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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.


Putting the er in After

Reviewed Aug. 12, 2008 by Christian Palino

Industry / Telecom Tags /

Bell Logo, Before and After

Let me preface by noting that I’m not Canadian. I have never lived in Canada. I’ve never seen a commercial with a pair of talking beavers named Frank and Gordon hocking telecommunications products and services. Nor have I seen a lot of the previous Bell Canada logos out there in my daily world. And the first instances of the new logo I saw were images of their teaser campaign with its ample negative space and stark typographic compositions — just the right kind of light-handed touch to peak the curiosity of the graphic designer in me.

Bell Logo, Detail

The former iteration of the Bell Canada logo was somewhat dated with its fat italic type and planetary-like rings swooshing around a stylized profile — belonging to its era of creation as much as one of its predecessors belonged to theirs. This identity worked relatively well in one-color, animated environments (such as in the end of the semi-aquatic rodent commercials), where the swooshes could work their dynamic magic. But time has caught up with the cosmic logo, the apparently polarizing dam building critters and BCE’s exclusive contract with Cossette Communication Group.

Beaver Action

Frank and Gordon in action.

A few excerpts from the BCE press release:

“The new Bell brand underlines that we are moving forward as a company and as a service provider, with new services, a new strategy and a new goal,” said George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE and Bell Canada. “It’s a straightforward and customer-focused brand that directly supports the Bell team’s goal: To be recognized by customers as Canada’s leading communications company.”

The new brand platform was conceived by Zulu Alpha Kilo, a new agency founded by Zak Mroueh, the renowned Canadian creative genius behind award-winning brand and advertising campaigns for companies such as Mini, Nike and Pfizer.

The Dream Team composed to execute the new brand platform across Bell’s product and service portfolio consists of Zulu Alpha Kilo; the Toronto office of Leo Burnett, one of the world’s largest and most respected advertising agencies; Ig2, a top Montreal agency responsible for the French-language platform and Cossette Communication Group, a long-time Bell marketing partner.

To tie the advertising even more closely to the concept of “better” and underline the range of product and benefits Bell offers, the English campaign also makes liberal use of words ending in “er” — faster, easier, music lover, gamer, worker, talker, texter, multitasker — which was also the basis of the company’s recent advertising teaser campaign.

Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing consumers with solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services, wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice over IP. Bell also offers integrated information and communications technology (ICT) services to businesses and governments, and is the Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) to small and medium businesses (SMBs).

Bell Identity Items

Normally, if you asked me, I’d tell you that I’m not a fan of overly tight kerning (nor do I advise the sheep stealing antics of letter spacing black letter) and I’ll admit that the old man in me was ready to condemn this wordmark from the get-go, however upon further looking I realized that in this rare case the kerning seems to work. There is something onomatopoetic about it — I can hear a bell ringing when I look at the mark. It’s likely the round “e” which seems to have struck the sides of the letters on both sides. Or perhaps the fact that the strokes and counters are asymmetrical and create a rhythm not found in many current wordmarks trying to implement more consistent stroking and structure across their letterforms. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to hurt the legibility and aides in the logo’s memorability. And the idea that “life happens on Bell’s networks” and thus so should the advertising — while a bit cliché — creates a visual strategy that has a lot of promise.

Bell Identity Items

Bell teaser campaign images by Flickr user asianz.

As for the teaser campaign, while it potentially engaged the audience through its cryptic nature, and employs an enviably amount of expensive white space, I’m not sure there was enough meat there for most people to give it more than a glance or a passing comment. Though perhaps it’s a breath of fresh air after years of damp beavers.

You can read about some Bell history here and have a look at a Bell Canada endorsed eye dressing kit.



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