Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why, Y?

If you haven't already heard, the YMCA has officially embraced its nickname The Y (note the web address though). Maybe it's just me, but I don't love that idea as much as I think I should. It becomes less personable when it's the real name and not a generally accepted nickname. They could have just made it an official nickname or slogan or something and kept the official name. I mean future generations eventually won't know what the song YMCA is referring to! (kidding)

The naming aside, the Y also updated their logo. Interestingly enough, their new logo actually has YMCA in it (as well as a tacked on 'the') where the old logo was just a Y, which is partly how it got its nickname. So now that YMCA is no longer the official name, it's suddenly important enough to include in the logo? It's a little odd, don't you think?

Parts of the new logo are okay. Parts of it are not. As Brand New stated in their review,
The evolution is clear: From a hard-angled, tough-looking logo to a round-edged, soft-looking logo that plays well with the rest of the identities of the twenty-first century in pretty much all capacities. It is bubblier, it is lowercase, it has gradients, and it comes in various flavors. Unfortunately, all of the changes feel a tad gratuitous in the final execution.
In other words, it has a genericized early 21st century look to it. Notice the soft pillow gradients that were rather needlessly applied? They complement the rounded corners so well. (gag) Nothing against rounded corners, but that combo appears in 90% of all web icons and is far too generic and over-used to actually be used in a logo. Yuck. I do like the logo better when it's presented in one color. Then it just a modification of the shape, which works much better I think. 

Even without the cliche pillow gradients, the color choices are very questionable. We have lots of options. It kind of reminds me of the 2012 London Olympics logo in that way—although the designers of this logo clearly didn't remember all the bad press the London logo got for it's 80's neon color schemes. They may vary, but they're all pretty bright, and very trendy, colors. Not the best idea for long term branding. I suppose they're trying to make the logo young and hip, but 5-10 years from now those colors will be anything but hip. The 2012 logo can kind of get away with it simply because it's meant to be trendy to the times and after the Olympics it'll be outdated anyway—a keepsake to the time and place of the event. But that's not the the same for a brand, so the trendiness reflects poor long term judgment. Especially for a brand that's been as iconic as the original Y logo. Yes, it needed some updating—it screamed retro 60's, but still, those new colors are quite the leap.

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