Yahoo, the historic web portal and former search leader, unveils its new logo and announces a new identity but keeps the exclamation mark.
This new logo seeks to give a new start to the company facing long difficulties. Designed by Pentagram, the design agency behind Citibank‘s bold designs, New York’s OMNY system and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.
Yahoo, the first portal dedicated to news, weather, sports and everything else had an undeniable brand: it conveyed the idiosyncratic and optimistic promise of those early days of the Web, with a hand-drawn and reinforced logo that seemed to laugh like a child in his father’s old zoot suit, found buried in a closet.
Yahoo’s new logo marks the first redesign of the company since its major overhaul under the leadership of Marissa Mayer who launched “30 Logos in 30 Days“, where Yahoo displays a different logo on its website for a full month in 2013.
Remember that Yahoo first updated its old logo in 2009, flattening it and turning purple (remember? Yahoo was in red).
After a decade of loss of relevance, Yahoo tried to reinvent itself in the early 2010’s by appointing a new CEO, buying companies such as Tumblr and Flickr, and beating Apple and Disney with original streaming TV programming. But the changes made by Mayer did not save the company. Tumblr and Flickr now have new owners, television and news initiatives have collapsed and Yahoo itself has been sold to Verizon. It is hardly a nod to himself, more remarkable by the sales and scandals surrounding his products than by any real impact on the world of technology.
With the new logo, Yahoo also announced an updated version of its flagship Yahoo Mail application, which the company probably hopes customers have forgotten saw all 3 billion of its users hacked in 2013. The new Yahoo mail includes dedicated tabs for attachments, local shopping offers and one-click unsubscription, as well as a design with the new logo.
The new logo of Verizon’s new property, which acquired Yahoo in 2016, retains the purple and exclamation mark, but leaves aside the traces of the company’s many previous brands.
Pentagram claims that the brand’s ‘!‘ is on an inclination of 22.5 degrees compared to the rest of the design, suggesting “a sense of dynamism and excitement”.
For the design team, the brand change process consisted in identifying the strongest characteristics of the old Yahoo brand to preserve. One of the first lessons learned was that the name “Yahoo” actually had a strong brand presence.
Pentagram has chosen a more lively font, Centra No. 2 extra bold, which gives the double-O of “Yahoo” a sympathetic anthropomorphic and borderline character.
“As with the original logo, the new identity captures the voice of a brand that bears the name of an exclamation of joy and discovery, and always seems to have to be shouted or flouted at – “yahoOOOOOoooooo!”, explains Pentagram, who designed the logo. The new design also “signals a strategic change for the company as it prepares to introduce other products and services in the coming year”.
Pentagram, which has done similar work for brands such as Slack, Expedia and Rolls Royce, says the new logo coincides (in large part) with the launch of Yahoo’s new Mail application. The agency started working on the logo last March with Yahoo’s creative team. “It probably took two months to get something that looks like the final logo,” Michael Bierut, partner and owner of Pentagram, told Ad Age. “We then spent the summer perfecting the software and ensuring that it was performing well on all of the company’s platforms.
Yahoo is trying to refresh itself to face reality because it is 2019 and the competitors are not only not disappearing, but their platforms are getting bigger and deeper. Yahoo is confronted with an existential moment and its answer is to plant a new flag.
Yahoo was once the main player in research, but today it is the third largest player in the sector. The company holds about 3% of the market, behind the No. 2 Bing (5%) and Google (88%), according to Statista, a company owned by Amazon.
Yahoo has been trying to find its position since it was overtaken by Google in the last century. Another change of Logo certainly signals real changes in the future. What do you think about this?