Established in 1919, Radioshack is a “national retailer of innovative mobile technology products and services, as well as products related to personal and home technology and power supply needs.” What that means is that it has kind of a double personality: it will sell popular consumer electronic products like Beats headphones and camcorders and other typical stuff but it will also sell the most obscure adapter and cable so that you can connect your blender to your Google Glass. Over 34,000 employees work across a retail network that includes approximately 4,700 company-operated stores in the United States and Mexico. The last time we talked about Radio Shack here was for their “The Shack” campaign, which has come and gone. Its most recent brand message, “Radioshack: Let’s Play” was introduced this March with the purpose of establishing the retailer as “a neighborhood technology playground.” With these two ideas in place, Radioshack has opened a concept store in New York to showcase said playground-ness and introduce a new logo. No design credit given, but the creative agency of record is Grey.
“I am very excited about this store, which brings the essence of our new ‘RadioShack: Let’s Play’ branding to the heart of Manhattan, and I am also thrilled about the support and very positive reactions of our neighbors,” said Joe Magnacca, chief executive officer of RadioShack Corporation. “Our goal at RadioShack is to make our iconic brand relevant to new segments of the consumer market, while reinforcing our commitment to the strong and loyal base of customers who have known RadioShack for many years. We know that all of these consumers like technology when it makes their lives simpler, but they love technology when it makes their lives fun.”
The previous logo is a retail classic: easy to spot, easy to remember, and simply executed with the thickness of the circle’s stroke matching the thickness of the “R”’s serifs. Not the most terribly exciting logo but it represented the company quite well. The new logo completely crushes the subtleties of the old one with an extra bold, sans serif “R” and a much thicker stroke on the circle. If there has ever been a logo equivalent to a boob job and pumping collagen into lips, this is it. To be perfectly honest though there is nothing structurally wrong with the new logo — it’s an “R” in a circle, you can’t really screw that up — it’s just that evolution-wise it’s a pretty clumsy step.
The one thing that does baffle me is the color palette. At first I thought the light red and shit brown were the problem of a CMYK file being put up for download. But, nope, the website, in all its RGB glory, uses the light red and shit brown color palette. It seems like a very strange choice to make deliberately. As far as the new stores, they look promising but still operate within that cheap shopping-mall-vibe that one associates with Radioshack. Overall, I will grant that the new logo and stores are more on cue for a younger, hipper crowd that has no associations with the Radioshack of yore and just wants to get the latest cool entertainment gadget without paying Apple-like prices, but… seriously, shit brown?
Thanks to Billfred for the tip.