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Often times when a company is searching to reposition itself in the market they will engage in a brand refresh. This is always a big risk and sometimes a massive failure (remember the new Gap logo?), but if done effectively can be a great success for the company. Fast food giants Arby's & Wendy's have both recently announced new logos in an effort to refresh their brands and I believe that one has succeeded and the other has failed miserably.

A logo is meant to be immediately recognizable and represent the brand appropriately, and with the new Wendy's logo, I get it. I've seen them making changes and moving towards the fresh, quality ingredients approach. The “Old fashioned hamburger” just isn't what they're about anymore, and the new logo reflects that while maintaining a certain amount of recognition. We still see that smiling Wendy's face nicely re-illustrated slightly breaking the circle containing her head, giving a great illusion of depth. The capital W and the arch in the type are carry overs as well, but utilize a more playful updated font. All of these placed in a fairly similar proportion and placement to the old design keep it recognizable, but cleaner and more along the lines of where Wendy's is headed with it's brand and marketing.

The Arby's logo on the other hand just looks wrong and does very little to emphasize their new slogan “Slicing Up Freshness”. The font doesn't fit the old west theme and breaks the continuity of the cowboy hat design held together by the old font. Despite this, the hat remains, now sporting a terrible 3D effect forcing depth, but it's not carried throughout the font making the whole logo look inconsistent. The meat slicer apostrophe is the only nod to the new tag line but its so poorly executed I'm not sure anyone is going to recognize it. The whole thing comes off as a lazy attempt at a brand refresh and what I think will ultimately be replaced again in the near future.

Overall the new Wendy's logo comes out the obvious winner in this match up, but I'm interested to hear your input on refreshing a brand. What should be taken from the old to keep the brand recognition and what should be new to make a real impact? Maybe even some other examples of successes and failures? Let me know!

tags: Branding, Logo Throwdown, Web Design, 

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