derryX Rant: What’s in a logo?

In the past week or so, people have been up in arms about logo changes that a couple of companies have made. The first one that I learned about was Starbucks. They are  basically ditching the textual part of the logo as illustrated in the below image. 


The buzz is that Starbucks is “doing like McDonalds or Nike.” Aside from the fact that the new Starbucks logo is quite a bit more intricate than either the McDonalds or Nike logos, I see no issues with the change, specifically dropping the text. Especially since it’s almost 20 years since the last logo change. And let’s be honest, guys, it’s not much of a change. It’s the same exact siren with the color inverted, and text omitted. 

I was picking up my morning coffee (venti Starbucks Doubleshot with sugar free hazelnut syrup and skim milk) a few days ago, and I asked the barista, who is generally friendly with me, when they would be rolling out the new logo. Her response was, “I hate that thing; it’s so ugly.” I didn’t really know how to respond, so I asked what she meant, and all she could say was “it’s so green.” I didn’t want to get into a further argument, so I left it at that. But it’s important to note, online opinions are equally irrational. 

In another instance, Viacom cable network, Comedy Central, unveiled a new logo that is also getting some negative attention. In this case, the evolution of the logo is much more drastic, as depicted in the below series of images. 



Given the wide difference in changes to the logo that both companies have chosen to make, the real question is, at the end of the day, will this make any major difference for either company? As pointed out to me by Cassie on a recent trip to Starbucks, it’s not like the logo is on the sign at every location. And think about that…All of the locations in NYC will most likely be minimally impacted by the logo change because you generally see the words “STARBUCKS COFFEE” in bold letters and Helvetica font. It’s really only going to apply to cups, posters on the wall, or other merchandise. 

In the case of Comedy Central, the channel is staying in the same place on the dial. So if you are tuning in to Comedy Central, you probably already know you are. Even if you’re just flipping and find something on Comedy Central that interests you, looking at that new logo, you could probably reason out that it’s the channel, but, regardless, with TIVO or digital cable, you probably already know it’s Comedy Central anyway from the programming guide. 

I argue that both brands are well enough established that either logo change will not detrimentally affect future business. 

Related question: If you were going to design a logo for “derryX,” what would it have? Your ideas are going to help mold things toward a new future.


18 thoughts on “derryX Rant: What’s in a logo?

  • Anibal

    Its all about marketing and profit lines. Each company tries to stay relevant in the minds of the ever growing consumer base. The trick is to keep your loyal fans while making new loyal fans out of the new generation. In the case of starbucks, someone must have figured out the millions of dollars that will be saved in printing if they went with the simpler, one color design; which will not, however, translate into better pricing for the customer. If these simple, insignificant changes really bother you though, then I recommend going out into the world and opening your eyes. Children are being shot and killed because some nut-job wants to shoot a senator. Sorry to make such a serious point, let me finish by saying: “GO JETS!!”.

  • Sue

    I’ve seen/heard the buzz about the logo changes, but yours is the first post that bottom-lined the whole thing for me – so thanks.

    After reading your post and reviewing the logos’ evolution – I’ve determined I still don’t care.

    Looks to me like Starbucks was trying to keep themselves recognizable, while separating themselves from the notion that they are just a coffee shop?

    Not sure what Comedy Central might have been trying to do – but I agree, why does it matter? People look for them on their TV, not by logo.

  • Jeff

    Wow, that Comedy Central logo might be one of the worst logos I’ve ever seen. I mean, I don’t really care if they want to change it, but that breaks so many design rules it’s almost funny.

    • derryX

      It was almost a matter of time for that type of talk to come here!

      • Jeff

        What does that mean?

        • derryX

          Just complaints over the logo. I agree it’s a pretty drastic change, but what can you do?

          • Jeff

            Again, I don’t really care either way, I don’t even have cable so it affects me about 0%. That being said, one thing I love is seeing bad webpages and logos because it’s really not hard to make a nice logo, or at the very least, not a terrible one. Coming from someone who actually works in a field with designers who design logos (and having designed a few myself), I can at LEAST tell you that having one of the two words upside down and backwards is not good design. Also making me think of the Chicago Cubs when I see your logo is not a good thing.

            Keep in mind I have no idea what the internet is saying about it, these are just my impressions of it.

            • derryX

              Never mind that it looks like a copyright symbol with a bite taken out of it. hahaha

              So if you’re so good, get back to the point of my post and design me a logo…Something I can use to make some t-shirts or hats or something…

          • Jeff

            I never said I was good, I just stated that I’ve done it. This is more of an SuperAllostBros2 thing.

  • Daniel B.

    I’ve never understood the connection between coffee, Battlestar Galactica and mermaids.

  • Ashley

    And this is yet another reason I hate being a Graphic Designer…you get art directed to DEATH to put out a logo that isn’t really what you want it to be, and then the internet goes nuts. I feel bad for the person who did the new GAP logo because after all that BS, they probably don’t even want it on their resume because of all the controversy. But I guess that’s why I hear that saying so often, “everyone is an art director”.


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