If you live in the Netherlands and are in need of a new set of tools or paint supplies, you may find yourself heading to a newly rebranded Praxis. The popular hardware store chain consists of 136 stores, including some smaller franchises and 26 megastores. The new design has quietly appeared with little explanation or fanfare.
The new identity is a big departure for the chain, which is comparable to US based Ace Hardware, Lowe’s or Home Depot.
The logo is tightly set in what appears to be all lowercase Helvetica Neue Black Extended, while its hammerhead has been replaced by a yellow square. The color palette has changed, as well. Yellow, a longstanding equity of the brand but now eclipsed by a large quantity of white, has been reduced to an accent.
The resulting logo seems to lack all its predecessor’s substance. While the last iteration was due for a refresh, at least the logo was unique and recognizable. The hammer clearly communicated their line of business.
The change seems arbitrary. The tagline is the same as it was and the positioning materials available still reflect the other logo. Perhaps the company felt compelled to more accurately reflect their varied offerings — products, of course, but also decorative advice and even TV programming. Maybe the hammer was not versatile enough.
Praxis, the name, sounds like “praktisch” which means “practical” in Dutch. This new design seems the opposite. In fact, the introduction of a redesign, without any reason or public acknowledgement, seems like an irresponsible use of money — the cost of revising the store signage, alone, calls for greater purpose. It is a disappointing follow-up to the last logo, which was memorable, and while not perfect, at least communicated something about the brand.