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Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Target, Starbucks logos: Out with the words, in with the minimal design

By Melissa Bell

An old marketing belief is that a logo is of utmost importance to a company. Finding the right logo -- and sticking with it -- is a huge part of the branding process. Mess with a logo and your clients will be adrift in confusion: Did the company change hands? Why the need for a rebrand?

Marketing history is littered with logo switches gone bad. When KFC switched its logo to the abbreviation from Kentucky Fried Chicken, false rumors spread that the company no longer used actual chicken in their meals. When Gap tried to change its logo after 20 years, the Internet went into such an uproar that the company decided to stick with the old version. And, of course, the New Coke logo is seen as the definitive backpedaling experiment in bad branding moves. (Though, as the 24/7 Wall Street blog points out Coca-Cola and Gap both got a quick jolt to their stock prices thanks to the kerfuffle over the logo changes).

What does seem to work for a rebrand is a devolution, rather than a revolution. The new Starbucks logo parses out everything but its signature siren. While some folks derided the change, its mostly been met with a bemused acceptance by customers.

On Thursday night's television show "Million Dollar Money Drop," a question about the Target logo made the folks over at Styleite realize the company had dropped the words "Target" from the design leaving only the signature bull's eye. A logo changed at a major company and nary a whisper of notice was heard?

target logo

Both companies opted for the less-is-more approach and it seems to be working. In fact, the design consultancy group Antrepo has been creating a fascinating series of the "minimalist effect in a maximalist market." By simply subtracting extraneous elements, the group has put the emphasis on the design that matters most to a brand.

What's your take? Are you a fan of the less-is-more variety?

By Melissa Bell  | January 7, 2011; 11:25 AM ET
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“the New Coke logo is seen as the definitive backpedaling experiment in bad branding moves”

Actually, no. The problem with New Coke wasn’t the logo, it was the product. After more than a century, Coke responded to the “Pepsi Challenge” by fiddling with their recipe. It was a disaster. Coke backpedaled by offering up “Classic” Coke alongside “New” Coke. After a fashion, all was forgotten and “new” was disappeared and the “classic” was reinstated simply as Coca-cola. The logos were entirely irrelevant.

Posted by: mylesgaythwaite | January 7, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

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