Friday, September 14, 2012

USA Today Destroys its Brand

Meh. Click to embiggen. Image from LA Times.

Redesigns of familiar brands are often very dicey. We're not just judging new versus old, we have an emotional attachment to the established design, whether we are conscious of it or not. Sometimes it goes smoothly, as when Burger King updated its image subtly, or when rival Jack in the Box changed theirs significantly. Neither was decried as a step too far.

But often, if the change isn't seen as an improvement, it can be derided, maybe even damage the brand. When Pepsi changed its familiar red and blue yin/yang globe to one that looks more abstract, designers and fans almost universally panned it. The jury is still out on Microsoft's and eBay's new, minimalist logos, but many find them quite boring. And the most disastrous redo was by GAP, which met such hostility with its logo change, that it decided to throw it out, and keep the old one.

The "before" here wasn't a winner either. But the
red and blue globe was a mainstay. Image from LogoTalk.
USAToday should do the same. I realize that in a changing media world, a newspaper must change with the times. And USAToday has been derided for a long time as "McPaper." But tell me, how did their long-time, established design differ from how a typical web page is set up? It already was laid out with news nuggets and charts, and brightly colored eye-grabbers. USAToday was a web page before we knew what they were!

The logo that never was. Image from LogoTalk.
Now? It just doesn't hold together. As a designer, I'd have a hard time ever liking the new design. The logo is NOT an improvement, and its juxtaposition with a Futura Bold decimalized, six-digit date does not read well. It looks like an unfinished pie chart, a placeholder, or part of an ad. Besides just floating there, looking incomplete, the date does not work in this format. First, the decimals are a cutesy, trendy way to write phone numbers these days, I do not know why, but it's true. Also, in the USA, we put the month first, and in other parts of the world they put the day first, so the date will be unclear to many who read it.

Looks like a web page to me. 
On the whole, I declare it a disaster. They've taken away the brand identity, and produced an ugly product that looks like it was rushed out before it was finished. I can't imagine that this tests particularly well, or how they decided it was "better." Different sure, not better. There was room for improvement, and for streamlining, but they took it too far.


USA Today launches redesign

The newspaper that introduced the world to the infographic is getting a makeover. Thirty years after the launch of the new national newspaper, USA Today unveiled a new logo, a more colorful look and bulked-up coverage of technology and travel. It also unveiled a digital redesign that gives the news operation a consistent look on its relaunched website and on mobile devices. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times


  1. I am in agreement. I cant, however,even say that the new design looks like a rush job. It jarred me when opening their web page. I thought that their was a malfunction on their web servers and they needed to throw up ( pun intnded ) some stock-grapic. For such a large company.....their homework seemed to have been farmed out to a bad group of "yes men". The design is...... no design at all. How zen. Perhaps 30 years is in actuality, not the new 20, but the new 5. But that would be an insult to my five year old, as he has a better sense of design.

  2. Anon said it pretty well.
    Just wanted to add that the paper you selected looked like the Japanese flag in WWII.
    And when a person goes to buy it at the local store, they are going to bypass the new design and look for the old template. When they don't see the old newspaper, then they may give up and not buy a newspaper that day.
    Finally, how many people buy the paper because of the way it looks? Most people buy the paper because of what is in it.

  3. branding agency in uae
    :-very nice information, we are glad to read this news or post,

  4. brand identity in uae
    :-very nice information, we are glad to read this news or post,


Have something to say to us? Post it here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...