Established in 1973, RE/MAX — short for “Real Estate Maximums” — is one of the leading real estate companies in the world, with more than 115,000 agents working in over 7,000 offices in 100 countries. Based in Denver, CO, RE/MAX operates through a franchise system that gives its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with a great deal of independence. This weekend, at their annual broker owner conference, RE/MAX introduced a new logo designed by San Francisco, CA-based Camp + King.
The iconic red, white and blue hot air balloon has been updated to be brighter, more modern and more appealing to the home buyers and sellers of today - while being instantly recognizable as RE/MAX. […] Building on the 2016 launch of the Sign of a RE/MAX Agent campaign, the brand refresh continues to grow alongside current real estate trends. For the fourth straight year, the largest group of homebuyers are millennials, who compose 34 percent of buyers.
“Buyers who are 36 years old and younger continue to purchase homes at a higher rate than other age groups,” said Crowe. “At the same time, real estate tools and technologies have drastically changed the way we help people buy and sell houses. The refreshed brand is a proactive move to continue to position RE/MAX agents as industry leaders for the home buyers and sellers of today and tomorrow.”
Having recently purchased a new house and almost at the finish line of selling one, I’ve been more aware of real estate logos than usual and no logo stands out more than RE/MAX’s. There are dozens of relatively better logos out there for smaller and not-so-smaller real estate companies but none has the recognizability power of this one. Wether it’s the balloon or the wordmark or both, RE/MAX signs are quite powerful. Which is even more surprising given how aesthetically unpleasing both the wordmark and the balloon were. As soon as I saw the change, I thought “Sigh, there goes another classic logo” but it’s only classic because it’s been around for more than 40 years not because it was particularly good. The way the slash left a tiny piece of the “E” visible always drove me nuts and the “AX” to me always looked pharmaceutical because of how “Rx”s are rendered usually. There was also something unusually “cold” about the old logo, like it was the most corporate aesthetic possible conducting one of the most important transactions in many people’s lives.
The new logo is, in a way, unsurprising. It keeps the overall visual equity of the old logo and sans-serifies-it in line with the current trend of designing logos and wordmarks that are safe and minimalist abstractions of their former selves. The effort here is decent and the wordmark — in Gotham Narrow, I think — looks cleaner and friendlier with a nice integration of the slash. While it’s indeed a graphic improvement, there is something kind of sad about it… it’s hard to pinpoint what or why. I’m left feeling like I want more out of it.
The ballon is a big improvement for sure. Losing a lot of the detail from the previous version, this one projects its volume better and reduces much more effectively. It also livens up the wordmark by setting it on a curve (although, unfortunately, it also amplifies the large gap between the “A” and the “X”).
Not much in application, other than a few glimpses at some mocked-up signs in the event where the approach seems evident: lots of Gotham in bands of color. Which may not be the most exciting but probably the most effective in establishing a standard for franchisees to deploy somewhat consistently given that they each have some freedom to do their own thang — which can be scary. Overall, this is a redesign that makes a lot of sense but also looks like the result of a process where “branding variations of all sorts were created, refined and tested” with “responses of over 20,000 consumers” informing the final design… it’s a safe evolution with consumer backing. Can’t argue much with that.