Leave Paul alone.

POSTED BY admin ON December 7th, 2009
LABELS: logo commentary

I’d like to preface this blog post by accepting the fact that without re-branding, most of us would be out of a job. At least half of the work I do professionally is taking a company’s logo, designed years ago, by another designer, and updating it or changing it completely. Without that I would be stuck designing web sites, which aren’t my favorite.

With that said, I would like to nominate a new code to live by as identity designers: “LEAVE PAUL ALONE“. Three simple words.

UPS logo 1961

Let’s start with the UPS logo, designed my Paul Rand in 1961. It was great. The protection of the shield, the welcoming nature of the lower case acronym, the excitement of the bow on the package. Just brilliant. For 42 years that was UPS. What’s wrong with that? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

UPS logo 2003

Then in 2003 someone, probably a remarkable sales guy, sold UPS on a new logo. The new logo is shiny, swoopy and beveled. Very 2.0. To this guy it’s just ok. I suppose it’s faster, younger, and more diverse than just package deliver, but where is the love? The bow on the package of Rand’s logo tells me that UPS cares about what I”m shipping. Does UPS no longer care and love my package? It says that the bow would have gotten caught in their high-speed sorting machines, and it didn’t fit their expansion into supply chain services. blah, blah, blah. In the consumer’s mind UPS will always be the shipper of packages that you don’t trust the postal service to deliver with care in a timely manner.


Yale University Press 1985

Next up let’s look at something more recent: The Yale Press logo.
In 1985, Paul Rand designed this logo with the quirky type inside a circle. What’s wrong with that logo? Again, nothing. It’s self-contained. The type is large enough to read easily, even if placed on the spine of a book. It’s recognizable. It IS Yale Press. It worked great for 24 years until Yale wanted everything to look the same and blend together. Last year they decided to drop Rand’s logo for a the University’s logo. What’s wrong with the university’s logo? Nothing. It’s straight type set in Matthew Carter’s typeface he designed for the university. To me it’s a little boring which, in my mind, is what going to Yale is like. Which is fine, but it’s the university’s logo, it isn’t the YUP logo.

Yale University Press 2009


But, let’s keep the positive vibe going here at iheartlogos. Let’s celebrate the brave CEOs and VPs of marketing at companies like ABC, Westinghouse, and Cummins. You guys are by far, the smartest of your kind. I don’t know if you are making millions for your company, or steering it in the right direction, but I know one thing for sure: you’re smart enough to LEAVE PAUL ALONE.


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(3) Responses to “Leave Paul alone.”

  1. Mark Astle says:

    Love it. There’s a few others that ought to have been left alone too. Adding 3D effects and drop shadows DOES NOT make a logo better. But it seems it’s becoming compulsory nowadays. Nice to see lots of great logos on this site that could still be faxed, photocopied etc.

  2. The bean counters and vultures do not understand that good design and branding do not have a sell-by date. I will always pay my respects to Paul as The Creator of super brands. Nothing but nothing can replace experience!

  3. Laura says:

    …and I thought I was the only Paul fan left–great comments!

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