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BLOG: What does Yahoo’s new logo tell us about its brand aspirations?

When Yahoo mail went down briefly last week I panicked. Yes, yes I’m sorry but I do still have a Yahoo email account and have done for years: it does the job I need it to do.

Besides which, where wouId I store all those vitally important ‘un-backed up’ personal attachments collected over the past decade?

It was not until I shared this with a millennial colleague that I was made aware of just how tragically ‘1990s’ this was (apparently there are few worse crimes).

Which I suppose illustrates the problem facing Yahoo and Marissa Mayer who joined the multinational web corporation as CEO a year ago.

Yahoo was widely seen as lagging other tech players such as Facebook, Google and Apple and Mayer’s brief was to overhaul Yahoo’s culture and products. Its websites were seeing diminishing visitors and its mobile apps were largely ignored. Could she stop the haemorrhage of talent and instil a much needed culture of innovation and dynamism?

Much has been written about some of Mayer’s decisions and Yahoo’s fortunes since and the new logo has been panned by many.

One of the less attractive aspects of the new marque, it has to be said, is the somewhat naff ‘bevelling’ effect created with contrasting shading. Why detract from its clean, modern lines in this way? According to Mayer this device, creates a ‘Y’ at the top of every letter. Nice idea, kitsch execution.

 However overall my impression of the logo is positive and I’d go as far as saying that it reflects Mayer’s vision for Yahoo.

  • It acknowledges Yahoo’s history

With its trademark purple, variously sized lettering and famous tilting exclamation market, it nods to the creativity and entrepreneurialism of the company’s early days.

  • At the same time,  it looks to the future

Whilst it’s still recognizably ‘Yahoo’, this new, clean, sans serif mark represents the steady, incremental change that Mayer wants to effect.

  • It conveys a more grown-up Yahoo

Many have argued that the new logo is a bit ‘meh’ – that there is not enough of a visual departure from what went before. It’s true that there is nothing too outlandish about the logo but I see this as a virtue. It’s less of a cartoon and conveys a more ‘grown-up’ organization and one that means business.

Mayer in her Tumblr has stated her objectives.  ‘‘We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo - whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud.’

In my view, she has mostly ticked those boxes.