A Mockery Of Whom?

Are Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!’s design team playing the fools, or playing us for fools? I honestly am not sure anymore.

When the company announced more than a month ago that they would debut a new logo, I was surprised to learn that before sharing it with us, they would subject themselves and us to 30 days of lackluster logos. It felt to me like a lapse in judgement to:

  1. Put off for even a day the fresh new logo that was prepared to move the company forward.
  2. Accept for even a day, let alone 30, the use of any logo that had not made the cut.

But I sort of laughed it off, snidely and then crudely shared my thoughts on the matter, and waited out the 30 days.

Last night Yahoo! finally revealed the new logo, and the mildest reaction I can possibly muster is that it does not appear to be a professional design:

Yahoo's new logo, September 2013.

Because I myself am not a professional designer, I am tentative about making specific judgements, but my relatively untrained eye reacts to several problems with logo. The beveled characters make the logo appear dated and distractingly three dimensional. The scalloped edges lead the eye away from forming any unified shape. The lightness of the strokes, particularly in the bar of the A and H makes the whole thing feel fragile and not suited to scaling very large or very small.

A snarky summary of my criticisms would be to say that it looks like something somebody threw together in a weekend. Upon seeing the new logo I tweeted that I hoped it “was designed by committee, because I don’t want to imagine an individual taking the brunt of reactions.”

Marissa Mayer herself chimed in on the new logo, so now we know that both are true: it was designed by committee, and it was thrown together in a weekend:

So, one weekend this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the trenches with our logo design team: Bob Stohrer, Marc DeBartolomeis, Russ Khaydarov, and our intern Max Ma. We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish, and we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail.

Expletives are begging to let loose in my typing. You have to be kidding me.

This is not how any company, big or small, cherished or unknown should design a company identity. The more I read about Yahoo!’s process for this redesign, the less respect and confidence I have in them. As a minor Yahoo! shareholder and a long-time, sometimes grudging fan of the company, I am not sure where to go with these feelings.

It’s that point of gullible disbelief where one starts to look around for hidden cameras. Are we being punked? Is Marissa Mayer merely making a mockery of Yahoo! and its identity, or if she is snickering churlishly as she pulls off an elaborate prank, hi-fiving her co-conspirators as they witnesses the world react jaw-gapingly to their purported pride in these actions?