Monday, June 22, 2009

New Looks for 2 Old Brands

These overhauls to a couple of eminent brands have caught my eye recently—and produced similar reactions of ambivalence.

I have always been a fan of the (old) Jack in the Box logo. It is so tightly executed yet appropriately playful. The double tilting of both the box itself and text inside is pure genius, as is the delightful typography of the letterforms, which are so audaciously intermingled, yet with such subtle craftsmanship that the eye hardly even notices (e.g. the HE and OX). Frankly, I don’t see why this mark couldn’t have continued to serve the chain triumphantly for years or even decades to come. That said, I can’t exactly say that I hate the new logo either, though there are some peculiarities to it that may or may not grow on me. I can’t decide if the visual pun that drives the whole thing (Jack is literally in the box, get it?) is really clever or just oh-so-obviously trite. (On second thought, is Jack actually in the box or on it?) Anyhow, I think I might have been more willing to acknowledge the former if they (they being the corporate suits, no doubt and not the designers) hadn’t been such chickens and given in to the compulsion to spell it out anyway at the bottom. The overall look is certainly playful enough, but I’m not sure that the understated and quaint whimsy of the smile formed by the leg of the k conveys quite the spirit of wackiness that folks have come to associate with the brand, with its laugh-out-loud television commercials. Speaking of which, I’m rather astounded that Jack Box himself didn’t manage to insinuate his own image into the new identity somehow. Seems that would have been a no-brainer. At any rate, a professional hats off to Duffy & Partners for creating a new brand that definitely has some nice touches and conveys a spirit of creative fun, particularly in the few glimpses I’ve managed to get of the look as it has been extended into various other applications (packaging, etc.).

A stronger case could certainly made for updating the venerable Holiday Inn logo, though I’m not sure that even here I wouldn’t have opted for a more subtle reworking that would have retained more of what the former version had going for it. That left-leaning italic was just too distinctive to warrant complete liquidation. And maybe I’m just weird but I even kind of liked the orange, seven-fold flower/star/severed Tic-Tac thingy that graced latter manifestations of the old mark. The new mark is definitely eye-catching; I noticed it right away the first time I drove by one of the updated locations. It also definitely follows the established trend of logos in the digital age relying more upon gradations of color and "tricked-out" applications of highlight or shading (often rather illogically rendered, as here) to capture the eye than upon sturdy craftsmanship of the forms themselves. Used in one color only (for which the need these days is admittedly rather scarce, if not quite to be ruled out altogether) this mark would appear quite generic, perhaps even homely. The new typeface does have a certain appeal, though I again think I would have tried very hard to give an even stronger nod to the original, both in the name and in the H icon. Interbrand gets credit for this one.

1 comment:

  1. Not being a patron of either of these places of business, I can't say much about what the logos say about the companies. But both of the new ones remind me of something from Pixar. Which is fine if you standard is a cartoon.

    The JAC also overwhelms the left side of the box, with the lone K being quite literally left in the dark.

    Holiday Inn has tossed an immediately recognizable logo, the tic-tack-thing and the script, and replaced it with the letter 'H' and a generic type reminiscent of Arial. WooHOO.