Thursday, February 02, 2006

Kodak steps back to move forward

In a surprise move, Eastman Kodak Company CEO Antonio Perez unveiled the new Kodak logo on January 6 at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. While many marketing analysts agree that Kodak’s logo needed an update, few expected so drastic a change (right).

While the new logo is fresh, modern, and assertive, it is, in my opinion, a much weaker symbol than the familiar “K-bug” (left). But here’s the shocker: the K-bug is technically not even the old logo. The old logo is just the word Kodak in red, like the new one. The bug was developed as an easy way to include trade dress (Kodak red and Kodak yellow) on anything Kodak. But it has developed into such an integral part of Kodak’s identity system that it has literally become the “signature” of Kodak. So I was mystified when the firm Kodak hired to design the new logo decided to scrap it. That’s right. It’s gone. And without anything suitable to replace it, Kodak’s brand recognition will be seriously undermined. If I were working for Ogilvy, I’d have sooner scrapped the red Kodak logotype than the bug. BIG city design firms don’t always get it right though, thank goodness. It gives the small guys more work to do.

Perhaps though, the change is appropriate. Kodak has become a much smaller company in the last decade, shedding film and chemical divisions ad nauseum and wreaking havoc on our local economy. But in the process, it has managed to both slow the bleeding, and become a major player in the digital imaging market. The company the brought us the “Kodak Moment” is never going to become the company it was forty years ago, but it is competing on the same level as the other top digital camera manufacturers. The new logo appropriately reflects the company’s descent from the world’s imaging leader to a comparable consumer electronics company.


Priscilla said...

I have to agree with you. It's like unwrapping a Christmas present only to find something...blah. Hey. I like the little picture of you. It really looks like you. How'd you do that? From, your favorite aunt.

Bethany said...

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