Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

New Logo for Yahoo Designed In-House

Armin Vit, Brand New:

So, the stunt was mostly just a stunt but it worked in creating expectation and giving Yahoo some momentum into launching its logo. The problem is: the result did not deliver. Showing mildly venturesome graphic approaches throughout the 29 days gave me hope that there would be something radically cool at the end of the process. There wasn’t.

I really liked the thirty-days stunt; there were some interesting and clever logos presented during the past month. But this result is weak. Some of the justification simply doesn’t make sense. Take Marissa Mayer’s blog post:

We didn’t want to have any straight lines in the logo. Straight lines don’t exist in the human form and are extremely rare in nature, so the human touch in the logo is that all the lines and forms all have at least a slight curve.

Yet:

We wanted there to be a mathematical consistency to the logo, really pulling it together into one coherent mark.

Natural and mathematical. No straight lines, but consistency abound. Every line has a slight curve, though. Or consider the explanation video, complete with an underlying grid for each letter.

The problem is that all of this is bullshit. The logo is set in a barely-modified version of Optima. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, by the way; Aston Martin’s logo uses Optima. But for a company named “Yahoo”,1 you’d think there would be a sense of fun and excitement to the logo, and Optima doesn’t really convey that. Indeed, there are two other famous places where that typeface is used: on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the September 11 Memorial. Rotating the exclamation mark precisely 9° doesn’t exactly restore any fun.

Furthermore, while Optima looks great and kinda quirky in large sizes, all of that detailing is lost when it’s rendered at the typical size visitors to Yahoo will see it.

The new Yahoo logo is better than the old one, though. I like the faux bevelling on the white-on-purple treatment (it’s less successful with the purple text). But the lead-up of teaser logos was so promising as to render this decidedly underwhelming.

Update In an article in Advertising Age, a Yahoo spokesperson claimed that this is a proprietary font:

The new typeface is one unique to Yahoo. “We always knew that we wanted to develop our own proprietary font, and that this would be intellectual property that would come from Yahoo, from our design team,” Ms. Savitt said. And so they did (though Yahoo’s new font doesn’t yet have its own name).

Bullshit. It’s Optima, and any attempt to state otherwise is dishonest.


  1. Or, really, “Yahoo!”, but I break out in a cold sweat when I type that exclamation point. ↩︎