Last week, GE unveiled their new Corporate Identity system. A Rebranding? Speak Up is all over it. Armin is sharpening his claws and Felix is practicing his outrage in the mirror. “You talkin’ design to me?” But wait, the logo is the same…almost.
The GE symbol was created in the late nineteenth century and redrawn in 1986 by Landor. This time, Wolff Olins one-ups Landor by making the slightest of adjustments to the drawing. That’s fine, I guess.
I have always thought of GE as one of the tightest and well-managed Identity systems around. It generally uses a dominant masterbrand approach which means divisions and companies have names like GE Plastics, GE Financial and GE Healthcare as opposed to unique brand names. One of the benefits to this is driving up all positive associations to the parent brand. A problem GE is faced with, is that many people think of washers and dryers when they hear their name. I think of washers and dryers when they hear their name. This is not who GE is. GE needs to escape associations that have been around for decades.
Will tweaking their logo do this? Certainly not. So what can? For the first time ever, in fourteen shiny new colors, the GE logo is breaking away from laundry.
Wolff Olins has also developed a new and complete visual system to surround the logo. Here is a sample brochure. There are colors and layouts and templates and image styles and a cool new, proprietary typeface, GE Inspira, all for your downloading pleasure. This system is thorough and well-done and I hope it is not too sophisticated to be implemented.