Because we use Slack and we love it, we’ve been following the so-called controversy following their logo change and we feel pretty strongly that we wanna jump on that train a little and intervene with our own thoughts. Slack is a fresh work collaboration platform that skyrocketed in a very short time. In less than 7 years they reached such a performance that at the moment they have 8 million users every day. Being such a young company, they used to have a logo that was working just fine. Unique, memorable, mature but fun, easy to work with and relatable. The old one was supposedly too difficult to use on different backgrounds (other than white), it was made of too many colors (11 to be exact), it was oftenly misused, etc.
Here’s a sum up of what has been said up until now about the rebranding done by Pentagram Design. The main controversy revolves around the symbol that used to be an octothrope (or, in regular English, a hashtag, dude) that also made sense functionally because all their channels have a hashtag before them. People are upset (not for-real-upset, just internet-upset) because that symbol changed and their lives can’t go on now.
The main comparisons we found say that the new symbol looks like:
the Google Photos logo (oh no!)
a whimsical swastika (nope, nope, nope!)
the apparently common sexting emojis Eggplant and Sweat drops 😉
this duck insanity
The octothrope (look at us, we’re learning new words) was switched to this new symbol because they wanted it to represent a network of things due to Slack being a collaborative platform. The agency took that brief, played with it and a new symbol was born: two basic geometric shapes, a speech bubble and a lozenge (that’s a rhombus or diamond shape, we looked it up for you).
That’s pretty much what we found on the subject and after carefully talking to ourselves, we feel there are some things we need to add to the internet about this.
They wanted new colors that look a bit more mature than their previous ones, but to us it looks like they picked the colors that were immediately at hand in the color swatch section of whatever design medium they used. We feel they already had that with the original colors. See for yourself:
Choosing cohesiveness over aesthetics
By doing so, they played it safe, the new logo is functional, but it doesn’t stick to your mind nor does it stand out in a crowd of apps and they also lost significant brand equity.
Why fix something if it isn’t broken? It looks like the decision to change the font was made purely to get rid of anything that was part of the old logo. The previous font had similar characteristics to the current one (lowcase, sans serif, bold), but it’s different in some aspects to compliment the new isotype.
Since this change happened due to some legit frustration, we tried to identify another way of dealing with their issues. Keyword: brand guidelines. Having a more explicit way of using the former logo (ex: always tilted, always on the same background) would have been an easier way. The consistency is a must not only in the logo, but in the visual communication as well. Of course the user is confused when you use different visual mediums (illustration, photography, 3d, flat design etc.) in different ways, but that doesn’t change with a new logo, it changes with better rules on how to use the current one, if the current one is already working. Which it was.
There, we got it off our chest! Can we please go back to when we first started, Slack? Like GAP did? 😉