the disposability and lack of substance.

    An all-too-common bolstering device in branding over recent years – whenever a product begs me to love it, or to love life, or to love myself …. I sense desperation in a marketing department that’s run out of ideas.

  32. Vanessa

    This logo is the perfect example of groupthink gone wrong. Nauseating purple, 90s bevel and an attempt to be “hip” with the slant of the exclamation mark. It does not get anymore clusterf__ked than this.

  33. Carolina

    Well, what do I think of this article?
    If a company like Yahoo does not invest in re-branding, if they are OK with a logo created in 2 days, I definitely need to change my career.


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