What started as a company producing “decorative laminates” in 1959 in Portugal, Sonae is now one of the countries largest corporations with almost 40,000 employees that work in a mind-numbing range of sectors across various Sonae-owned customer-facing operations: from food retail, to pharmacies, to clothing, to consumer electronics, to managing shopping centers, to telecommunications, to real estate. Basically, it’s hard to throw a stone in Portugal and not hit something owned or operated by Sonae. This past February it launched a new identity created by Lisboa-based Ivity Brand Corp.
We usually have a press release excerpt right about here, but given there was none, this epically narrated video will have to do for an explanation.
Judging from the previous logo and some of the older ones, it’s fair to say that Sonae simply doesn’t have the best of tastes, so you really can’t fault them for moving laterally. Except that, well, with this latest incarnation, they moved backwards leagues beyond redemption. For a conglomerate of this size, this rave flyer aesthetic is completely inappropriate and even if it were appropriate, it is simply annoying and unpleasant. The proportions of the characters and the amount of dots per character are too primitive and the ripple effect is not only distracting but hard to reproduce in a clean way. The 1-color applications are a little better simply because they don’t vibrate so much, but why two, so distinct uses?
The sub-brands and some of the secondary visual elements started to show some very, very slim glimmers of hope that something cool could have come out of this, but everything just feels sloppy and amateurish. Perhaps this identity’s sole saving grace is the custom typeface created by Vanarchiv… not because it is particularly exciting but because at least it is not offensive.