Ya-who cares? Barely changed logo obscures company's radical transformation

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has achieved dramatic results since signing on to overhaul the stumbling Internet giant last year. A new look, new products, and a new focus on mobile have catapulted Yahoo back to the top—at least for now. But the company’s new logo doesn’t reflect those changes at all.

After 30 days of posting various logos in different fonts—all in the same shade of purple—to trumpet the big reveal, Yahoo on Thursday showed off its new look. But it’s kind of the same as the old look. Same purple. Same exclamation point. It’s a little more sophisticated, but that’s to be expected: The old logo is 18 years old. Pretty sure my look has gotten a little better since 1995, too. (I hope.)

A month-long build-up to Yahoo’s logo unveiling created a good deal of anticipation for a result that turned out to be pretty anticlimactic.

Yahoo's old logo. Looks pretty similar to its new logo.

What’s the point?

Marissa Mayer in a Thursday Tumblr post said the Yahoo team set out to redesign the logo because “it was time for a change.”

“We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo—whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud.”

It took five people two days to come up with the new look, which is a surprisingly low-key effort given Mayer’s well-documented attention to detail and her careful, thorough evaluation of even the slightest change.

Or maybe the new logo does reflect Mayer’s cautious nature, given that it’s not the grandiose statement a transformed company should make. Her blog post explains the mathematical precision that went into creating the “whimsical” new logo, but there’s no whimsy involved at all.

“Our last move was to tilt the exclamation point by 9 degrees, just to add a bit of whimsy,” Mayer wrote.

Nine degrees? Does that sound whimsical to you?

After a month of hype, Yahoo’s new logo should have been bold. Fresh. Completely different. Yahoo is a new company under a new CEO with a new vision. Forget whimsy. Whatever happened to being dramatic?

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