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Responses by Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram

Background: In a relatively young field, Yahoo is one of the oldest brands. We were asked to refresh its brand identity to make it more appealing to new users while reminding fans why they like the web services provider.

Reasoning: The bold typeface gives the brand a stronger presence in an ever-more-challenging marketplace. The tilted exclamation mark, in use on every version of the Yahoo logo since the company’s founding, is elevated to a motif that can be used to define space, connect with subbrands and modify the initial letter to form an abbreviated, alternate symbol. Challenges: Creating a solution that honored the past while looking to the future.

Favorite details: Setting the incline of the exclamation mark at 22.5 degrees is 1/16th of a circle, which enables it to be used for a wide variety of radial motifs.

Visual influences: We spent a lot of time analyzing Yahoo’s original ’90s logo, which was so idiosyncratic and boderline zany. Trying to capture that spirit was a challenge before we remembered Bob Gill’s rule, “Interesting words need boring graphics.” Yahoo is an inherently fun, unusual and interesting word. Instead of making it look goofy, why not play it straight? That approach—with one twist at the end, the italic punctuation—was all it took.

Anything new: It is remarkable how much goodwill Yahoo commands in the marketplace. So many people remember it as their first email address or the home of their favorite website. Even former users are rooting for it to succeed—perhaps making them future users in the process.

pentagram.com

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