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Been to the market lately?

Jan 2, 2009 1:24 PM

I don't know about you or where you live, but there a few product redesigns that are just awful, plain bad, and in my opinion a big step backwards: Tropicana and Pepsi. Both had strong market share identities, bold graphics and strong typography. Does anyone know the thinking behind these? I mean, the text is weak and the color is muted in both cases. And that Pepsi icon! What the bleep?
 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2009 8:45 AM   in reply to John Danek
    John,

    Not just packaging, but corporate America logos. I still cringe every time I see the poorly executed, apple peel AT&T logo which looks like the second-place winner of a high school art class project. And wimpy "friendly" redrawing of the classic solid Kodak logo. And the...

    Neil
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 9:10 AM   in reply to John Danek
    I think the redesign has more to do with looking better online than for print. Logos in general are becoming like unibody cars. Very similar in look and feel. It's like every logo has to be some variation of the swash and/or circle look that's so prevalent now.
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 10:00 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Richard,

    It's indicative of lazy design from lazy or incompetent designers and clueless or cheap clients. You get what you pay for.

    It's just a lot easier to put over that kind of kneejerk design in the computer age with all its easily accessible resources than it was with layout pads and Magic Markers. And some so-called designers haven't a clue how anything prints to paper.

    And vapid or not, it sure looks pretty on screen!

    That said, there is still good stuff out there. Check out any issue of "Print" and "Communication Arts".

    Neil
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 4:28 PM   in reply to Neil_Keller
    Curious what you think of the new Visa logo?
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 10:15 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Ariel,<br /><br />It's another mindless "swoosh" effect with results in a mark that is less distinctive and harder to pick out of the crowd than the old blue VISA between the blue and orange bars.<br /><br />Hey, they didn't consult me or offer me $250,000 to work on the project, so, their loss.  <lol><br /><br />Neil
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 10:27 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Ariel,<br /><br />It's another mindless "swoosh" effect with results in a mark that is less distinctive and harder to pick out of the crowd than the old blue VISA between the blue and orange bars. Maybe it's a bit dated -- but then, it is instantly recognized. Why the change in this direction?<br /><br />But then, hey, they didn't consult me or offer me $250,000 to work on the project, so, their loss.  <lol><br /><br />Another mistake? The new Pepsi mark. What IS that, anyway? For generations, folks knew and trusted a particular design, and associated it with that carbonated beverage. May as well be the mark for a new airline. Or Lionel trains. Or Delta faucets. Or...<br /><br />Coca Cola seems to have been pretty happy with its 100-year-old mark. At least they haven't strayed far from that concept.<br /><br />And the relatively recent evolution of the AT&T mark to some disjointed globe is kiddie stuff, poorly executed. The operative here is "executed".<br /><br />Neil
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 10:29 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Ariel,<br /><br />It's another mindless "swoosh" effect with results in a mark that is less distinctive and harder to pick out of the crowd than the old blue VISA between the blue and orange bars. Maybe it was a bit dated -- but then, it is always instantly recognized. Why the change in direction?<br /><br />But then, hey, they didn't consult me or offer me $250,000 to work on the project, so, their loss.  <lol><br /><br />Another mistake? The new Pepsi mark. What IS that, anyway? For generations, folks knew and trusted a particular design, and associated it with that carbonated beverage. May as well be the mark for a new airline. Or Lionel trains. Or Delta faucets. Or...<br /><br />Coca Cola seems to have been pretty happy with its 100-year-old mark. At least they haven't strayed far from that concept.<br /><br />And the relatively recent evolution of the AT&T mark to some disjointed globe is kiddie stuff, poorly executed. The operative here is "executed".<br /><br />Change just for the sake of change makes zero sense.<br /><br />Neil
     
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    Jan 3, 2009 10:34 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Just took a look at the new Pepsi packaging. And the new Tropicana juice packaging.

    "Sterile and unimaginative, uninviting design" would be an understatement.

    Neil
     
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    Jan 4, 2009 9:48 AM   in reply to John Danek
    I purchased some Tropicana yesterday and was looking at the container and wondering what the objective was. To water down the brand recognition as thoroughly as possible is the only thing that comes to mind. I'm sure they tested this but it's a dog.

    I was working for NY Telephone when they changed over to NYNEX. One of the ugliest logos ever. I can still remember my manager saying excitedly, "X stands for the unknown." If I remember correctly, it cost $115,000 or $215,000 for the new logo.

    Remember the uproar when the London 2012 logo first came out? Seems to have died out. It'll revive in another 2 years as promos start to come out.
     
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    Jan 4, 2009 2:50 PM   in reply to John Danek
    "Misguided" is the only polite word that comes to mind, re: NYNEX and London '12.

    Neil
     
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    Jan 5, 2009 7:47 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Speaking of Mt. Dew... I'll take the old hillbilly dew can logo design from the early '80s any day over the new one. I saw it at the local supermarket tonight as a matter of fact. It looked terrible.
     
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    Jan 5, 2009 7:50 PM   in reply to John Danek
    I loved the mesh back trucker caps that had the old Dew logo on them.
     
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    Jan 7, 2009 6:07 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Seems appropriate to mention the new Xerox logo in here. =)
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 5:35 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Great question, awesome answers. Even I can spot the uglies, haha. The Pepsi logo is the worst offender in my book, and I have been saying this for the last 15 years. However the new one is even worse. I'm glad to see others think so too.

    I guess we have a slightly different problem of product design in Japan. We are dealing with 2 different alphabets, 1 set of kanji characters, numbers, and roman letters. It all tends to get jumbled together, I call it "visual pollution". A trip to my fridge revealed 8 different fonts on the front of the orange juice carton alone. It's a real hot mess! Of course this is not limited to just product design.
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 7:42 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Ah, yes...the new Xerox mark; the one with the red beach ball tied up with Band Aids. I actually prefer the 1961 iteration with XEROX in blue and the descenders of X and R dipping slightly below the baseline. Again, they didn't consult me....    <g><br /><br />While the previous red iteration of the logotype is a bit dated, the new, oh so 2009, soft typography and 3-D element could just as easily read "Playskool".<br /><br />And someone gets paid $$$ to design this?<br /><br />Reference attached.<br /><br />Neil
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 7:48 AM   in reply to John Danek
    BTW, my wife, who is not a designer, picked up a couple of the new Tropicana orange juice and grapefruit juice containers yesterday, came home and asked me, "Have you seen how ugly these are?"

    Looking at them next to a couple of Florida's Natural containers in the fridge, I concurred. Not that Florida's Natural are the best designed juice containers, but at least they look inviting and like...fruit juice!

    Neil
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 7:55 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Let's turn this around...

    Has anyone noticed any really good new corporate redesign? (From a major corporation.)

    Neil
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 8:16 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Wonder Bread has a new logo. Just enough to freshen it up without losing original identity.

    Here's a review of some recent makeovers featured in Dynamic Graphics: Death of a Logo
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 7:04 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Sorry, I thought we were talking about bad product design in general... my comment was a little off-topic.

    I like the Adidas logo. When I was a kid, it had three leaves. Now it has a triangular shape, and reminds one of the tread of a sneaker.
     
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    Jan 9, 2009 9:56 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Heather,

    Yes, the topic is bad design. But it helps put it all in perspective if we can also point to some good stuff. Richard's link is very good reference as well.

    Neil
     
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    Jan 9, 2009 12:34 PM   in reply to John Danek
    John,
    >I thought these big dollar redesigns went through market testing, internal and external reviews, extensive approval processes and some effort to strengthen the brand was made.

    Right. And sometimes the pontificating that goes on behind those doors is little more than misguided, self-serving drivel, based upon who's personal agenda and ego wins out. Or it's a misinterpretation of accumulated focus group data -- or even the wrong demographic chosen and responding to the questions. Garbage in; garbage out.

    How many times have you catered to a client's whims only because he hands out the work and signs off on your invoices?

    Neil
     
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    Jan 9, 2009 12:38 PM   in reply to John Danek
    John,
    >I thought these big dollar redesigns went through market testing, internal and external reviews, extensive approval processes and some effort to strengthen the brand was made.

    Right. And sometimes the pontificating that goes on behind those doors is little more than misguided, self-serving drivel. The most vocal personal agenda, bluster and ego wins out (or gets fired). Or it's a problem of bad taste or no taste. Or it's a misinterpretation of accumulated focus group data -- or even the wrong demographic chosen and responding to the questions. Garbage in; garbage out. How do you think the Edsel ever made it from the drawing board into dealer showrooms in the late '50s?

    How many times have you catered to a client's whims only because he hands out the work and signs off on your invoices?

    Neil
     
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    Jan 10, 2009 5:18 AM   in reply to John Danek
    And when a logo/brand/campaign fails, the marketing agency can say, "but the testing showed it would work". No one goes with their gut instinct these days.

    The revised UPS logo was good. Freshened up a dated brand just enough.

    I was in CVS last week and the KY lubricants which used to be in plain white tubes are now in new sleek blue/red (his and hers) tubes and branded as personal lubricants which are now advertised on TV! Used to be one of those things (like condoms) that you hope no one on line notices you holding.
     
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    Jan 10, 2009 8:41 AM   in reply to John Danek
    The KY redesign and TV commercials are good targeted marketing, and make it "cool" to discuss sex in a more open way, without guilt or shame.

    The current UPS shield is probably the best mark they've used as far as high recognition is concerned. But, it says little about UPS being a package delivery service.

    Neil
     
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    Jan 10, 2009 8:41 AM   in reply to John Danek
    The KY redesign and TV commercials are good targeted marketing, and make it "cool" to discuss sex in a more open way, without guilt or shame.

    The current UPS shield is probably the best mark they've used as far as modern high recognition is concerned. But, it says little about UPS being a package delivery service.

    Neil
     
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    Jan 10, 2009 1:27 PM   in reply to John Danek
    UPS, like Xerox and IBM, has a mark that doesn't need to explicitly state what they do since everyone knows. And what logo does anyway? Just looks a little fresher.
     
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    Jan 11, 2009 8:18 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Richard,
    >And what logo does anyway?

    It seems that particularly with the larger, better known companies, they can have marks that just have a general feel for a company persona. Apple Computer and other large technology companies also fall into this category.

    On the other hand, smaller companies and services are more likely to create marks that to some degree acknowledge specifically what they do.

    Then there are companies whose clueless marks are pure decoration with arbitrary elements that look like they were pulled out of boxes of miscellaneous parts.

    Neil
     
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    Jan 11, 2009 8:57 AM   in reply to John Danek
    >they can have marks that just have a general feel for a company persona

    Doesn't UPS have a secondary mark with a jet circling a globe? I remember seeing that on a trucks for a while.

    Here it is: UPS Truck
     
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    Jan 12, 2009 5:58 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Not sure if that is a trademark, logo, or just an illustration. To keep out of the latter category, the same image would have to be used in other locations, besides the trucks (advertising, stationery, etc.).
     
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    Mar 2, 2009 3:41 AM   in reply to John Danek
    Here in GB a few years ago, someone thought it was a good idea to change not only the logo, but also the name of Royal Mail to Consignia. Now I'm no royalist, and the Royal Mail has its share of problems. However, the Royal mail still has a generally favourable - ish image and remains a strong British brand.

    Not suprisingly, most thought it was a waste of cash. As Richard said, it was a variation of the circular swoosh design. Private Eye, a satirical British magazine made fun of this and for several weeks produced several examples of similar lazy designs.

    See below for comments and how they came up with the name:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2002480.stm

    Also the logo itself:

    http://www.brandchannel.com/features_profile.asp?pr_id=76

    Not suprisingly, the name Consignia was consigned to the dustbin and the old Royal Mil name and Logo made a quick comeback!

    Ian
     
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    Mar 2, 2009 4:18 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Ian,

    Thanks for sharing. The name is laughable -- not even suggesting what the service is, and it easily opens the door to mispronunciation. As for the mark itself? Looks more suited for a bottle of laundry detergent or toilet cleaner.

    Neil
     
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    Mar 2, 2009 4:50 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Ian,

    Thanks for sharing. The name is laughable -- not even suggesting what the service is, and it easily opens the door to mispronunciation.

    As for the mark itself? Looks more suited for a bottle of laundry detergent or toilet cleaner.

    ...and all the crescent moons might even suggest some mystical cult. (That said, take a look at the old symbol for Colgate-Palmolive, popularly -- and incorrectly -- criticized as satanic.) Take a look at my attachment...

    Neil
     
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    Mar 5, 2009 10:51 AM   in reply to John Danek
    I didn't read the whole thread so forgive me if this one was already mentioned but I saw pepsi mention, what about Sierra Mist?! Eww, it looks like something from a horror movie! I saw that at the market and was really confused!
     
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    Mar 5, 2009 11:40 AM   in reply to John Danek
    The problem with much marketing is that proper research is often lacking. For example, a number of years ago, General Motors decided that the intermediate size Chevy Nova would be a good car for the Latin American market. Right size for the roads; right price for the demographics; right look, etc. Lots of money spent here before GM's commitment to sell that car to a largely Spanish-speaking population.

    But sales were not so hot -- and this was years before the current economic crisis. It was only then that they realized (or were told) that in Spanish, "Nova" means, "It doesn't go."

    Neil
     
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    Mar 5, 2009 11:44 AM   in reply to John Danek
    The good news for Tropicana packaging is that public outcry won. With tail between their legs, Pepsico is reverting to the old, tried and true Tropicana orange juice featuring the classic half-orange with a straw coming out of it. It is the picture of "fresh" orange juice.

    Neil
     
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    Mar 5, 2009 12:37 PM   in reply to Neil_Keller
    I must be fried:

    I read "reverting to the old, tired and true"

    ...Mike
     
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    Mar 5, 2009 4:25 PM   in reply to John Danek
    Mike,

    I like your version better.

    Neil
     
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