i wanted to share some of graham smith's excellent analysis of foursquare's new logo. i was going to write my own take on this but felt his analysis was such a smart lesson in how to think about branding and logo design i decided to just share it as is. the point at the end about incorporating references into a logo (or not) is especially interesting. i cut some of his language for brevity but everything below is directly from him! you can read the full post here.
"Foursquare's New Logo Redesign Goes Superhero
Direct from the folks at Foursquare: “…if you build a totally new app, you need a totally new logo. Our logo is changing from the check-in checkmark to something representing the new Foursquare. We designed it to be a mix of map pin and superhero emblem. We’ve always thought of Foursquare as giving you superpowers to explore your city, and our new logo reflects that vision. It’s coming soon to a homescreen near you.”
The logotype/wordmark/brand name yada yada, is pretty nice: it has presence, it’s pretty damn solid, has a nice rich almost Ultra Violet style to the colouring.
I also like the two colours, but they also remind me a little too much of the Flickr colour palette.
What is meant to be super is really really bad.
That ‘F’, that is a map-pin, and a superhero emblem just looks awful. The pinky outer keyline is far too kludgy, the outer corner radius look far too large compared to the inner radius. Which then leads to the corner radius of the ‘F’ which looks like an afterthought, BUT don’t come close to matching the far softer corner radius on the Foursquare wording.
Why oh why could they not have at least kept some consistency with the corner radius from the superhero ‘F’ emblem to that in the main wording? That would have at least made up for one of the most awkward looking logomark and logotype miss-matches I have seen in a long time.
There is nothing in this combination logo that looks like it should be one of a nice and cohesive whole. It’s super disjointed at best.
The typography for the main Foursquare brand name is really good, has a strong presence to it, and has style. What I simply cannot get my head around is how completely unsymbiotic the relationship between this and that God awful superhero ‘F’ emblem really is.
I’m not even sure a map-pin, as a visual reference, was ever needed, especially how long Foursquare has been around. It’s not like Foursquare is a new brand having something to prove about it’s mission and purpose, and almost feels ever so slightly patronising.
The map-pin reference is way too over dramatic, and unnecessary. Almost sure a classy icon could have been crafted from that really strong logotype without force serving up well used, and tired visual cliches.
The new Foursquare logotype is all grown-up, yet the icon feels it’s taken a huge backwards step in this established brand’s maturity. "