Launched in 1999, eHow, a “leading online destination for practical, trusted advice and know-how,” has grown into one of the most commonly stumbled upon websites as it hosts over 2 million articles that provide basic answers on how to do almost everything: from How to Bake Chicken (ranked “Easy”) to How to Introduce a New Logo to a Customer Base (“Moderately Challenging”). Like the subject of our last post, typeF, eHow is owned by Demand Media and has an interesting, if slightly scary business model (reported thoroughly in a 2009 article on Wired magazine) where freelance writers and/or videographers produce dozens of good-but-not-too-good articles and/or videos under very low pay but as long as the articles do well over time, the freelancers get paid residuals. In January alone, eHow attracted over 80 million unique users worldwide and this month it introduced a new logo.
I had stumbled across eHow many times and although I found some of the information helpful I really questioned the reliability of it all based on its logo and the aesthetics of website design, which I can best describe as a combination of generic web design and Nigerian scam. The new logo and website is much more lifestyle-y and feels like a modern-day content provider that will appeal to that vast demographic of 80 million people. At first glance the logo is striking with its bright green color and bold letterforms. With the folded paper approach, the logo looks like “fun” and crafty and likely to answer any question that begins with “How do I…”. Upon closer inspection, some of the details are kind of weird, mainly the “o” where no one could figure out how a circle would fold and the “w” which only has one fold, and based, on the fold-happy “H”, there is no reason why the “w” couldn’t have a few more. But these are minor nitpicks that the revolving door audience of eHow will not care about. The logo is not perfect, but neither is the content or quality of eHow. It’s good enough and sometimes that’s all that’s needed.