Culmination of ebay’s 17 Year Evolution:
It has been 20 years since the Internet first truly came into its own and there have been many tech and brand coming and goings. Throughout it all, web 1.0 mainstay, ebay, has run the course and even throughout the advent of Web 2.0, has continued to evolve.
The quirky grass roots auction site has become a multi-billion dollar brand, and as with anyone who has had to step into bigger shoes, it has begun to recalculate its image. These calculations have now affected it’s well known jumble logo.
ebay has traded in the jumbled, overlapped logo for a slicker, cleaner corporate facade.
The original logo, a jumbled and overlapping compilation of their name “EBAY”, has been replaced with a cleaner version rendered in the Helvetica reminiscent font, “Univers Extended“.
Although the font itself is quite open, it has tight kern with the letters closely placed together. It retains the (slightly adjusted) multicoloured letters from its previous rendering.
Devin Wenig, ebay President had this to say about the change: “The eBay logo is known the world over, so changing it was not a decision made lightly… The time felt right. We’re incredibly proud of how eBay started and quickly grew into the world’s largest online marketplace. Auction-style listings, used goods, vintage items and quirky, one-of-a-kind finds are still a big part of what makes buying and selling on eBay special. We hope that’s always true. But we’ve evolved a lot in the past few years, and eBay is much more than auction-style listings today.”
Opinions vary on the logo, here is a sampling from Ebay’s Facebook page:
- Thumbs down…it looks like the Sears font.”
- “The old one is epic, why change :\”
- “Looks like Google bought you and changed your logo to be more like theirs.”
- “This is awesome! It shows that eBay is changing and ever growing. I’m sorry for everyone who has left ebay… It’s an amazing place and always changing. It sad people don’t know how to change to keep up with the current times.”
- “I love it!”
- “Really? Looks fake.”
- “It looks heartless. Like it was made in an office by some professional you paid.”
- “The old logo had a capitol “Y” at the end. The colors blend. The whole logo is off line. The old logo reflects the personality of eBay’s customers and the fact that eBay has personality. The new logo is so bland and vanilla. No personality at all. I guess that’s the way eBay wants to be perceived.”
DC’s new logo roll-out was also met with mixed reviews. The primary complaint was that it was simply too “corporate”.
One is left with the feeling that Ebay has indeed fit into into its now corporate shoes and this may actually be the problem.
In fact the comments being leveled at Ebay are all too similar to those DC Comics faced early in the year, when they rolled out their new logo. Many lifelong DC followers vented their frustration at the “corporate” look, as one writer stated: “My first thought on seeing it was “mid-sized office supply company.”
Ebay seems to be following in the shoes of many of it’s corporate partners. Not a month ago Microsoft released it’s new brand design, a simple, minimalistic combination of its traditional “Four Square Window” theme – now rendered into four boxes – and it’s name tightly lined up in font Segoe.
The new minimalist, clean lined look of Microsoft has some applauding and other appalled. Sagi Haviv, the mind behind the logos for the Library of Congress and the Armani Exchange feels that Microsoft has forsaken “distinction” in their pursuit of simplicity.
Regarding the new Microsoft logo renowned designer Sagi Haviv (Library of Congress & Armani Exchange) had this to say: “…they’re so big they’re in a position to do something great,” he says. “And this unfortunately is not something great. And it’s because it’s a bit too generic.”
Successful Minimalist Design is all about keeping it simple, yet maintaining a distinctive look. In Haviv’s opinion Microsoft went too far towards “simple”, missing the ball in retaining “distinction”.
“It needs to be unusual enough to persist in the mind. Those four squares — it’s very inert. It just sits there. It has no motion, no tension — it’s not dynamic in any way.” – Sagi Haviv
However one Designer does not a judgement make.
James Coulson, the designer behind the SyFy logos (in consulatation with Proud Creative) and American Music Awards logo, has a different take. He thinks Microsoft got it right:
“I think it’s really good… It’s a very logical progression. It’s more friendly.”
In Coulson’s opinion, the “new” Microsoft logo addresses many of the perceptions that exist in regards to the company’s rivalry with Apple
“For a long time I felt Microsoft is the evildoer and Apple could do no , but I actually think the tables are turning. I was blown away by the Windows Phone interface. Microsoft looks like it’s becoming the innovator…..“High technology should be invisible, its the information that matters. I think Microsoft is getting closer to this, and I think that’s what the new logo embodies.”
“Hey ebay! Did Google just buy you or something!?”
Getting back to Ebay, the opinions on design certainly vary. Are they simply following the current trend and being sucked down the same cliche corporate downspout as DC and Microsoft? Or are these companies truly being successful in their re-branding?
One must surmise that businesses as successful as ebay, Microsoft and DC have some brilliant minds fueling them, yet many large corporations have struggled and failed in their attempts to find their new relevant image. What do you think?
Are they leaning too far to corporate image?
Will this damage their current brand image?
Are they trying too hard?
Or is it the natural progression that we have all come to expect from they fast paced success of such tech companies?
I for one love the new DC logo but agree that Microsoft could have done better. What is your opinion?
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