Opinions on corporate and brand identity work.

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


Reach Out and Touch Me

Reviewed May. 15, 2008 by Armin

Industry / Corporate Tags /

AkzoNobel Logo, Before and After

With title apologies to Erasure.

Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel, a powerhouse in the global production and distribution of decorative paints, performance coatings, and specialty chemicals, unveiled a new identity this past April, following the acquisition of ICI, one of the largest chemical producers in the world — the ICI name and logo will slowly fade away as they are not part of the rebranding. The original logo was designed by Wally Olins in 1988 through his namesake Wolff Olins, and the outstretched man was inspired by a Greek bas relief sculpture hosted at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford chosen “as both a scientific and an artistic symbol, reflecting the values it wanted to express — those of striving and achievement.” The new identity was also designed by Wally Olins, now through his new company, Saffron. The old logo was clunky at best, even if metaphorically strong, so the redesigned male of unidentified race or political inclinations is a welcome evolution to the concept — although it seems more fitting for a healthcare organization than a decorative paints producer, but I am willing to take the leap of faith. The accompanying typography is enjoyable and foregoes the all-lowercase trend, proving that it’s possible to appear accessible and friendly while maintaining a corporate demeanor. There is a wealth of references about the AkzoNobel brand, so please enjoy at your own pace: An overview and brief history of the identity, Brand Center, showing well edited brand movies, and a press release.



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