PagesJaunes (Yellow Pages) is, as you may have guessed, the Yellow Pages business directory in France. Owned by PagesJaunes Groupe, one of the largest advertising placement and managing companies in the world representing over 770,000 advertisers, PagesJaunes boasts 1 million printed directories across the country, 78 million hits per month on its website, and 4 million downloads of its mobile application. So: Big. Earlier this month PagesJaunes introduced a new identity designed by Publicis Royalties. Press release for our French readers here.
This will be the first thing I mention because it sours the identity in such a big way: It’s a shame that the new logo uses shading and bevels, especially shading and bevels done as poorly as this. It really is. The logo is a great, simple concept that smartly evolves the previous logo into something more iconic and flexible. It’s a yellow, smiling “J”. The black square behind it is an interesting device to complement the main icon and even the typography with its extended “J” works well. But the shading… the shading is too much. Or well, too little, as in little effort. If you are going to do shading in 2011, at least do it right. It has to be perfect, it has to give an indication of what kind of material it is, be it plastic, metal, or goo. It can’t just be this.
The identity in application works really well and has a great vibrancy. I love how they use the logo and its two squares to frame each application. Although everything is yellow, it doesn’t feel like overpowering, annoying yellow… This all could have been great, but I just can’t get past the execution of the logo. I beat the drum because if the identity design industry is in embattled agreement that flat-color logos are so 1999 then lets at least set the bar high for how volume is applied to logos.