Established in 1990, Unitrin is a provider of automobile, homeowners, life, and health insurance to individuals and small businesses. Unitrin has over 7,000 employees and counts with more than 6 million policyholders. Although probably less well known, it competes with Nationwide and State Farm insurance, two companies with more aggressive advertising campaigns. In 2002, Unitrin acquired Kemper Independence Insurance and last week it announced that it would be adopting the Kemper name. The new identity has been designed by Lippincott.
“Kemper is a legendary name in the insurance industry. We are excited that our new brand will help foster a unified approach for our family of companies to serve our current customers as well as attract new ones,” said Southwell. […] The Kemper “K”, composed of two overlapping triangles, is designed to represent the Kemper qualities of being trustworthy and attuned to its customers’ needs. The gold color reflects the warmth and approachability of the Kemper brand and its team members.
— Lippincott project page
If I had to choose a name of the two options, I would certainly go with Kemper. Unitrin sounds like a pill you take when you can’t pee regularly. Or, speaking more seriously, it sounds like a faceless giant corporation with an empty name. Kemper on the other hand sounds like the last name of your golfing buddy. Easier to pronounce, easier to remember. Although equity-wise — at least in terms of web-cred — Kemper has a lot of ground to cover. A Google search for it, brings back 5 or 7 other things before listing the new corporation. But at least they have a nice, new logo.
The abstract “K” icon has a welcome simplicity and looks quite swell with the subtle gradient. The choice of yellow — excuse me, gold — is a great way of separating it from its competitors and having ownership of it within the insurance industry. The name, typeset in Gotham, does its job of supporting the icon and not calling too much attention to itself. In application the logo is accompanied by Emigre’s Vista Sans, which is a sans serif different enough from Gotham to work well as a pair. The sample brochures shown are a little dopey for my taste with sappy stock photography and under-developed illustrations with a bad gradient. Overall, this new identity operates within very safe territory, signaling change without ruffling any feathers. Or customers.