Established in 1988 as Cellular South, C Spire, as it has been renamed this September, is the largest privately held wireless provider in the United States and the 9th largest carrier in the U.S.. Perhaps not the most impressive bragging rights, but it’s a start. One impressive bragging right, though, is that C Spire got the right to sell the iPhone, ahead of bigger players like T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. C Spire has over 1,200 employees and 75 retail stores across the South, mainly in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida, where the majority of its one million customers reside. With the name change came a new identity, both created by Lippincott.
There is no expressed reasoning on the new name, but there are a couple obvious reasons. First, “Cellular South” instantly limited the growth of the company to other markets, where they are actually offering their services, so having a regional name meant a regional customer base. Something more general and, yes, generic at least puts it in a broader market. Second, yeah… I don’t know what the second reason is for calling it “C Spire”. Cellular Inspiration? Be inspired by cell phones? Maybe. But like T-Mobile, it somehow rolls off the tongue without much trouble despite the oddness of it.
The logo wants to be good, and it almost is, but it falls short. The icon, even though it’s radiating cellular goodness, is rendered too heavily to appear dynamic and energetic, it’s as if the sun gained 50 pounds watching reality TV all of 2011 and then it tried to emanate fat rays. Adding gradients to the icon does it no good either, cheapening the look and feel. In the ads above, the one with the football player inside shows that the logo could be much stronger without the fuzziness of the gradients. The wordmark, set in Gotham Rounded, is decent but falls for far too many trends, including lowercasing for added friendliness and accessibility and the mutilation of the “i“‘s tittle. The rest of the identity extends the gradientapolooza established by the logo and it never backs off — had it relied less on gradients, this could have been a more interesting brand relaunch.