Established in 1990 in Bilbao, Spain, Panda Security is a provider of cloud-based and on-premise security solutions and antivirus software for millions of users across 195 countries. The company is not named after the cute bear but after the short version of pandilla, the Spanish word for “gang” (as in friend-gang, not shooting-everybody-over-a-corner-gang). Back in 2005, Panda was the fourth largest seller in the antivirus software market, behind giants like Symantec and McAfee (and Trend Micro) but growing competition has left Panda a bit behind in terms of recognition. This January, Panda introduced a new identity designed by Saffron.
As online security has become one of the biggest fronts to fight, Panda has had the flexibility to offer simple and effective solutions to the most complex internet issues. This essence was captured in the brand idea of ‘Simplexity’, put plainly; taking complex problems and making them easy through constant innovation. Panda aims to meet its customers through carefree security services.
Going against the usual visual codes rather similar to washing powder, rat poison or super heroes to convey anti-virus solutions, Saffron created a visual identity to express the idea of transforming complexity into simplicity focusing on the solution instead of the problem. The design concept is pure, honest and direct. Playing on an imaginative perception of viruses, it gives an abstract but real threat a face, using an iconic and optimistic language that works across all touch points.
The previous logo was fine and forgettable. Might as well have been called Cardboard because that was the least panda-esque logo to go with that name. The new logo finally brings in a panda in the form of an abstract panda face that is both robotic and cuddly. It plays off the name and the product offering quite well, hinting at both things without falling into either extreme, potentially feeling too cute and playful or too cold and mechanic. The wordmark… Ay dios mio. (OMG). I really don’t know what happened there. Well, actually, I think I do: They stuck with circles and sticks, based on the circular icon. It’s really uncomfortable to look at, making the characters weird and bulgy. It sort of works when rendered small but up close and personal? I’ll take the virus.
Speaking of viruses… this is where the project won me back. I really dig these angry, menacing, evil little red things. They would make for killer 3D toys and giveaways. The “good” icons are also really well done, with a subtle dimensional effect and the same construction as the panda icon.
I left this video towards the end because it’s the best thing about the project. The opening seconds with the viruses taking over the tablet is pretty cool and then the panda taking over is swift and convincing. Nice way of bringing the brand to life. In application, the icon set is used generously with plenty of white space and a thin typeface that contrasts well against the chunky icon and wordmark. Overall, a good deviation from the typical shield-and-lock metaphors and graphics of most security and antivirus products.