The cost of updating your brand: When not going far enough goes too far

May 29, 2014

Several months ago, I noticed a typeface change in the Domino’s Pizza logo. Yes, I admit I’ve had a few slices from the pizza chain, but the reason I noticed the change was because I never understood the previous logotype: Futura Condensed Extra Bold. Futura Condensed was likely chosen because it needed to fit within a small blue rectangle as part of the Domino’s symbol.

I get it. You’re trying to squeeze information into a small space, use a condensed typeface – every designer has done it. However, visually it never worked with the symbol. With condensed typefaces you don’t get clean geometric shapes – you get ovals instead of circles. And because of this, the letters didn’t complement the perfectly geometric shapes seen in the domino symbol. It just wasn’t a good match.

The new Domino’s typeface, however, is not condensed. In fact it’s an even bolder sans serif font – minus the word “Pizza” – and it’s also been extracted from the symbol along with the blue rectangle. It’s bold, simple and it complements the shapes of the symbol perfectly. In short: I like it.

But one day, I noticed the nearby Venice Beach location changed their building sign from the condensed typeface to the new typeface and I wondered: who besides me will notice? It’s still the familiar red and blue domino with a white logotype. But how much did it cost to change that sign? And how many locations are there, not just in L.A., but nationwide? Not to mention all the menus, boxes, vehicle marquees and decals that have to be updated. Of course, I realize that many of those items need to be reprinted at some point anyway – but again, at what cost, and who will notice (besides the typography geeks, that is)?

Although it may not be clear to the outside world why, the previous Domino’s logo didn’t cut it. And besides the logo tweak, it’s not apparent what else has changed at Domino’s to warrant such a costly update. Why spend so much to replace communications without a clear change in strategy? After all, the brand is more than just the logo. The best recipe for Domino’s is to focus on all the other aspects of the brand as well: the retail experience, the recipes, delivery, etc. No matter how small, make change work hard for your brand by ensuring that is has a positive impact on all touch points.

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