No logo?

[Note – the original idea for this was to include pictures of the logos mentioned but I decided this was probably not legal and so removed them and just did my own “representations”, in the hope that that’s allowed. Look them up on an image search if you want the real thing!]

“Maaaarketing…” said an alien on Radio 4’s “The Now Show” some time last year…he was amused by the fact that humans bottled water and sold it at extortionate cost to one another.

“Yes, this is amusing. Marketing – hahahaha”.

Which pretty much sums up my understanding of the topic.

The issue of “corporate re-blanding” has been bothering me for a while. A certain company quite close to my heart has recently scrapped its well-known logo and put in its place the name of the company, written in a bold, sans serif font, in a variety of colours…which is exactly what a similar company had done a couple of years beforehand.

But why? Why scrap an image that’s recognised around the world and replace it with the same thing that everyone else is doing?

Some examples.

Welcome Break – you’ve all stopped on the motorway services and experienced the wonders of their toilets. They used to have a nice old fashioned picture of a swan coming in to land above their name.

I never quite got the swan thing. Presumably swans like a gigantic fried breakfast halfway through their migration or something (do swans migrate?), but it was recognisable and kinda homely…welcoming. So what’s with the new “logo”, which basically looks like this…



Marks and Spencer: Wow – I realise that I’ve not seen the name in full for a while now. Yes, they’re doing it on the high street too! The old, angular logo was just a name and a magic little ampersand, presented on two lines in a nice shade of green. But it was a well-recognised name.

However, M&S have actually changed a lot. They used to be seen as a stuffy old supermarket that only sold its own brand food to old people, but for many that view has changed. Their new logo is modern and reflects that change but I’m still left wondering if they could have come up with something more unique than their initials in a curvy black and greeny-yellow…this is not just any logo, it’s a smooth, sophisticated, trips-off-your tongue logo…my cheap imitation is simply something like:


The Co-op. Possibly another story of a stuffy old shop modernising – the old logo’s loopy, lowercase, blue letters laid out in a square formation, firmly reminding me of shopping with my granny. Like M&S I like what the Co-operative are doing but surely they’re just jumping on a bandwagon with the new look…which isn’t far off something like…

The co-operative

Even charities are at it…internation Christian development agency, Tearfund, had their name in two fonts – with and without serifs, two colours – deep green and clean white, two weights – normal and bold, with a nice dandelion head in an orange box next to it. But even charities modernise and we now have nothing more than…


(I should point out that the “t” should be cross-shaped with no curly bottom. This is probably important, but I don’t have a standard font that looks like that!)

It’s a silly thing to have a rant about but what bugs me is that all the skill and creativity seems to have gone from marketing. Let’s just take a company name, optionally abbreviate it in some way, pick a modern typeface, and choose a couple of colours. Anyone could do it? Couldn’t they?
If I had the time I could write a computer program to randomly re-brand company names in this way. And people get paid a fortune to do it?

So…to any marketing people out there…what’s stopping me?

Alien 1: Here, buy this
Alien 2: I already have this
Alien 1: “Marketing”
Alien 2: Okay then, I’ll buy it
Alien 1: I have laughed so hard I have accidentally passed what passes for alien wee-wee
Alien 2: Put it in a bottle, you could sell it to the humans
Both: hahahahaha