Let’s be blunt: logos are hard. Everyone has an opinion on what defines a great logo, and, typically, no one defines greatness the same way. Graphic designers are hired, and samples are created and distributed. Everyone looks for that “aha” moment; the logo that jumps out and says, “I embody everything this business stands for.” Rarely does that aha moment come, and eventually a sort of fatigue sets in (“I could live with that one”; “I frankly can’t tell the difference between these two”), and a logo no one loves, but few hate is settled upon.
Other times, the process is less structured. For instance, the Newbury Comics logo (and this may be apocryphal) was created by founder, Mike Dreese’s, young daughter. No committee here, and it’s certainly served the company well over the years.
Well, I’d guess that the exact opposite of the Newbury process took place to create the new Wal-Mart logo. I can only imagine the amount of time and money that was spent to create this logo:
Then first thing you notice is that it’s no longer Wal [hyphen] Mart. Now Walmart is all one word (no mixed cases, either). I suppose that is to make it appear “friendlier”; sort of like a first name. The second thing you see is the huge asterisk at the end. I’d guess the designer was going for some kind of explosion of radiant light type deal. To me it just looks like a huge asterisk of the type you’d use to signify that there is more information in a footnote.
To see the progression that got Wal-Mart…er…Walmart to this place, here is the history of their logo:
I personally like the first one (1962-1964).
So…Logos are hard. Logos are important. But, my experience is that the company will sort of define the logo. No company is great because they have a great logo, and no company fails because their logo sucks. Additionally, as is seen from Walmart’s “development” of their logo, logos change. Need more proof? Here’s Apple’s original logo:
So, don’t spend too much time or money on developing a logo. Create something you can live with, and go out and build a great company.
[Thanks to Daring Fireball for the inspiration and links.]