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Can You See Me Now? Verizon Rebrand Critique

Verizon has dropped a new brand identity, catapulting them temporarily into the lead for “newest big corporation rebrand”—how exciting.

There are moments where you forget about brands until they try to shake things up—they step out of being utilitarian and into some kind of new spotlight, and that’s just what Verizon and agency Turner Duckworth have done with its new brand identity and logo.

Verizon Logo History and Position

Verizon has been around for as long as I’ve had a cellphone (which isn’t long in the history of communication, but is long in the history of cell phones) and has always appeared to be a competitive brand. Through the duration of the very 90s italic Verizon logo and zooming checkmark I can’t say there was anything I expected from Verizon. Kind of like a saltine cracker—will it feed you? Yes. Will you write home about it? No. Will you complain? Not really.

In 2015, Verizon underwent its first rebrand headed up by none other than Pentagram’s Micheal Beruit who, of course, did a phenomenal job of nailing the brief which must have been: “make us modern but not flashy, calculated not risky, and reliable not relatable.” It was summarized and satired beautiful by this John Legere Tweet (a T-Mobile man):

The Big Brand Finally Get It

There are more big brands that don’t understand branding than those that do and it seems like Verizon now gets it. No, their new logo isn’t a leap forward for the field of graphic design, but what they understand themselves as delivering might as well be.

Instead of thinking about their brand offering as broad wifi coverage, undropped calls, or streaming speeds, they’re now putting the result first. From streaming sports, battling online in MMOs, or connecting to loved ones around the world, the new Verizon brand seems to put the outcome of their service before the features. Thank goodness.

“We need to take a leap to connect emotionally with consumers.” — Ricardo Aspiazu, VP of Creative & Brand for Verizon

Each brand that can figure out what’s really important to its customer and articulate that in their identity is on its way to success. I’m still skeptical that their ads won’t end with a 1.5x-speed offer about switching lines and no monthly fees, but if they stick to their new brand messaging, they’re bound to make gains.

Is Anyone Else Hungry: Colors & Logo

At first glance, the new Verizon brand identity is somewhere between a nostalgic play and a digital trop. The cream color used as a background softens their digital presence while the new electric yellow gives it, dare I say, ‘pop.’ In use on their posters and highlighting graphics, the yellow is a really lovely addition to their otherwise Swiss color palette. In use in the logo, however, is a different story. 

Verizon’s New Logo

Anyone privy to Netflix’s logo will immediately notice the similarities. For those critiquing the closeness, Netflix wasn’t the first to use the folded ribbon look either, and Verizon won’t be the last. Besides, I’m more drawn to the OG Folger’s sunrise comparison.

Folgers, Verizon, and Netflix logo comparison, Studio Ostendo, Co.

The most peculiar visual effect is the “glow” in the V. Who knows if its the glow of a device, flash of electricity, or sunrise on a new day…whichever it is, it’s not flattering. Yes, it’ll be impossible to embroider on store clerk polos, (though ‘electric’ in their dominantly digital presence) but it’s also quite sheepish at small sizes.

The Logo and Visual Effects

On a positive note, the ‘V’ is being used as a larger visual tool which ultimately gives the brand new life and new opportunities. Out from behind the ‘V’, many of Verizon’s launch images show a football player, an AI background, a racing game, and more, all suggesting their use of the ‘V’ as a window into what their product allows people to do. 

Verizon’s New Drool-worthy Color Palette

Verizon Brand color palette comparison, Studio Ostendo, Co.

I mean that heading with the pun intended. Pairing red with yellow will always be reminiscent of McDonald’s and a few other brands. Yes, it’s more electric and digital which is appropriate for its occupied market space, but it’s still red and yellow. 

Verizon’s Typographic Backbone

The 2015 version of Verizon’s brand identity set a beautiful typographic system in place, even if it did lack a bit of humanity. That said, I hope they keep Neue Haas Grotesk and the structure Pentagram set for them. While the aim of the previous brand was more restrained than their new position, it was beautifully calculated and orchestrated. The addition of a more lively red and electric yellow will give the brand the touch of excitement it needs. 

One More Time for ‘Electric’

Whether or not you’re a fan of the Netflix-esque ‘V’ or the addition of the electric yellow (there it is), the new Verizon brand identity is bound to gain traction. Yes, they will always face turmoil when they drop service and ignore customers, but they’ll also always find success while painting a vision of the future and outcome of their services. After all, who doesn’t want faster streaming, internet, and call speeds?

For my fellow Millennials, here’s the Folgers jingle to burrow itself in your head the rest of the day.

Kaleb Dean
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Verizon Logo, Annual Report, courtesy Verizon Media Resources
Verizon 3D Logo Artwork, Studio Ostendo, Co.
Verizon Logo, billboard mockup, courtesy Verizon Media Resources
Verizon Before and After Logo, Studio Ostendo, Co.
Verizon Logo, Video launch screenshot, courtesy Verizon Media Resources
Verizon Logo, Store front posters, courtesy Verizon Media Resources

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