Yahoo’s 30 days of dull

If the main aim of Yahoo’s 30 logos in 30 days project was simply to draw attention to its new identity then it certainly achieved its aim.

CNN, Business Insider, USA Today and the Metro are among the multitude of national titles reporting on the logo tweak, and to judge by the number of emails I’ve received about the subject – as well as the comments on DW’s Twitter feed – the design industry has been talking about little else for the past few days.

Which is slightly baffling really, for two reasons. The first, and most obvious, is that this exercise is incredibly boring.

As Yahoo CMO Kathy Savitt made clear at the start of the process, this was never going to be a revolutionary identity update. Yahoo had committed to keeping its purple brand colour and exclamation mark (which they ‘whimsically’ describe as a ‘yodel’.)

So not only were we going to see 30 days’ worth of purple, be-yodelled logos with different kerning and the occasional foray into Wing-Dings-style quirkiness, but we knew the final result would be more of the same.

Yahoo's day 20 logo
Yahoo’s day 20 logo

And so it comes to pass, with a pretty conservative, purple (of course) identity, with added bevelling.

Yahoo's new logo
Yahoo’s new logo

Of course broadly speaking this is fine. No-one expected, or necessarily even wanted, a cutting-edge new Yahoo logo. And the attempt to engage the public in the craft of logo design is laudable, if hugely simplistic and more than a little misguided.

But the really confusing thing is why Yahoo poured so much PR effort into its logo tweak, while its far more important user experience update, launched last week, went barely noticed.

Most Yahoo users probably barely notice the purple emblem at the top of the page, they’re far more concerned with the visual web design, the user experience, the actual product – this is what the company is staking its future on.

In this context, the 30 logos project almost comes across as a distraction technique, drawing the user’s attention away while Yahoo road-tests its main platforms.

Either that, or Yahoo really thinks that its users really care about incremental changes to its logo – rather than the company’s product and the direction it is trying to take.

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