These Girls Rock is the “brand platform” launched in 2005 to support the positioning and five-year plan of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), and mid-way through that plan the LPGA has unveiled a new identity. Well, in addition to being a little chauvinistic by labeling the women of golf Girls (or is that just me?) the new identity developed by SME doesn’t necessarily Rock.
While conceptually a new image that projects “power, strength and athleticism” and “highlights [LPGA’s] international membership and global business” seems like a good idea, the resulting “swinging lady” identity reminds me more of an Olympic Games logo than that of a professional golf association. And it is difficult to get over how amazingly similar (and ironic) it is to Greg Norman’s “Shark” logo (the highly successful businessman and professional golfer from Australia). The new brush strokes are much more feminine than the old, but something is not quite right.
The brush strokes look a bit forced in some areas, or as if they were drawn by different people. For example, the hair, arm and highly accentuated backside have all been rendered with very elegant curves and careful attention to the thickness of the strokes. The golf “swing” and legs, in addition to being a little disproportionate and stubby-looking, are very mechanical and perfectly computer-generated. And what exactly is that supposed to be for the head? The unkempt hair (that resembles more of a mop top or even a duck’s head) seems to contradict the association’s professional and polished image.
Typographically, the LPGA’s new brand represents a huge improvement over the old. The serif LPGA within the green box has given way to a more contemporary sans serif typeface that is unique and forward-thinking, but not too cheesy or “futuristic.” My only complaint is that the strokes appear to be too thin—making them bolder would aide in reproducing the brand at small sizes.
Speaking of reproduction issues, one of the goals of the new brand, according to Bill Susetka, the LPGA’s chief marketing officer, was to create “a logo that we could easily reproduce on merchandise, billboards and signage” — and judging from the amount of stuff in the newly minted LPGA Pro Shop (do note the These Girls Rock badge there) — then I think they picked a very difficult one (anyone who has ever sent a multicolor job like this to an embroiderer can tell you that this is no picnic to stitch onto hats, polos, etc. and if anyone is into hats, polos, etc. it’s golfers).
All print collateral, even their business cards and letterhead, will have to be printed in full color as opposed to just one or two, meaning more expense (granted, in the quantities that they produce them, this probably is not an issue). And then there are consistency issues when dealing with different vendors and different versions of the logo: when printing on a white or light background, the logo uses blue strokes and type; when on dark colors (see the new LPGA site), the blue is reversed to white. The resulting logo loses its effectiveness as the white overpowers and competes with the other colors.
These Girls Rock might be an appropriate description for the ladies of professional golf, but unfortunately it is not necessarily the case for their new brand: Too Olympic-like, too similar to another male golf icon’s brand, the LPGA’s mark could have been a little more refined in its execution. Granted, it is a dramatic change and long overdue (the previous iteration had been in use since 1992). I will even go so far as to say that it is an improvement over the old, but definitely not a hole-in-one.