Coffee or dishwater? You decide!

May 25, 2010

Jim Gregory, CEO and Andrew Bogucki, Executive Creative Director make their respective cases for the new Seattle’s Best Coffee logo. Grab your preferred cup of caffeine and read on to see who takes which side of the debate.


What were they thinking?

Normally I’m not one to criticize logo designs by competitors because I simply don’t know the circumstances that the design firm faced. In the case of Seattle’s Best Coffee, however, all I can say is “Oh My God! What were they thinking?”

The only argument I’ve seen in defense of this awful logo is the company is suggesting to “Give it a year.” Really? You want to throw away your brand equity for a year to test what is perfectly obvious — this is a bad, bad logo design.

I have only one word for a client who wants to update a perfectly successful logo: Evolution. Don’t walk away from everything that is good to come up with something that is absolutely generic.

Jim Gregory, CEO
CoreBrand

I hear what you’re saying but…

…keep in mind that it’s a slippery slope to critique logos without knowing fully the strategy and process behind it.

I’d never recommend throwing away brand equity, but in this case, the color equity remains and the name is the same. I don't see customers having a disconnect issue. In terms of not looking or feeling like "coffee", i.e. some sort of vintage-y, textured, intricate badge or seal, I say a couple of things: One, since when is being different a bad brand move? Standing out from the crowd without insulting anyone in the process makes sense to me. And in terms of style? Clean, bold and modern can certainly say "coffee"; just look at the company that arguably helped inspire all the North American coffee-craziness to begin with, Italy's illy. That irrepressibly modern and memorable red square logo (updated in 1996 by artist James Rosenquist) is a thing of beauty and, at this point, couldn't say anything but "coffee". It is what keeps brands vital and interesting, I say well-done on all fronts.

As always, the ultimate proof will be in the cup, as they say. To me, and based on press releases, the new logo says that having a great cup of coffee will be simple again (funny coming from the company that made it so darn complicated to begin with). It reminds me a bit of the message JetBlue sent about air travel with their logo. Out with big, grand names and flags and wings and globes. In with friendly and simple. At their inception, they also backed it up with a great experience. Let's see if Seattle's Best can do the same.

Andrew Bogucki, Executive Creative Director
CoreBrand

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