Marissa's Tumblr: Geeking Out on the Logo

September 6, 2013

Marissa's Tumblr: Geeking Out on the Logo


So, tonight we unveiled the new Yahoo logo, concluding our 30 days of change.

We hadn’t updated our logo in 18 years. Our brand, as represented by the logo, has been valued at as much as ~$10 billion dollars. So, while it was time for a change, it’s not something we could do lightly.

Yahoo’s new logo is not good.

Here’s the old logo:

Old Yahoo logo

This logo had a cohesive structure. Serifs lead the viewer’s eye from one letter form to the next. The tilt and heft of the exclamation mark balances out the fat trunk of the Y on the left. The entire thing looks like an old-timey steam train traveling on uneven terrain. It’s friendly, informal, cohesive, and fun.

Here’s the new logo:

New Yahoo logo

First of all, Yahoo’s choice of Optima as a base font is bizarre. Optima is a quiet, elegant, precisely-machined font, perfectly suited for refined, high-end product branding. It’s definitely more “fashion” than “fun”:

Estee Lauder logo

Marks and Spencer logo
The refined characteristics of the Optima typeface demand precise typesetting. The typeface relies on a dead-straight baseline for its horizontal flow, and precise kerning to maintain its voice. In other words, it conveys the exact opposite of Yahoo’s playful character. The cringe-inducing amounts of stretching, resizing, and let’s-screw-up-the-kerning-and-baseline-for-the-hell-of-it adjustments in the new logo remind me of someone taking a Burberry suit and purposely cutting one sleeve longer than the other “just for fun”.

New Yahoo logo

The new logo lacks the flow of the original. Taking away serifs means that the viewer’s eye is no longer directed across the logo. Because the font has such contrasting stroke widths with strong emphasis on the vertical, the logo is dominated by a set of vertical lines, which disrupt the the reading flow from left to right. Normally, a precise baseline works to counter this effect, but since that’s gone, what remains is a jagged mix of vertical lines chopping the logo into pieces. The addition of the “chisel” effect doesn’t help either. It adds even more vertical lines to the mix.

The endcaps of the logo are no longer anchors in space. The Y and ! are far too anemic to hold the logo together.

And lastly, the logo is full of definitely-not-fun sharp corners. The scalloped ends of each letterform are like razor-sharp horns at the ends of sticks, ready to cut your fingers if you were so inclined to run them across the logo.

In the end, a logo should communicate your brand and what it stands for. This logo doesn’t do the job nearly as well as the old one did.

I don’t like it.

Update: Hello, Daring Fireball readers!

Maniacal Rage: So let me get this straight: Your company is circling the drain, your...

August 30, 2013

Maniacal Rage: So let me get this straight: Your company is circling the drain, your...


So let me get this straight: Your company is circling the drain, your latest console was a flop, your first-party software comes out way too infrequently and even when it does it’s not nearly as good as it used to be, and all you’ve really got going for you is an awkward,…

"Good luck with that" is right. Also, that thing is astonishingly ugly.

Microsoft offers classrooms free Surface RT tablets

August 22, 2013

Microsoft offers classrooms free Surface RT tablets


Tom Warren:

While Microsoft is offering its discounted Surface RT hardware to schools directly, the Bing for Schools initiative also allows classrooms to earn free tablets for using the service. Classrooms, teachers, parents, or anyone can use the Bing Rewards program to collect credits towards free Surface RT tablets for schools. Each school will be rewarded a Surface RT when they reach 30,000 credits, which Microsoft says is the equivalent of around 60 Bing users using the service regularly for a month. The pilot kicks off today, and schools can register their interest in future plans through Microsoft’s Bing for Schools site.

Indirectly pay schools to get their students to use a service they don’t want to use by offering them a product they don’t want to use. Just sad.

I love my 335i

August 20, 2013

Copyright ©2013 Dave Rahardja

My Review of the Jobs movie [u]

August 17, 2013

It felt more like a vague recollection, rather than a documentary. The movie focused almost entirely on the emotions associated with each moment in time, rather than factual history.

The movie was notable in that it ignored everything about Jobs that was seen in the public eye: his presentations, his purchase of Pixar, his launch and near-failure of Next. Instead, it focused on key events between public appearances. I really enjoyed that. But, you have to be reasonably well-versed in Apple history to make sense of it.

The characters felt flat and under-developed. What drove them to do what they did? What were they afraid of? How did they think through their challenges? We never get to learn. Even Ashton’s Jobs character felt stereotypical. He rapidly changed from an idealistic, rebellious college dropout to a driven and idealistic product designer and marketer…and then stopped changing, even after his failure at Next. Though the movie did show that he focused more on home life after his ouster, it never explained why. It was unsatisfying at best.

Ironically, the most charismatic character to me was Mike Markkula. He was portrayed as the constant in the turmoil, Steve’s anchor in the boardroom. He provided a reality check throughout the movie.

The movie narrative stopped in the year 2001. Consequently, it didn’t deal with the rise of the iPod, iMac, iPhone, and iPad, products that were just as disruptive as the Apple ][ and the Mac. It didn’t examine how Jobs turned around and asked Microsoft to invest in the Mac to give it an air of legitimacy, after Jobs had threatened to destroy Gates’ company years before. It didn’t deal with Apple’s love-hate relationship with Google. And it didn’t deal with Jobs’ declining health and premature death. It felt incomplete.

In sum, the movie was a collection of nostalgia from the original Apple gang, not a documentary. Many parts simply did not ring true.

But it’s still enjoyable to watch. Go see it if you can.

But just remember, we don’t have escalators in Infinite Loop. Just saying.

Update: After seeing Steve Wozniak’s unenthusiastic reaction to the movie, I don’t think I can recommend this movie any more. If you have an argument about what happened during Apple’s early days with Steve Wozniak and you insist on contradicting what he says—well, you’re an idiot, but Ashton Kutcher did just that. It’s pretty obvious now that this movie is not even close to how it all happened.