In stealth mode, one of the largest manufacturers of all sorts of electronic paraphernalia, Philips, updated its wordmark. (For those wondering, yes, we are a little late to the party on this one; the change took place a couple of months ago, so I apologize for the non-breaking news aspect of this). The changes are almost unnoticeable, specially to the end-user, which would make anyone skeptical about the need for a change at all. But considering the immense amount of consumer and specialty products that Philips produces, I doubt this was merely a superficial, aesthetic change to satisfy some C-level executive’s whim. All the modifications point to a need for better performance and reproducibility.
On the image above we can see some of the changes: The old logo is in red, the new one in blue, and then overlayed. The biggest change is the width of the characters and the additional spacing between characters, resulting in a slightly wider wordmark, but not drastic enough where they are sacrficing a need for additional space to render the logo. The angles of the “S” and “L” have also been modified to be more unique, and not just a 90-degree angle.The other big change was to go from a geometric, monoweight sans serif to a more humanist sans serif, with clearer contrast between thicks and thins; I imagine this was done because the wordmark was “gaining weight” at the joints when reproduced, while having these slightly curved joints would reproduce as straight corners when molding a logo out of plastic or metal or any other material. In print and online, however, the changes will be more noticeable, and the new wordmark feels more personable and friendly and less mechanic. Overall, this is an interesting change, and while I usually prefer my sans serifs monoweight and geometric I can see how this wordmark benefits from the small tweaks. For a brief overview of the evolution of the Philips logo, go here.