Apologies for lack of a better word, but the new eBay logo really does piss me off. Before we get to that I want to mention my own thoughts about the old logo (shown below) which was used from 1995. A lot of people have been saying that the old logo was dull and outdated. In some respects I can agree with that, the multiply effect of the colouring caused by the overlapping letterforms is no longer a revelation and the typeface choices aren’t exactly plucked from a modern type foundry but at least it relayed a message to the viewer, even if it was very subliminal.
To me, the overlapping letters symbolise a community engaging and trading with one another. I also love that the type is not set on one baseline and so the random arrangement looks jumbled, which I take as being a hint towards the site being a huge place to find and purchase anything that you need. Like one giant jumble sale.
Now that eBay has announced they are shifting focus away from auction listings to compete with the biggest online retailer, Amazon, they obviously felt that the previous traits of the logo were no longer needed and I can understand that. So let’s take a look at the new logo below:
Set in Univers Extended, the overall look is undoubtedly much cleaner than it’s predecessor. I also like how the colours have been toned down slightly (especially the blue) to achieve a more harmonious palette. Yes, the tight kerning makes the characters touch one another so there is at least some attention to detail, but other than that what else is there to remark upon?
I am a big supporter of the notion that ‘less is more’, but I feel that there is a trend developing whereby this is being taken to new and unnecessary extremes. eBay aren’t the first to opt for the ultra safe option for their new identity and I’m pretty certain that others are going to follow suit. We’ve already seen Domino’s and Microsoft strip down their logo to nothing more than the bare essentials. I’d put money on this new trend will be come a cliche sooner than later as start-ups often tend to try and imitate the big hitters.
The problem is though, if you take too much away (especially when rebranding), a logo can lose it’s character and the connection that it once had with its target audience. This new eBay logo doesn’t say anything to me other than trying to be like everyone else and in a way they have lost a big part of their identity. I just hope that new logos of huge corporations in the future dare to be a little different.