Not too often an iconic Canadian brand changes its logo. So, this is big news… and an exciting one too. My first reaction to Yellow Pages’ new logo was not totally positive, so I decided to sleep on it, before writing this post.
Let’s start by giving you a little background info. Their CMO said: “The new YPG logo positions us as resolutely modern, innovative, and digital. While significant changes have been made, we kept our most important assets building on over 100 years of vested brand equity; our famous yellow colour is bolder and our trademarked Walking FingersTM– one of the most recognized icons worldwide – continues to be at the heart of our identity.”
The company generates about 20% of its revenue from digital media and plans to invest in that direction. As a matter of fact, it is a little known fact that YPG owns many popular websites such as 411.ca (25%), canadaplus.com, restaurantica.com and autotrader.com (through Trader Corp.) . Their handy mobile app has been around for a while too. To my knowledge, the only service Yellow Pages launched with the new logo is the reviews section of their website. Other than that, the branding initiative actually comes with very little news-worthy announcement.
The new logo is clearly an improvement over the old mark. Light yellow is more contemporary. It has an energy to it. Yet it looks less corporate. Also, fingers and the typography are no longer in black, but in grey. While it portrays a more modern look on the web, I find the new visual identity to look fainted on “printed” materials and especially on the signage on top of YPG headquarters. It does not look energetic on printed materials at all. Overall, the new logo looks more appealing and energetic than the previous version (with the exception of grey) to younger audience and I believe that is the goal.
The rendering of the fingers is modern and less detailed. However, the pebble shape (or a guitar pick?), is a big question mark to me. I suppose it symbolizes something you can hold in your hand (the mobile app), but I simply cannot see the connection. Yes, the directory is gone, signalling YPG’s decreasing dependence on the print business. Yet, the new symbol does not tell me anything else. In my POV, the amorphous shape and the absence of directory mean losing equity.
As per typography, there is an intentional imbalance between the type weights of “Yellow” and “Pages”. I can only assume that the company is moving away from “Pages”. Is this part of a transition strategy, at the end of which “Pages” would be dropped and the company would evolved into “Yellow”? If this is the case, then I see the current re-branding as a missed opportunity. They should have renamed the company to Yellow, Yellow Media or Yell (as in the UK) and avoided costly transition. If I am mistaken, then there has to be another explanation for the imbalanced type weight. And I am curious to know why.
Finally, a few words about the ads. They are well done, tasteful humorous, again targeting younger audience. Yet, last time I checked Yellow Pages had apps for iPhone, Blackberry and Android. Yet, in all three ads, we see the hero using an iPhone. It is a small detail. Yet, devil is in details.
Overall, this is a clear improvement over the old mark. Yet, given the iconic status of the brand, I expected more. Nevertheless, congrats to everyone who was involved. Such a transition for a company of YPG’s size is a tough task.