Heard from both Michael Ashby and Russell Beattie that Palm, Inc. (formerly palmOne) has a new logomark as of today. If you don't know, PalmSource sold the rights to the Palm name back to palmOne at the recent DevCon and July 14th was the day palmOne changed to Palm. Confused yet? :-)
Names aside, I wanted to comment on the new logo design, from a designer's perspective. Here are the original and new logo, side by side (thanks to Russ):
Too Much Orange
Russell Beattie seemed to dislike the orange ball versus the original black and blue mark:
Call me a stick in the mud, but I think the new Palm logo doesn't have the same cool-factor that the first one did. The old one reminds me of BMW - especially when you see it as a button on a device - it conveys a sense of technical excellence. The new one is like a dot-com startup which alludes to the old logo, but then adds orange as a sign of “innovation,” but I don't think it works.
I agree. I love orange, but in this case I think the color doesn't display enough weight. That, combined with the very light gradated metal ring edge, further reduces the 'gravitas' of the mark. Hardware has weight and volume, so by representing the company with such a bright, light logo, I feel the substantial presence projected by the original mark is lost.
I actually dislike the new typeface more than the colors. The original typeface was very vertical and compressed, yet was quite easy to read in an instant. The original blue mark was immediately identifiable, while the new orange mark takes a few seconds to process. This is even more of an issue having such a bright color and weak gray gradation ring around it — there is literally no weight to make the mark stand out. Even worse, the white type on orange is difficult to read.
Notice how short the new font is compared to the original — the height of the palm letters are half of the very tall, compressed letter forms of the original logo. This is a pretty big deal, because it limits how small the mark can be on hardware, websites, printed materials and so forth. Because of this very small font size, the new mark on Treos and LifeDrives will have to be larger than the original logo.
The original compressed typeface scaled quite well to small sizes — to prove this, look at the flat, one-color Palm logomark on most new Palm OS devices. The new shorter font just doesn't scale well at small sizes — the “a” starts looking like an “o” and there is less vertical area to help your eye sort out the letter forms.
It's too bad Palm felt they had to do something new, because they've lost an excellent, memorable and readable logo mark. Honestly, I think even hard-core Palm fans like me are still confused who truly “owned” the Palm name.