USA Today Redesigns Logo, Opens Can of Worms

Author: Nader Ashway
Published: October 04, 2012 at 10:26 am

Gannett recently announced that USA Today would be rolling out a new logo system (that I have mixed feelings about.)  As far as an identity system goes, this one is really simple, in that it has a very basic graphic structure, (a blue circle with black type, set in Futura caps,) and then changes color and sometimes adds icon treatments to meet the news it will identify. A big blue dot for news, a big green dot for money, red for sports and so on. The team that created it (Wolff Olins in New York) have also developed interesting methods to contextualize each section with icons that identify and categorize the story.  Such as a Capitol building protruding from the blue circle for political news, or a cruise ship in the aqua circle to identify certain travel news. See the spoof that Stephen Colbert did on this aspect.

But there’s a “but” here.  An intensive graphic redesign is cool, but the BRAND itself is still the same:  USA Today is still a daily national paper (with no Saturday/Sunday service,) written by the same people, delivered with the same editorial agenda.  So to be clear, USA Today has redesigned their logo and identity system.  Not their brand.




Some other logo redesigns for major brands have had met with mixed reviews.

 A Gap in Understanding
About two years ago, Gap saw a major backlash when it first introduced a new logo, and then, upon nearly unanimous derision, attempted to crowdsource a better one.  Neither idea worked, and so Gap simply reverted to its original (and largely accepted) blue box.  The entire process took less than two weeks.  As Jon C. Ogg pointed out on the 24/7 Wall St blog, “after looking at the new logo versus the old logo, there may be more noise than news here.  The old logo is not what brought buyers into the stores…the same can be said about the new logo.”  Excellent point. 

Here’s the similarity to the USA Today case study:  Gap jeans didn’t change.  (Although there were some press releases about “new designs,” but they launch new designs practically every season.)  Neither did the website.  Neither did the in-store experience. Neither did the cotton used to make the denim.  Just the logo.

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Article Author: Nader Ashway

Nader Ashway is Founding Partner and Creative Director of moddern marketing, a new york city integrated marketing agency founded on the principles of marketing science. Nader is a board member and the former president of the Business Marketing Association of NYC. …

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