Update April 4, 2011: This post is an April Fools. All the design was executed by the talented Matt Stevens. Links to the domain www.myhomedepot.us won’t work as I have released the domain back to the registry. This is what www.homedepot.us looked like on Friday.
Established in 1978 with two 60,000-square-feet stores in Atlanta, GA, and stocking up to 25,000 different SKUs at the time, Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer, the fourth largest retailer in the U.S., it is ranked number 29 in the Fortune 500, and let’s face it, one of the coolest chain stores ever. Seriously. Where else can you walk out with a bag of screws, a door, and a riding mower? These days, Home Depot has 1,972 stores in the U.S., Canada, China, and Mexico. Each store averages a whopping 105,000 square feet plus an average of 23,000 square feet for the outside garden area. Quite amazingly too, for a retailer of that size, every employee on the floor I have ever asked a question to has been friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful — and I’ve been to a Home Depot in Brooklyn on a Sunday, they are unflappable. This week a picture surfaced on Twitter that indicated a new logo was being tested and, today, that change has been confirmed with the unveiling of a new logo and updated identity system.
Our continued commitment to our customers over the last thirty years is reflected in the new logo. Retaining the recognizable orange square extends the history of the company into the twenty-first century while the revised, open-ended lettering communicates our pledge to be accessible to our customers. The new logo honors our history and involvement in the local communities we serve.
— Press Release
The old logo was dated and overly generic. Just your run-of-the-mill stencil font — called, actually, Stencil and bundled in Microsoft Office — angled at 45 degrees and hard to read at small sizes. Memorable and recognizable, yes, but so are the Verizon logo and Charlie Sheen. The new stencil typography is remarkably nice, keeping a tie with the old logo but adding much needed sophistication without losing the DIY feel. Blowing up the “H” reveals the soft rounded corners of the wordmark and, placed inside the square but barely inching outward, it creates a great set of counter forms that give it an almost abstract look. Or if one were to look for shapes in clouds, it could almost look like a flat-head screw about to engage in some building action, if you know what I mean.
The rest of the identity is complemented by a bold and friendly slab serif — anybody know what exactly it is? — that works great against the orange background and what looks like a new color palette, and I say “new” as in Home Depot has never really appeared to have a color palette beyond orange. There is also the logo-as-window approach with the square taking on different backgrounds. It’s kind of obvious in a way, and the images are as dull as a bag of cement, but I imagine this being a very big deal for Home Depot, to let its logo take on different looks.
The identity extends to Home Depot’s involvement with NASCAR, where they are the primary sponsor for the #20 Home Depot Racing Team since 1999. The “#20 Home Depot Racing Machine” has been most famously piloted by 1999 Rookie of the Year Tony Stewart and will debut the new design at the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 in Martinsville Speedway in Virginia this Sunday with Joey Logano, another Rookie of the Year, at the wheel.
Overall, this is a fantastic evolution for Home Depot and even if it loses a little bit of that blue collar, hardworking, non-designed aesthetic in favor of a more “designed” approach, the new identity still says “Come everyone, and get your toilet, your ceiling fan, and your power tool that you will use one day and then stash in your garage!”. Or something to that effect.