Mike Rohde over at Rohdesign.com has a great post analyzing the new Palm logo. Take a look, and you’ll see what I mean.
Now I’m no designer, although I have no argument with anything Mike’s written. I just think it’s just so transparent what’s happening.
First, Palm was a young company that wanted an image implying solidity in order to woo stodgy business users to buy en masse. Then, after they got older and took more for granted, and after they ignore (or at least misinterpret) the market for a while, and their machines become kinda old, stodgy, and not really cutting edge anymore they move to change their products. We get the Treo, which is pretty awesome, and the Livedrive, which is a good idea somewhat poorly executed. Both are identifiable attempts to get back on the innovation track, but not enough to completely change Palm in the minds that matter.
Of course, even though the innovation is still lacking a bit we have to get a new logo. Even if the products aren’t that new, the feeling seems the logo will cover the difference, right? Where the old one looked like it was made out of stone, or at least something shiny (which must be hard and valuable…) the new one looks like it was done by a startup. Boy, these guys must be really dynamic! Put on the shades and stand back 8–).
Why didn’t they stick with the old logo, but simply change the background color a bit – maybe a mid-tone electric blue? I can understand the urges that develop when your company realizes change is necessary, and then wants desperately to convince their customer base that change is coming, but the only way to truly and safely communicate that change is to demonstrate it through action.
Palm, and other companies who pull this nonsense, read my lips: Establish true innovation first, then work to create the younger image. If you deserve the image you’ll get it regardless of the logo.
But if you don’t…well…the new image comes across like a pudgy 55–year old man with a comb-over trying to pick up chicks in a Hawaiian shirt.