The New Yahoo Logo: I Could've Done That!

The New Yahoo Logo: I Could’ve Done That!

Personally, I like the new Yahoo! logo. I think it’s a nice generational update to a brand that needs it badly. While it is most certainly simple, it is sophisticated and, I would even say, somewhat elegant. I like the purple color and the faceted effect, and the concave edges. My only real negative comment would be that most of that subtly gets lost at smaller sizes.

But that’s not the subject of this post. As graphic designers we are natural critics, always looking at other work to see what we would have done differently. We’re used to the critique. If you went to a design school worth its salt, you probably got hammered by your instructors and professors on a daily basis. And now as professionals, we must defend our work to our clients regularly. After all, it is their decision, not ours, on what direction they want to take their visual elements. That’s not to say we should back down at let the client take the lead – on the contrary. But in the end, the client rules.

What bothers me though, is that many designers in our industry seem to sell what we do short, and don’t even realize they’re doing it. The new Yahoo! logo is a perfect example. In designer circles, most will take one look at the logo and say “Oh gawd! They just paid a billion dollars for Optima? I could have designed something really cool for a fraction of the cost!” In reality, yes, most of, if not all qualified graphic designers could have designed the new Yahoo! logo. Essentially, it appears, the designers in this case used the font “Optima” with some subtle changes to create the new logo.


Yahoo Logo Optima


See what I mean? Pretty similar.

But again, this is not the point. While many designers are very critical of this solution, they know full well that the creators of this logo may have gone through dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe even thousands of iterations to reach this conclusion, and may have spent countless hours justifying and defending their other designs. Let’s not forget, the decision to use this new design ultimately lies with Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer, and not the designer who created it.

The real point here is, as designers we struggle to sell what we do as important. It can be hard, frustrating yet rewarding work. Every day we encounter people that see great value in the graphic arts, and many others that see little. Many look at design as a commodity, and go with the cheapest, safest solution. Why not? There are a lot of us out there, and always someone claiming to be a designer who can do it cheaper. We do our best to educate clients with the knowledge that good design is good for business, because it is.

Why then are people in my industry so critical of their own, when they are intimately aware of the amount of work and time and effort it requires, even on simple solutions like the Yahoo! logo, when in the end they might not even have a choice?