Based in Houston, TX, Reliant is one of the largest electricity and energy providers in the state with 1.5 million customers. More famously, Reliant is the name sponsor of Reliant Park, an entertainment complex that houses Carruth Plaza, Reliant Stadium (home to the NFL’s Houston Texans and 2004’s Super Bowl XXXVIII), Reliant Center, Reliant Arena and Reliant Astrodome. Reliant was acquired in 2009 by New Jersey-based NRG Energy, an, um, energy company (if there was any doubt), that is a Fortune 500 company. Over the summer, Reliant and NRG Energy introduced matching logos.
Unfortunately there is no press release or any indication of what this new logo stands for. But it’s probably for the better as it would most likely be infuriating because I don’t see any good rationalization or story coming out of this. The old logo looked like a frickin’ energy company, no questions asked. It was bold, energetic, and it looked corporate. All good things. The new one looks like a printing company with the CMYK icon that also looks like crop marks. But let’s assume that I see that because I’m a designer and that the business clients of Reliant or even the public at Reliant Park don’t make that connection, then, yeah, they might look like cute little colorful sparks of energy. I don’t want sparks. I want bolts. Big, bolts of energy powering my energy stuff. The old one would clearly do the job, this new one I have my doubts. The whole redesign is obviously a move to appear softer and friendlier, which explains the lowercase name. Well, it looks soft and weak.
In the context of Reliant Park, the icon might work a little better, being so festive. But I still like the old one better.
As far as the parent company, NRG Energy, the change was more needed perhaps. Was it a compass? A plane flying over earth? Don’t matter, now it’s sparks. The lowercase in this case is more annoying than with reliant. It just looks childish or like an adult trying to send a text message to his or her teenage son.
Overall, the whole package lacks energy and sense.