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Vectors and Gradients Run Rampant: The New Swiss Style

Reviewed Dec. 19, 2007 by Christian Palino

Industry / Telecom Tags /

Swisscom Logo, Before and After

Swisscom is Switzerland’s largest telecommunications company, delivering services and products for mobile, fixed and IP-based voice and data communications. Since 1997 — when PTT’s (Post, Telegraphy and Telephony) telecom division went public as a limited company — Swisscom has sported its blue and red, boxy corporate logo… “[the previous logo] with its simple style, combines the human side of technology with the image of credibility and security offered by a traditional company.” The previous logo was traditional indeed, perhaps even downright stagnant. And as with so many large corporations of late, the old logo has gotten thrown out the window to live amongst the lost hits of Hanson and Toni Braxton (that’s right, Hot 100 number-one hits of 1997!), making room for the more contemporary and trendy image.

According to Swisscom:

Swisscom’s on the move. As the logo shows. The new brand is like the new organisation. A dynamic company that has grown above and beyond the segments it serves.

Making our logo more dynamic is vital, as the majority of our services are now available via a screen: from voice telephony to multimedia communications services, from the keyboard to the screen.

The Swisscom re-brand is part of an overall corporate restructuring. Gone are the previous group companies Swisscom Fixnet, Swisscom Mobile and Swisscom Solutions. Swisscom Ltd will instead house the divisions Residential Customers, Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises and Corporate Businesses. The new brand was developed by Moving Brands with assistance from Dalton Maag (well known for their typographic work with BMW and UBS).

The previous logo left a lot to be desired: Generic typography pinned against a very 90s corporate interpretation of a progressive and moving graphic. Given the competing baselines for the type and mark, stacked and aligned to opposite sides, the logo was difficult to align within a composition — whether in a print or digital workspace. Even the generic red, blue and inevitably white color selection steered the previous mark away from an ownable image.

The new logo is… well… certainly new! Let’s start with the positive. The wordmark is a vast improvement. It’s a pleasure to see new typography handled with care — right down to the kerning — and attention to whatever heritage and equity was there previously. I look forward to seeing the accompanying new type family (hoping that there is one). We could debate whether or not one “likes” the typography, however there is no argument in regards to the clear thought and superb execution at play.

Collateral Samples

Collateral Samples

Collateral Samples

Some collateral samples.

In addition, the color choice and usage is a step forward. Now I know what you’re thinking: Gradients!? Indeed, I’m as offended by them as you are and ready to point out how quickly they will become dated. So leaving aside the gradients for a moment, the new color usage in the mark has a much more independent voice. The generic royal blue is replaced by a brighter shade in the mark and a much darker variant in the wordmark. The red is now paired with a controlled usage of white, playing a more nationalistic swiss note. Definitely an improvement in the color palette and well showcased in the brand videos [see link below for brand site].

Logo Detail

And then the not-so-positive — the icon. I understand that “dynamic” is all the rage these days as a brand attribute — but it seems like they grabbed one of the animation frames from their brand video studies (albeit well handled, if not overly corporate, studies) and ran way past the goal post. If there were ever a mark bound to be called outdated quickly it is certainly this trendy use of vector drawing tools, flaccid bastardization of the timeless swiss cross and gradients. I like seeing it twist and twirl like a six-year-old girl in the Christmas pageant too, but clearly some over-zealous corporate parent saw the video and got just a little too excited about it.

Visit Swisscom’s new brand site, see a logo animation, check out a great timeline of the PTT/Swisscom brand, and don’t miss these Frequently Asked Questions about the new brand.



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