Survata Tests Yahoo’s 30 Logos

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This is the kind of nonsense that results from fundamentally misunderstanding what a logo is. As has been widely reported (and lamented by designers), Yahoo engaged in a bit of stunt identity design over the past month or so, fielding thirty re-imaginings of the company’s logo, one per day, You can see the first twenty-nine on this page, and when it loads in your browser, don’t feel bad if you think for a moment that you’ve stumbled across one of those sites that promises you hundreds of fonts for free — most of these logos are half-hearted at best.

To Yahoo’s credit, they did not put the logos forward as candidates, i.e., they refrained from asking the Internet to vote on them. That didn’t stop market research startup Survata from doing just that, though.

“We were curious about which logo consumers preferred as the best fit for the Internet giant, so we used the Survata logo testing tool to find out. We asked 12,725 respondents to pick their favorite of five logo variants (randomly selected from the 28 variants released prior to publication).”

Just skimming the results they’ve published on the Survata blog demonstrates the absurdity of both their own research and the fact that Yahoo put these logos out into the world. This “face-off chart” in particular has all the charm of pulling out a spreadsheet on a date.

A logo is really a visual manifestation of all the complex ideas, values and people that fuel a company — crunched and munged and somehow blacksmithed together to look simple and understandable. It does nothing for one’s confidence in the Yahoo brand to see that the company cares so little for its public image that it would be willing to float thirty random, meaningless expressions of itself out there, expressions that have clearly not been through the real process of logo development. It just looks like Yahoo doesn’t take this seriously.

Imagine that I threw four wheels and a mess of auto parts together, with no regard to how they actually function or work as a single machine, and said, “What do you think of this car?” Actually it’s as if I did that thirty times. And then someone came along and asked 12,000 people to vote on their favorite pile of wheels and auto parts. What good could come of that?

Feast on Yahoo’s thirty or so logos here, and read the Survata report here. Also, if you’re a company in the market for a new logo, please don’t follow these examples.

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10 Comments

  1. I think it is unfair to suggest this means Yahoo doesn’t take their logo seriously. Doing fun random hacks with the logo (perhaps representing contributions from individuals inside Yahoo) seems like a perfectly reasonable publicity stunt, and really not that unlike what Google does with their logo (and they are far from the first to do random encodings of logos in various places).

    Similarly, Survata’s survey is just showing what they can do. I don’t think it was intended as anything other than an amusement, rather than a serious business case of “how you might use our tool to choose a logo”.

    Designing a brand logo is obviously seriously involved work. Doing fun riffs on a brand logo is not. Why confuse the two.

  2. I experience this at least 4 times a day – the number of times I delete an email gracing me with the opportunity to work on the greatest social network meets daily boring activity the world has ever seen, from an “idea guy” who will surely be the next Zuckerburg (but not on Thursday, he had soccer practice on Thursday) – for equity in this truly once in a lifetime opportunity.

  3. When is the last time you talked about Yahoo!? That’s why they did it.

    I don’t think “Yahoo!” and “serious” belong in the same sentence. They seem to be more quirky and whimsical which is what an idea like the 30 days of reject logos is.

  4. Ms. Mayer indicated in a blog post that they had already designed and selected the logo before the 30 day logo publicity tour:

    Link

    At the end of the day, the new logo doesn’t seem to be a significant enough improvement to warrant 30 days of publicity.

  5. Agree completely with you, Khoi. Most of them look amateurish and silly. All this does is create confusion for most people. The new REAL logo is a let-down too, for sure. I heard of Yahoo’s publicity stunt, but never once checked in on it, so it didn’t work on me.

    What baffles me so is that their Apple Design Award-winning weather app for iPhone is an excellent example of great design, and then they pull this kind of stuff.

  6. Milquetoast execution. As Christopher mentioned, Google does logo variations. The difference? They do them well. Putting aside the merits of the 30 days of logos PR move, was it well executed? Not in my opinion. New CEO trying to reposition a company with with a reputation for buying up promising small companies and squandering their potential decides to be whimsical and this is the result? Clearly, Tumblr is in good hands.

  7. Was this written before the new logo was unveiled?

    Because having seen the logo Yahoo settled upon the process of releasing twenty nine “half-hearted” pretend ones was clearly a portent of how seriously it took the whole process, and is the least of its problems.

  8. Yahoo opted for tacky useless and non-classy. Since when do you use bamboo type letters (which remind everyone of some silly tiki bar) and distort their shape and kerning like that!?!?