Google and Verizon made headlines last week when they unveiled major brand facelifts, and several other tech and media giants have also updated their looks this year. YouTube rolled out the logo for its new YouTube Kids division, Facebook flew under the radar with a typeface update, and The New York Times Magazine released tweaks to its wordmark along with an alternate version of the same.
We asked our team to chime in on the recent changes and rate each new logo on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 represents “My eyes are burning” and 5 represents “This logo is everything. This logo is life.”
By a straw poll, Google was Pivot’s favorite. It won votes from 6 of 16 Pivoteers. The New York Times Magazine came in as a close second with 5 votes, and YouTube Kids earned a single vote from strategist Erin.
By ratings, however, Facebook’s logo takes the cake. It scored an average rating of 4.27, a smidge higher than Google’s average of 4.18. Here’s what the Pivoteers had to say about each logo:
Dawn: I agree with actress Mara Wilson, who said, “It’s very Sesame Street.”
Melissa: Google’s breakthrough into the world of sans serifs is a fantastic improvement. The slightly brightened color palette helps modernize the mark. The stripped “G” looks great as a favicon.
Derek: The new Google logo looks great, and I love the application across the brand (especially the bouncing circle animations). However, I wish they had stuck by their serifs. With so many brands going to geometric sans serifs, it seems like Google is just going along.
Ryan: The old logo—in all its silly iterations and tiny evolutions—was never good. We were just used to it. The new logo is definitely an improvement, but it’s nothing earth-shattering.
Joshua C: It’s beautiful in both form and function. For me, it elicits childhood memories—tracing letterforms and understanding how the alphabet works together. The new logo is more playful, more confident, and more energetic. I trust it.
Ashly: It’s classic. Can we talk about that alternate form, though? It looks like some too trendy tattoo art about to pass its prime.
Derek: Now there’s an appreciation for the subtleties of typography.
Ryan: This is a well-considered and perfectly restrained evolution of a piece of one of the world’s great brands. Separating anything NYT from its black-letter heritage would be tantamount to typographic blasphemy. They’ve just simplified the fussiness (Check out the sexy new upper bowls on those lowercase a’s…yow), extended the type widths, and tracked it out a bit to eliminate the claustrophobic feel of the previous version. I like it.
Jordan: The alternate version looks like “nut mag.” Not good.
Josh T: The changes are extremely subtle, but the decrease in overall height and the refinements in some of the characters like the “a,” “z,” “M,” and “T” are wonderful. They didn’t need to reinvent the wheel here, but they sure did polish it.
Ashly: The logo does a good job of conveying the controlled chaos and energy kids exude, but I can’t help but feel like I’m staring at a Captcha box, attempting to prove my humanness by deciphering warped letters.
Dawn: I’m not sure about the jumble of letters, but that’s only because my hobbies include straightening piles of paperwork and making sure my furniture is lined up with the floorboards.
Erin: This is my favorite of the five because it caters to the playfulness of kids. It doesn’t try to scream YouTube, but there’s still a clear connection. Well done, YouTube.
Melissa: When approaching branding for kids, why is the go to solution to make letterforms crazy, jumbled or rendered with child like handwriting? Certainly there is a way to evoke feelings of youth without taking our eyes to on a trip to the merry-go-round.
Joshua C: As a new dad, I can appreciate YouTube’s effort to filter content that is age appropriate but the mark is “meh.” Designed for kids, by adults, for adults.
Ashly: It’s almost as bad as Gap’s 2010 logo update—which only lasted a week.
Dawn: The new logo looks like an item you checked off your grocery list. Bananas? Check. Ketchup-flavored potato chips? Check. Vegan cane sugar? Check. One pound of ground Verizon chuck? Check.
Erin: I’m so glad Verizon finally got rid of the giant check mark and obnoxious fading “Z,” but the new logo doesn’t do much for me. It falls a bit flat, and the check mark seems a bit like an afterthought.
Jordan: I don’t hate the new logo as much as I did when I first saw it. So, that’s something, right?
Josh T: Knowing Michael Beirut was involved makes me feel like a student critiquing a master. I appreciate that the mark has been simplified from the extreme check mark down to a cleaned up word mark with a tiny check, but the check seems superfluous.
It’s too small to read as an important element and feels like it got stuck there by accident. Removing the italics makes the type feel simultaneously more professional and approachable, both of which are positives. Dat check mark tho …
Derek: The wordmark feels much more balanced with that open “a,” and it’s definitely more readable, but also much less distinct. I’m not sure why a change was thought necessary. “Face” is a weird word.
Erin: It’s a very Facebook move to have these subtle upgrades. It doesn’t wow me, but I think that’s the point. Minor tweaks have been Facebook’s game. This keeps them relevant without a big Google-like font change.
Melissa: I am relatively indifferent on this one. You could argue that the slight changes to the letterforms give it a friendlier, approachable look. There are some letters I like better on the new, and some letter relationships (like the way the “f” interacts with the “a”) were better executed on the old.
Ryan: I hate this redesign. The previous logo wasn’t amazing, but it was warm, friendly, and familiar, and it had character. With the exception of the forced connection between the f and the a, the relationships between letters in the previous logo felt
The new one feels like the letterforms are fighting one another. I look at individual letters before I look at the word and that’s bad news. Plus, it’s just so boring. Bad feels.
Joshua C: Finally, the awkward space between the “f” and “a” is resolved. That’s all I care about.