Established in 1984 (originally named Legend), Lenovo is a multinational technology company based in Beijing, China, (and Morrisville, North Carolina). If the name sounds familiar — but not as familiar as say Dell, Apple, Microsoft, etc. — Lenovo is the official owner of the ThinkPad range of laptops originally created by IBM, from whom Lenovo acquired its personal computer business in 2005. Additionally, Lenovo has been expanding into the smartphone market since 2012 — recently acquiring Google’s Motorola Mobility — and now offers workstations, servers, storage, smart TVs, and tablets. In other words, it’s gotten big. This past week, at the company’s Tech World event in Beijing, Lenovo introduced a new logo designed by Saatchi & Saatchi New York.
The cornerstone of our new identity is our new logo — a mark that is made up of two key elements. First, there’s the word Lenovo, which we’ve designed in a more contemporary way, making it more readable so there are no pronunciation issues around the world. More importantly, this wordmark is housed in a containing shape, which is meant to be more than just a design element. It acts as a window into culture and the world that surrounds us, housing a range of images, colors and patterns.
The previous logo wasn’t great. I want to put more praise on the unconventional “e” but it’s really not that cool and the rest of the wordmark isn’t particularly interesting. Perhaps in the technology world it has some equity but as a consumer brand I doubt it has much outside China, where its smartphones rule. Between the video press conference and the quote above you would think the new logo was a drastic departure from the previous logo and the most innovative execution in logo design since flip phones. It’s certainly “nicer” in that it’s more normal but that’s about it. The slanted “e” is as exciting as the otherwise very normal wordmark goes. Placing it in a rectangle with colors and imagery that changes doesn’t make it any better or more strategically relevant or a window into a culture. It’s now one of the oldest tricks in the book. And we all know there is no magic behind it anymore.
To its credit, if you look at the images above or scroll through their Flickr account, where there are some other launch events with the logo, the simplicity of the logo and the option to put it sideways (and by repeating the logo) makes for a convincing update that establishes Lenovo as a much more accessible and friendly consumer brand. It’s all still relatively bland but at least in application it has some energy to it that could evolve into a recognizable identity.