New UPS logo
April 4, 2003 9:01 AM   Subscribe

UPS revamps Its logo and branding. The unveiling occurred a week ago. Say goodbye to the classic Paul Rand logo, and hello to yet another 'swoop'!
posted by zanpo (60 comments total)
 
UPS is constantly messing up my deliveries. It's appropriate that they're named "oops".
posted by jozxyqk at 9:06 AM on April 4, 2003


Yay Martin Agency!
posted by xmutex at 9:11 AM on April 4, 2003


I like it a lot better. The old logo was boring & hideous, along with the trucks & the monkey outfits they forced their employees to wear.
posted by jonson at 9:16 AM on April 4, 2003


Reminds me of the stupidity surrounding the NASA logo. I can't find a decent link that summarizes the story, unfortunately.
posted by Kikkoman at 9:17 AM on April 4, 2003


That is one hideous change. The old logo was a classic. (I saw this coming from somebody's web log but don't know where.) Why didn't they just add a knight in shining armor as well?
posted by Dick Paris at 9:20 AM on April 4, 2003


Did Sapient design their new home page or something? And Paul Rand is spinning over in his grave...
posted by robbie01 at 9:21 AM on April 4, 2003


I like it a lot better. The old logo was boring & hideous.

"The logo now being replaced was designed in 1961 by Paul Rand, a renowned brand designer who also was responsible for the logos of IBM, ABC, Westinghouse and Yale University, among others." -via core77

The old UPS logo was original and a classic. The new one looks just like every other swoopy logo out there.
posted by zanpo at 9:26 AM on April 4, 2003


I agree completely with mschmidt at k10k, they turned it into a fucking OS X icon.
posted by mathowie at 9:32 AM on April 4, 2003


Lame. Why would you want a logo that requires 3D lighting effects? Flatness rules.
posted by sklero at 9:35 AM on April 4, 2003


Was eNormicom involved in the logo redesign? Hmm...
posted by fried at 9:37 AM on April 4, 2003


The old logo was boring & hideous, along with the trucks & the monkey outfits they forced their employees to wear.

I wore the uniform for five years, and have to say that I dislike the new logo... Almost as bad as the square-fronted 'bread trucks' they're putting on the roads. Why, in my day...
posted by atavistech at 9:42 AM on April 4, 2003


Yeah, I cringed when I saw the new look.

I also think it's oddly reminiscent of the UPN logo.
posted by O9scar at 9:47 AM on April 4, 2003


other newish logos that suck: subway, gateway, and, um, marilyn manson.
posted by angry modem at 9:48 AM on April 4, 2003


Is it just me, or does the new logo look like Hitler's face? There's his hairline at the top, and the descender of the 'p' is his mustache...
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2003


Old logo, for instant comparison. I also have my doubts about the snicker-factor of the "what can brown do for you?" campaign.
posted by yhbc at 9:53 AM on April 4, 2003


Brown is the new khaki.
posted by cedar at 9:56 AM on April 4, 2003


Stupid, stupid. I didn't think too much of the old logo but this one is much worse and will age horribly. Remember grunge fonts, people?
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:57 AM on April 4, 2003


The old UPS logo has aged exceedingly well. It looks only slightly dated, which is amazing after forty-odd years.

I'll miss the little package tied with string. But that was probably the most dated part of the logo. Nobody ties their packages anymore, and in fact I doubt UPS even allows it -- it'd probably get caught in the sorting machinery at CACH or something.

Kudos to UPS for fixing their Web site, though. It now has a Track field right on the front page, where it should be, and it's designed so that hitting Return actually submits the request rather than triggering the bogus "Add More Fields" button (this required you to use the mouse to submit the old tracking form).
posted by kindall at 9:58 AM on April 4, 2003


Yet they still have that stupid "By selecting this box and the Track button, I agree to these Terms and Conditions." thing that I have to check every time. I guess they had the lawyers and usability people fight it out and the lawyers won.
posted by smackfu at 10:09 AM on April 4, 2003


The old logo was a classic. The new logo is... just another logo.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2003


Guy Smiley: and the army of brown shirts too...
posted by mazola at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2003


"The logo now being replaced was designed in 1961 by Paul Rand, a renowned brand designer who also was responsible for the logos of IBM, ABC, Westinghouse and Yale University, among others." -via core77

The old UPS logo was original and a classic. The new one looks just like every other swoopy logo out there.


so, let me get this straight. old logo = looked like several other logos, including logos made by the same artist. this is "classic."

new logo looks like a whole bunch of logos that no one has given examples of. this is "hitler."

just checking.
posted by oog at 10:15 AM on April 4, 2003


It looks better. Maybe y'all would like it better if we still rode horses instead of driving cars?
posted by Eyegore at 10:15 AM on April 4, 2003


immedieatly forgettable!
posted by Hackworth at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2003


Old logo = not much to speak of.
New logo = not much to speak of.
"Classic" in this context, seems to merely mean old.
FedEx, now there's a classic logo.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2003


I'm sure the money it took to come up with this hideous logo will be passed on to consumers.

On a side note, I remember when metafilter seemed to break everything. Now we have links like this one that I read on multiple blogs several weeks ago.

When the hell did that happen?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:24 AM on April 4, 2003


Three subsequent spots will return the client's focus back to the campaign's existing marketing theme, "What can brown do for you?"

"Mom, if you were in a German shiza video you'd tell me right?" - Cartman
posted by Perigee at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2003


oog, Rand's logos didn't look like other logos. They were simple, elegant, and usually conveyed more about a what a company does than most modern logos do.
posted by mrbula at 10:39 AM on April 4, 2003


so, let me get this straight. old logo = looked like several other logos, including logos made by the same artist. this is "classic."

Um, no. Old logo = logo created by a single person which identified the company in a unique way. Nobody said anything about it looking like other logos.

New logo = logo created by a committee of god knows who and looks a lot like these other pieces of crap or (as noted above) these.
posted by jeremias at 10:41 AM on April 4, 2003


ZZZZzzzzz......
posted by scarabic at 10:43 AM on April 4, 2003


So this new logo somehow conveys "synchronizing"? Pu-leeze.

If UPS really wants to do something to improve their image I can save them $20 million and make them some extra cash in the process: start selling their trucks. I always wanted one of those classic brown babies with a translucent roof. It was going to be my mobile architecture office.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:46 AM on April 4, 2003


mrbula got it. The old logo had a parasignal (the tied package) that conveyed the idea that the company handled parcels.

This is an important aspect of logo design that appears to have been completely overlooked in favor of 'taste of the moment' style.

So, this new logo is real swoopy, and 3d. What the hell does that tell me about the company or their purpose?
posted by Kikkoman at 10:48 AM on April 4, 2003


new logo looks like a whole bunch of logos that no one has given examples of. this is "hitler."

Godwin's Law. Thread's dead.

Oh, if you want examples, try here.

Or here.

Or here.
posted by zanpo at 10:51 AM on April 4, 2003


That Yale logo sort of sucks, though. As does the cummins if I'm not mistaken. I can't believe I said that Rand's design "sucks". Let's just say I don't much like the Yale one.
posted by Wood at 11:05 AM on April 4, 2003


On a side note, I remember when metafilter seemed to break everything. Now we have links like this one that I read on multiple blogs several weeks ago.

When the hell did that happen?


I think it was after everyone got their own blogs and stopped posting "the good stuff" here.
posted by mathowie at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2003


Some commentary by designers, including some details you guys have been asking about(who did the redesign, etc) at SpeakUp.
posted by Su at 11:17 AM on April 4, 2003


On a side note, I remember when metafilter seemed to break everything. Now we have links like this one that I read on multiple blogs several weeks ago.

When the hell did that happen?

<whine>I was going to do it Mom! Just five more minutes!</whine>

I think the old logo looked better, but the parcel on top made it dated, so dropped that and just leaving the shield, would've worked. I am not sure the 3D effect will translate well across the board.
posted by riffola at 11:26 AM on April 4, 2003


That Yale logo sort of sucks, though.

It looks like something you would doodle while in a boring class. Apparently they decided they didn't actually need a logo -- their website doesn't have one.
posted by smackfu at 11:39 AM on April 4, 2003


Here's a Paul Rand tribute including a nice page of logos he designed.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:41 AM on April 4, 2003


On a side note, I remember when metafilter seemed to break everything. Now we have links like this one that I read on multiple blogs several weeks ago.

I guess we don't have embedded MeFite reporters in the UPS marketing department. I'll get right on that.

I'm always nervous about posting here because invariably it will annoy someone. If I were to post some 'breaking news', someone would cry 'NEWSFILTER!'... so I guess there's no pleasing everyone.
posted by zanpo at 11:53 AM on April 4, 2003


angry modem - I like the new Gateway logo. MM was going for the obvious Nazi SS style. Subway sucks.

I do like the old UPS logo better that the new "home alarm system" style.

grrarrgh00 - Ever notice the negative space arrow between the E and X in the Fed-Ex logo? Some folks here at my work had never noticed it before.
posted by quirked at 12:00 PM on April 4, 2003


the new logo looks like a badge for one of those rent-a-cop security agencies. you know the type.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 12:05 PM on April 4, 2003


Ever notice the negative space arrow between the E and X in the Fed-Ex logo? Some folks here at my work had never noticed it before.

I was just going to mention that. A photography professor of mine uses the Fed-Ex logo as a way of trying to show how to visually deconstruct and critique photographs.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:08 PM on April 4, 2003


Does anyone really see this logo lasting 10 years? Much less 40? the Old logo is a classic because it was applied well for a long time. This thing will be out of style next year.
posted by rschroed at 12:10 PM on April 4, 2003


Yo! Quirked and SweetJesus, check the mouseover text on my link!
posted by grrarrgh00 at 12:29 PM on April 4, 2003


I'm sure the money it took to come up with this hideous logo will be passed on to consumers.

Yup. The cost is definitely getting passed on to UPS customers. There was a significant rate increase this year not too long before the unveiling of this ad campaign. Especially hard hit are low-volume shippers, like me, who now must pay the exhorbitant rates that one-off customer counter shippers pay. My effective rates went up over 35% this year. But I didn't pass that on to my customers, I just started using the US postal service much more. When I did this I lowered my minimum shipping fee and passed the savings on. UPS=very small business unfriendly.
posted by AstroGuy at 12:34 PM on April 4, 2003


Nothing profound to add, just a vote for the old logo. Rand's work is pleasing to me, and I think I feel very uncomfortable saying that. Does finding a corporate tool's work *really neat-o* creep anyone else out? It is obvious that he had a grasp on design, it is just too bad that his skill was co-opted.
posted by ArcAm at 1:48 PM on April 4, 2003


From UPS's "Brand Backgrounder": "The package with the bow above the shield has been removed, giving the logo room to communicate the many other capabilities of today's UPS."

Right. So, by not communicating any one capability in particular, you're communicating many? I don't get it. Also, the logo changeover won't be complete until 2009.
posted by dayvin at 1:50 PM on April 4, 2003


wow [/underwhelmed]

Yet
a - n - o - t - h - e - r
swish
or swoosh
logo.

Leave it to UPS to "whoosh" back-to-the-future with the adoption of a good ole snappy, keen, "Millennium Orbital Crescent Swish" logo direct from the mid-latter days of the previous century.

Don't they know the swoosh is a dead end? What in Heaven's name were they thinking?

Swoosh indeed.

Here's looking at you, Brown.
posted by Dunvegan at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2003


I am in charge of shipping for our company and UPS actually called me to tell me a new logo would be coming out and that it would not affect my business with them And that they hope we liked it. Stupid, stupid waste of a phone call.

For the record, I like the old one.
posted by domino at 2:45 PM on April 4, 2003


On an auxilliary note, it's sad that the outdated part of the logo is the package tied with string. I wish more people still did that. It's really a lost art.
posted by Hildago at 2:50 PM on April 4, 2003


UPS has a (well-hidden, for some reason) website explaining the branding process they've gone through recently. Among other things, they found that the brown trucks and uniforms were well-liked by customers, so will be retained, but they also tested the addition of other colors than brown and gold, so you'll be seeing those in certain contexts. (Perhaps they're jealous of FedEx with its FedEx Ground (née Roadway Express) and other specialized services. Also, they point out the historical fact that the very first UPS trucks were painted different colors -- so that customers would know they had more than one truck!) There's even a PDF media kit. They point out that the bow-tied package was inappropriate (and had probably been seen so for years) because UPS has not accepted tied packages for "several decades" due to the use of high-speed sorting machinery. Also, they wanted to have a logo that allowed them to reflect their move into supply-chain management, as well as the recent purchase of Mailboxes Etc. and their eventual rebranding as The UPS Store.

Me, I don't mind the logo, though I agree it seems more anonymous than before. I think the old one had reached the end of its useful life, even discounting the inappropriateness of the bow-tied package. I don't think the new logo conveys movement very well; the primary visual association I get from it is an opening door hinged on the right (but the truck doors slide either sideways or up). The 3D effect is hip but won't likely age well (they do have flat variations). The typeface used does seem to reflect, with just a hint of retro, the lineage of the company back to the 20s and 30s -- something that's hard to pull off while simultaneously hyping a high-tech image. On balance I don't think this one will last another 40 years. On the other hand, companies today don't seem, generally, to expect to last themselves that long, which may affect whether they judge logos as "for the ages" or not.
posted by dhartung at 3:46 PM on April 4, 2003


LOL. They're already having trouble with the new logo, and even admit so on their site (buried deep within, can't remember how I got there, but they have a table listing how all of their assets will be affected by the new branding. Under Aircraft it says:

Refreshing the look of the UPS planes required months of test painting, using a spare 727 aircraft, followed by design adaptations for each of the many aircraft types in UPS's fleet. One challenge alone appeared when applying the new three-dimensional logo design to their tails. To create this look, designers applied a special "masking" paint system to give the logo the unique three-dimensional appearance.

posted by robbie01 at 3:49 PM on April 4, 2003


Looks like something a Jack Kirby superhero would wear on his chest or shield.

Personally, I think logos should change all the time. They have a powerful psychological effect, like they're faces, perhaps affecting us in ways we shouldn't be by the legal-fictions that are corporations. When they do change its almost like they're different, "people."

Maybe its just me, but our collective obsession over brands and logos suggests otherwise. So are you a Ford of Chevy man?
posted by skallas at 4:07 PM on April 4, 2003


check the mouseover text on my link!

Another reason to convey your message in the actual text.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:58 PM on April 4, 2003


I agree completely with mschmidt at k10k, they turned it into a fucking OS X icon.

Actually, that was him quoting me. =)


The new UPS logo is a trendy piece of crap.
the lensflare/circular gradient look is flashy right now - but in 5-10 years it may be extremely dated looking.

Rand had the uncanny ability to make logos that were somehow pertinent far beyond their time.

Some of the design work he did for Ford about 30 years ago looks exactly like all of these techno fonts we're seeing crawl out of the sewers nowadays. But Ford wouldn't bite. It was too far out there.

But all in all, he had an incredible knack for simple, communicative, timeless designs.

I agree that FedEx has a very beautiful logotype.
Guess what?
It was redesigned about 2 years ago.
But they didn't create a new logo, they refined it without destorying the intergrity of the original.

I could go on and on about all of the basic typographic/design problems with the new UPS logo - but it won't do any good.
We'll just have to lay to rest Rand's beautiful work - keep it in our books.

They could have easily spent 2 million on a refinement and slow rollout . . .
sad, sad day.
*tears well up*

At least we've still got the ABC logo.
but that UPS thing still looks like a fuckin OS X Photoshop filter icon.


I'm still mad.
posted by cinderful at 3:25 AM on April 5, 2003


Here is a logo I've liked since I first saw it a couple years ago. Hint: look at it upside down. %)
posted by kindall at 9:49 AM on April 5, 2003


kindall, are you familiar with john langdon?

The 3D thing on the new logo just looks tacky to me - comic book superhero type deal. Is it some kind of hip-retro-tacky i'm not catching onto? The old one was stylish, but it's true it was old fashioned, so what could they do but swooshify... A whole new look would have been too disorienting... but fedex has the sharp, modern look; ups's advantage was their old-fashioned familiarity -
posted by mdn at 12:39 PM on April 5, 2003


Yeah, I've heard of Langdon. Hadn't seen his site though. Thanks for the pointer.
posted by kindall at 8:28 PM on April 5, 2003


Here is a logo I've liked since I first saw it a couple years ago. Hint: look at it upside down. %)

Oooh, I agree. That xpedx logo is fascinating. I first saw it on a truck and it inexplicably caught my attention, couldn't figure out why, until I grokked its left-right, up-down, mirror symmetry. Now that is some clever design.

BTW, thanks to whoever posted the link to the design discussion. Quotes such as this...

However, I am fouled in my appreciation by the childish and just plain stupid type. Each letter is wrong wrong wrong! The "u" is neutered without a tail (or foot or finial); The "p" is bloated in the way it swells up over the other two, which does nothing to give height to the center element (if that was the aim); and the "s"--which looks like Gill to me but isn't, surely--is so sharp in contrast to the doughy flab of the other two. I drop my shoe in protest! By jickity!

...are priceless. Clever lot, those designers.
posted by spacewaitress at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2003


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