21 July 2006

[logo_design] Here Comes The New Payless Shoes

Payless Shoesource (which some of us old-timers still think of as Volume) has been looking at its corporate identity and getting that not-so-fresh feeling.

Actually, that's kind of understandable. The look has been around since the 1980's. Many people look at the following design and think of harvest gold and avocado kitchen decor, and t-shirt shops at the mall:

The design does seem kind of dated. I look at it and the tapes in my mind start playing Disco Duck.

But times have been a-changing at Payless lately, and what with the addition of celebrity brands backed by Shaq and Star and Stanley tool-branded workboots (actually I have a pair of these, they're quite good), what else is in the offing but...an extreme logo makeover. And here that is:

Well, it is an update, yes?

It does have some sound principes of logo design backing it up. The orange color from the old logos is meant to connote continuity–it's a change of outlook, not a change of philosophy. The portmanteau shoesource still is there, though diminished. The type looks modern, and the sans-serif font is a good choice, I think. It looks very curreent.

The glyph is funny. The stated goal of it is, by heavily stylizing the P (that's what that orange curlicue thing is, BTW), they communicate the new, "fun style-conscious family fashion" attitude of Payless, and by keeping it orange, they forward the tradition of the old, accessable Payless. The blue swipe that completes the circular form is meant to communicate dynamic tension–it gives a rotational feel and contains energy.

Now, I like logo talk just as much as anybody else who talks logo talk likes logo talk. Is it just me, though, or is it getting just a teensy bit deep around here? After all, Payless got along for a great many years without having a graphic logo.

My favorite bit is to call the P stylized. This is stylized in the way the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake revised San Francisco's Marina district. It's no longer a P, is it?...what it is now, is a backward 9.

I also wrote about this at Designorati.

And if anyone thinks I'm just making up the logo talk, peep this item on PRNewswire, which goes even deeper than I did.

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Jeff Fisher LogoMotives said...

It's a bit "swoosh-o-licious" to me...

- J.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

I dithered over what to call that stroke; "swoosh" seemed most appropriate, desipite the dangerous Nike-association. Swoop?


What I don't get is why they felt they had to have a graphic logo at all. The lack of a graphic logo wasn't really (if one concedes that there was one) a problem with it. If they just would have updated the typography and did something clever with one of the letterforms, that would have done it.

I find the graphic element wierd, quite honestly. Fun, yes. But wierd.

pril said...

that, to me, looks pharmaceutical somehow.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Pharmaceutical? Yes...it's there in the light blue and the stylized type.

Wild! Good call.