The internet is abuzz with two recent corporate logo changes; MySpace and The Gap. I won’t touch on the Gap’s new logo in this posting and will solely focus on MySpace (for a good post on The Gap, visit Tom Dougherty’s Blog). I’ve read many articles on the logo change for MySpace so far, and would recommend the following articles from Fortune and TechCrunch:
For reference, below are the old and new MySpace logos.
As noted, the new MySpace logo was announced at the Warm Gun Design Conference in San Francisco and the philosophy behind the change was expressed by MySpace VP of User Experience, Mike Macadaan: “MySpace is a platform for people to be whatever they want, so we’ve decided to give them the space to do it.”
It certainly is a bold new direction; I cannot argue with that. I also understand the underlying concept, which is to engage the users with the brand by allowing them to fill the “Space” of MySpace with whatever is most important to them; user generated artwork appears in the space when one hovers over the logo with their mouse (see the TechCrunch article for images).
I do foresee a couple of challenges with the new logo.
First, you typically do not want to create a brand or logo that is open to interpretation. As an example, if you recall the Tom Hanks movie, “That Thing You Do”, the band originally started off with the name “Oneders” (as in #1 ders) instead of “Wonders”. Of course, the group’s name constantly gets butchered by the public, being called “OH need ders”, or “OH Ned ders”, until their manager has them change their name to the simpler and recognizable form, “The Wonders”. The new MySpace logo opens itself up to similar confusion…. MyBlank, MyUnderscore, MyGap, MyBracket, etc.
Additionally, it creates a bit of confusion on how it should be represented in the media (typeset). As another example, we can all recall when the artist Prince changed his name to a logo that could not be pronounced or typed out, so years of “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” ensued. This symbolic representation of MySpace opens up similar issues; do you still type out MySpace, or does the media now have to type out “My_____ “?
While my first instinct is that I would not have made this logo change, it’s obviously hard to tell how this logo will play out without the overall context of the user experience on the MySpace website with the logo. Everyone made fun of Nintendo naming their new console, originally codenamed Revolution, the Wii. After a very successful launch, a massive wave of articles followed claiming the Wii brand as genius, perfectly encapsulating the social experience of the new console.
The challenges I mentioned above will likely remain, but could the new experience prove to be such an incredible hit with users that the new logo becomes another genius move? Only time will tell.