As a little kid, my favorite restaurant was Wendy’s. It was the Wendy's logo that marked the beginning of my journey into graphic design. The 1983 original design was simple, but this. All changed in 2013 when an updated logo was released.
The new Wendy’s mascot looks friendlier. The word “mom” is written on the collar, suggesting that the food is delicious and homemade. Many speculated that this was related to the founder, Dave Thomas. This made me curious and led me to dive deeper into the world of logos.
|[Photo of the previous Wendy's logo (2007-2013). https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14054298857]|
|[Photo of Wendy’s building and new logo.
With newfound interest in and after taking graphic design class in tenth grade, I began paying more attention to the logos all around me. In graphic design at Pine-Richland High School, I have learned more graphic techniques such as strategic use of line, space, color, and shape. While learning how to create my own logos, I have come to realize that it is essential for a designer to always be critical, in order to understand how to make great logos and redesigns (updated logos). Jungyu Song, a professor of Art Design at Sangmyung University, states that a logo “refers to a combination of letters and images designed to be used as a trademark by designing the name of a company, product, or service to reveal its characteristics” (interview with Jungyu Song, Aug. 7, 2020). Simply put, a logo is a representation of the characteristics of the given entity.
|[Photo of Joshua Yoon interviewing Professor Jungyu Song.
Photo courtesy of Joshua Yoon]
My first logo assignment for Pine-Richland was comparing effective and ineffective logos. Armed with a broader knowledge of the principles and elements of art, I began to redesign existing logos with my unique spin. However, when redesigning logos, we have to consider the original logo and its effect on the product or brand’s original consumers. This meant keeping my redesign consistent with the current one to avoid confusing—or even upsetting—older fans. Ari Song, a South Korean logo designer (who is also a relative!), offered me similar advice: “Usually when brands redesign their logo or corporate identity, they are striving to get rid of the outdated look and appeal to the audience again with new trendy designs. This could be achieved by changing the whole thing and creating a whole new look but the brand may lose its original audience because of the drastic change.”
The more I study logos, I develop more of my own opinions as a graphic designer. My biggest criticism of many logos is that they are too simple. I understand why logos cannot be too complicated and also that too much simplicity makes them look dull, lacking creativity. Logos are akin to a company's identity. As Kris Decker writes in her blog, “A good logo should dare to be different.” I see this boldness with Ari, whose logo containing her Korean name in a stylized font is simple enough to fit on all her products yet different enough to be easily recognized.
|[Photo of the logo for Studio Ari. Photo courtesy of Ari Song]|
There exists a fine line between just simple enough and too simple, as can be seen in the Facebook and Skype logos. Both have a single white letter on a solid background that seems to lack a clear message to the audience.
Based on this exciting criticism, I redesigned the overly simple Snapple logo to make it clear that the drink got its name from the “snapping” sound made when opening a bottle. My redesigns of Netflix and Facebook logos are also meant to clarify the brands’ messaging and make them more unique without changing them so much that consumers no longer recognize them.
For Netflix, I simply added highlights of white and black, to make the red lines that make them look like film and then added red zig-zagged lines to represent the Internet. I made these stylized choices so that people can understand the services that Netflix provides a streaming Internet service that shares films for ordinary consumers.
|[A revised Netflix logo created by JoshuaYoon. Photo courtesy of Joshua Yoon]|
I never understood why the company of Facebook was just a regular white “F” with a blue background. It was too simple and dull for my tastes, which made me want to redesign the logo entirely. I first changed the background into the shape of a bluebook. Then I painted a white “f”, in order for people to recognize the original design, and finally added a smiley face to visualize the combination of “face + book.”
|[The revised Facebook logo created by Joshua Yoon. Photo courtesy of Joshua Yoon]|
The Snapple logo has gone through many phases. Some of its logos just have the brand’s name, while others have an image of the sun, which to me makes no sense. These factors, as with Facebook, prompted me to change the whole design. I first drew a finger about to snap and colored it dark blue. I then added an apple between the fingers and little yellow rays to represent the original sun design. I finally added the word “snapple” inside the image in the blue of the original logo. I hope all of these changes makes it easier for viewers to understand the meaning of the word “Snapple.”
|[The revised Snapple logo created by Joshua Yoon. Photo courtesy of Joshua Yoon]|
Designing logos allows me to express myself in a unique way. As an art student, I have learned the importance of embracing my ideas and accepting criticism, both in my logos and in other areas of my life. The next time you sit down inside a fast-food restaurant, I hope this article encourages you to think more about the brand’s logo and whether it effectively represents the brand’s image and services.
Pine-Richland High School
Joshua Yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
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