23 February 2007

[logo_design] The new look of SAIF

729 Recently, SAIF Corporation rolled out a new identity and logo system. I commented on it here at Designorati, but I also wanted to put more of a personal view of what such a move means.

Companies that rebrand usually want to tell a different story with their printed material than they have in the past–or, if their logo/identity told not much of a story at all (the old SAIF logo was, if I recall, merely the letters SAIF, stylized). SAIF goes on at length about how they see their logo communication happening here (follow the link to SAIF's new rebranding page).

The new identity is as much about how SAIF sees itself in the Oregon economy as it is about who it feels it serves. The human figure is meant to represent the people it serves, the building facade is meant to represent the businesses that SAIF provides workers' comp insurance to, and the state outline on top represents its geographical market (SAIF is Oregon's largest worker's comp provider, with about 45-50% of the state's market share).

The three images form a sort of cube viewed in the three-quarters perspective. This provides a visual unity that works more than one way: by unifying into a solid shape, it could be expressing the unity of business and workers that forms the foundation of Oregon's economy. By placing the figure and the building below the state outline, the inference could be drawn that workers and the businesses they build are the foundation of the state and our way of life (remember, it's all about the economy here). And, by associating the whole graphical display with the letterforms that make up the company name, we could interpret this as saying that SAIF supports the Oregon economy.

The colors also tell a story. SAIF has chosen a very limited color scheme–a gray color and a green. The green colors the state outline, which is a dead-simple identification; Oregon and a green environment are a identification that many people make. The letterforms and those forms on the lower 2/3rds of the logo are also the same color, linking SAIF once again to the well-being of Oregon's economy through the identification with a healthy and safe workforce again supporting the Oregonian way of life.

Many of the better logos are simple; in the graphically-simplified (but identifiable) shapes, SAIF's new identity keeps it simple. Two colors, simple shapes, and a cube-shaped logo with some nice straight lines to align the letterform elements to.

On all levels, as a corporate rebranding, SAIF's new identity looks like an unqualified success to us.

(Tip of the cap to Rick Hansen and Elizabeth Schrader at SAIF who provided me with a webilicious version of the new SAIF logo just for the askin')

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