Opinions on corporate and brand identity work.

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


Vanishing Visual Effects

Reviewed Sep. 9, 2009 by Armin

Industry / Technology Tags /

SGI Logo, Before and After

It used to be, back in the late 1980s and early ’90s, that you couldn’t talk about Hollywood visual effects without mentioning Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI), the company responsible for the hardware and software behind blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Terminator 2 and Abyss among many others. With such high profile projects it seemed unlikely that SGI would eventually become obsolete, but by the mid-2000s, that’s exactly what SGI had become as other players pushed into its market with faster and cheaper technology, leading SGI to declare bankruptcy. Its most recent technological foray was in “large-scale clustered computing [and] storage,” or, to boil it down, servers. In May, another server company, Rackable, purchased SGI and despite the battered reputation it adopted the SGI name and introduced a new logo.

I want to think I know who did the old logo but I just can’t remember, so if anyone knows chime in. There was something decidedly high-tech about the old logo designed by Landor in 1999, with its awkward “g,” like something only a nerd could have come up with. Actually, all the letters were just plain weird with their hybrid rounded and flat edges but they communicated an attitude and personality. In contrast, the new logo is, simply, flat. A trio of uninspired letters sitting around and waiting for the next bankruptcy to happen and be replaced with another set of boring letters. So the dot of the “i” is green, woo-frickin’-hoo. There is smart simplicity and there is boring simplicity and, while it’s generally hard to discern between the two, this one is clearly the latter. An equally exciting brand guidelines document is available for perusal here.

Thanks to Wu John for the tip.



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