Xerox, Take Two

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"We had aspirations of adding a little more emotion to the brand, and that led us to take the company down from capital [lettering] and [make the logo] a little human and approachable rather than [that of] an austere corporate empire," says Loid Der, creative director at Interbrand, which developed the logo. "That was going to instantly signal that there was a great deal of change here, and something more vibrant in that the letters are more active than before. The original Xerox [logo] was made out of very rigid, straight lines. Though very modern when it was created, it needed something to make it more alive. So, we have this 'x' characteristic which has a little curvature that gave it more distinction. We wanted to make it much bolder so it would be able to be seen more clearly in digital and web." As for the symbol idea, Der adds it was the "touchstone to galvanize all the efforts into something that was definitely very emotional, this idea of a connection with something that resonated very much within the organization."

But how does it resonate with an outside audience? We asked a few renowned graphic designers to offer their perspective on the Xerox renovation.

Milton Glaser, Graphic Designer/Founder, Milton Glaser Studios
"My sense is that it's not terribly distinctive and looks like a lot of other things out there and I think will not be a classic expression. What you hope if you're redesigning something like Xerox is that you do something that lasts at least 20 years so you won't have to endure the dismantling costs this thing is going to require in five years. This logo does not suggest a substantial expression of what the company stands for and will stand for. I think if you're an institution that wants to change your identity, you should think a little more in long-term effect of what you're doing. The kiss of death is trying to be cool, and if you don't convince people you are cool, you might as well not go through the effort."

Paula Scher, Principal, Pentagram New York
"It looks like another of what I call the 'bouncing ball' logos, like AT&T where they're trying to do the whole '60s corporate identity thing of making a mark inside a circle—but trying to make the circle look friendly and almost cartoon-y. It has dimension and form, but the typography that says Xerox is nicer than the ball. They did it right in the type because the curved x's are friendly and recognizable. They didn't need this little goofy ball. The sadder reality is that if you consider what Xerox was, it was everything that every brand wants to be: they had a name that was an object, like if you copied something, you would 'make a Xerox.' We don't make Xeroxes like we used to, but if the term is there, it still means that. So the idea that they would move it from symbol and away from word is really sad."

David Carson, Principal/Chief Designer, David Carson Design
"'Ugh' was my first reaction. Having worked extensively with the previous logo in numerous broadcast end tags, and some print, I would not disagree some updating was in order. This however, feels a bit silly and weak. It would not have received a kind critique had a student submitted it. The ball is too far from the powerless type, and feels awkward floating out ahead of the letters. The circle (hey, there's an original idea for a logo! especially following a version that was a BOX in its former life). The ball seems to have been pulled from a free web site offering VERY similar 3D balls. And what is the band-aid on the red ball about anyway? Somebody hurt? Switzerland anyone? All lower case CAN be powerful and futuristic. However, this font, with its 'secretary typed it in' letter spacing, leaves the mark limp. Overall, instead of saying, 'Here I am,' the new logo asks, rather sheepishly, 'May I come in?' To which the answer is of course, 'No thank you, we were looking for something a bit more self-confident.'"
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