With roots as far back as 1872 and the result of various mergers, acquisitions, and other coming-togethers of various companies and brands over the course of 130 years, American Standard Brands manufactures a wide range of high-quality building products that include “faucets, fixtures, furniture, vitreous china fixtures, cast iron sinks, whirlpool tubs and other wellness products for the bath and kitchen as well as decorative panels.” Apart from carrying the eponymous line, the company offers seven other brand names. American Standard is introducing a new logo, identity, and packaging designed by New York, NY-based Sterling Brands.
American Standard approached Sterling Brands to help refresh their brand identity to reflect the new position of “Raising the Standard”.
In a category where the competition is mostly about design, functionality or value, American Standard leveraged the unique opportunity to talk about their mission as a purpose-driven company. The challenge at hand was to balance this idea of responsibility without sacrificing the essential components of health, performance, and beauty, while catering to their varied residential and professional audiences.
To this end, the new visual identity inhabits a universe where humankind is at the very center. The iconic wordmark has been updated with a dynamic hand-lettered script in a sunny shade of marigold yellow. “We opted to celebrate the original identity, while infusing within it a certain modernity and ‘evidence of hand’ that would prompt it to connect meaningfully with our targets” says Sterling Brands’ Creative Director, Kim Berlin. “And given the evolutionary nature of the wordmark, we felt it critical to implement it in a way that felt fresh and clearly signaled change.” As a result, the new identity is supported by a visual language that assumes a clean, warm and relatively minimal tone, which further speaks to the brand’s message of innovation and optimism.
The previous logo was fine and forgettable in the way most logos typeset in script fonts out of the box are. The new logo, maintains the familiar script presence while bringing in some much needed flair, personality, and sophistication. Lettered by Holly Dickens the new logo has a very nice flow — flow, see what I did there? — and looks really nice either small or big. The “AS” monogram is not nearly as successful because it feels too airy and unbalanced without the rest of the name to the right and a lot of white space on the bottom left.
In use, the logo tends to span the width of most applications, bleeding off the edges making a nice big statement. The biggest disconnect for me is the use of a very contemporary sans serif that is delivered using the “highlighter” effect — where the yellow background is the width of text (plus padding) — making it feel almost like two separate companies. The effect is slightly more convincing on their website but mostly I think it’s because of the reversal of hierarchies, where the logo is small and gets lost in the big highlighter/type approach. Overall, it’s a solid redesign that could benefit from some tempering of the additional identity elements to make it feel warmer and more human, as the designers intended.