YMCA, Starbucks & Children’s Miracle Network all make logo changes

Recently, three big brands have made the shift to a new, simplified logo.  Each provided some rationale for the new look — but I'm curious what you think about them.  I've placed the old logos on the left and the new on the right.


YMCA — read rationale by clicking here.  You can click on the logos to see them larger.

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The Children's Miracle Network — read the rationale by clicking here. You can click on the logos to see them larger.

Screen shot 2011-01-11 at 5.01.53 PM


Starbucks — hear the rationale by clicking here.  You can click on the logos to see them larger.

Screen shot 2011-01-11 at 5.02.03 PM


So — what do you think?  Good choices?  Bad?  When does a logo have so much equity and recognition that you can go ahead and alter it?  Or perhaps — if it has that much value, you should absolutely leave it alone?




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25 comments on “YMCA, Starbucks & Children’s Miracle Network all make logo changes

  1. Hey Drew,

    In case you missed it, my first foray for Ad Age just yesterday was on this very topic…


  2. Bridget says:

    I will say yay for The YMCA and Children’s Miracle Network and nay for Starbucks. Starbuck’s new logo looks washed out without the black backdrop, which is interesting considering the creative manager says it is a bolder logo. The new logo looks a little blah to me. Then again, I am very loyal to Starbucks, which according to Vikas Mittal’s study makes me more likely to view any change to the logo as negative.

  3. Steve — just added my 2 cents. Who knew you were so famous!!

    Bridget — it gets to be a very subjective thing, doesn’t it? Why did the Y and CMN get a yay from you?


  4. I work for The Y (as we now refer to ourselves) and I think what people miss about the new Y branding is the visual system is only part of what we hope to change.

    For us who have worked at the Y for a while, the change is challenging as we learn to use it within the established guidelines. For example, there are actually 5 color variations of the logo and each one is supposed to be used randomly to reflect the diversity of our organization.

    Overall, I think our new logo is a great move forward. It’s definitely more contemporary and appeals to the next generation of families that the Y will need to appeal to in order to stay a viable organization in the future.

    And, for what it’s worth, I’m a Starbucks addict and they could put whatever they want on the cup as long as I can get my caramel mocha on a daily basis. 🙂

  5. Janet says:

    At first glance, the Y logo is a step in the right direction, much more modern. The Children’s one didn’t help them gain any ground, I don’t see the new logo reflecting a balloon, just looks like a big bubbly exclaimation point. Starbucks is ok, but I thought it was fine before too.

  6. Kamy says:

    Geesh, I guess I’m old school but I feel once you have such a well recognized logo I think you should leave it alone.
    I’m not a fan of any of these changes. However if I had to pick one that I “liked” the best it would be Starbucks, they changed very little, kept same color scheme and simply removed the words… maybe that’s what they meant my “more bold” Bold Attitude. (We know you know us with out “telling you” who we are in our logo)
    CMN? That “balloon” looks like a lightbulb.
    The Y, not sure specifically why I don’t like it, I just like the old logo more.

  7. I don’t think any of these revisions hit the mark, but like Janet, I think the Starbucks logo revision is best since it’s still recognizable as Starbucks.

    People ‘see’ a logo before they read a logo. I don’t ‘see’ the new Y or CMN and think yes, I know them.

  8. LWoods says:

    Children’s Miracle Network — Looks like a lightbulb. I prefer the old logo, but I do like the clean typeface used in the new logo.
    Starbucks – When I look at the old logo, I see the name, then the image in the middle, and that’s a really good thing. I’ve heard they are going to start selling wine (don’t get me started on how that will change the brand experience), but they will always stand for coffee.
    YMCA logo – Everybody calls it “The Y,” so that’s fine, just don’t like the Easter Egg colors.

  9. Bridget says:

    The new Y logo strikes me as more contemporary. After reading Matthew’s post I like it even more because of the use of different colors to reflect the Y’s commitment to diversity. How clever!

    I see that many of comment’s posted don’t like the CMN’s new logo. I think the simpler logo actually looks a little more child-like to me. Furthermore, I think it is a little more versatile now. They have more options to move it around whatever message or pictures they are displaying in an ad.

  10. One thumbs up for the Y…Having always disliked the implicit “yield” sign in the Y logo, I think the new one is more current, hints at diversity, and just has a more comfortable feel.

    One thumbs down vote for CMN…Looks to me like the lose more than they gain with the new logo, in part because the word children doesn’t come through as well, and because the element just doesn’t have much zip to it.

    A neutral vote for Starbucks…It looks more like a symbol (such as the nutrasweet symbol) and may hint at the future direction of the company in terms of their retail product marketing–almost a logo that endorses that can be placed on other things without the distraction of the company name like the old logo. I agree with the ‘wash-out’ comments above, and that downplays the strength that I always sort of associated with their coffee…but it’s really not an up or down.

  11. I get the starbucks logo if they are broadening their interests outside of coffee. I still like the classic feel of the old one better.

    CMN is a crime against a beautiful, expressive logo. I asked some kids which one they liked better and they all chose the old CMN logo. The old logo was already pretty simple. And the new logo isn’t even recognizable as an offshoot of the old logo.

    I think the “the” and the “ymca” are distracting in the Y’s new logo. They don’t look like integral parts of the logo to me. I like the design and color variations of the “Y” in the logo.

  12. Jordan Bahnsen says:

    Change will always be met with mixed reviews. I understand the rationale given for each decision. They all modernized their look, but I think Starbucks should have kept their name in the logo. They obviously feel the siren can stand alone, like a Target or an Apple, and keep the brand recognition, but I’m not so sure.

  13. Bridget,

    In some ways, I think it’s tougher to like a logo when it is a re-design. Adopting something brand new seems easier. Especially if we’re a heavy user of the brand. So it’s not surprising that the Starbucks logo isn’t working for you.

    But it also sounds like you won’t be changing your buying habits because of it!


  14. Michael,

    I have to agree with you on the CMN logo. It’s too simplified for me. In fact, if I didn’t have the original to reference, I’m not sure I would immediately think it was a balloon at all.


  15. Matthew —

    Thanks for stopping by and adding more context to the Y logo change. It will be interesting to see how all of your local Y’s handle the multiple color option and still try to be consistent.

    For example — will every Y have the same color combination for outdoor signage or corporate sponsorships etc.?


  16. Janet,

    That seems to be most people’s take. A thumb’s up for the Y, a thumbs down for CMN and a neutral for Starbucks.

    It will be interesting to see how these all play out, long-term.


  17. Kamy,

    I think that’s the age old argument — when do you have so much equity in your logo that even if you want to freshen it up — you shouldn’t?

    I like the new Y logo but I am not crazy about their lots of different color combinations idea. I understand the message behind it but I suspect it will cause some confusion in the marketplace.


  18. Roberta —

    I’m with you on the CMN logo but the Y logo seems pretty recognizable to me. It’s not such a drastic variation from the old one that my brain doesn’t link them together.

    Time will tell for all of them…but I suspect they are all 3 such strong brands that they can survive a logo change — even if long term it ends up being a bad decision.


  19. Leslie,

    And do you think these three logo revisions have done that — modernized?


  20. L —

    I am having the most trouble with the CMN logo as well. If I saw it without reference to the old one, I’m not sure I could tell you it is a balloon. I’m assuming they wanted it to feel more child-like, as it is certainly that.

    Logo design is such a subjective thing — it’s a wonder anyone ever agrees!


  21. Bridget,

    I agree — Matthew’s context added quite a bit to the understanding of the Y logo. But of course, most consumers won’t have a Matthew around to explain it to them so they’ll have to figure it out for themselves.

    I’m not so sure the color combinations connote diversity without the explanation. But, it does give the Y staff something they can communicate with members and visitors.


  22. Michael,

    You have summed up the consensus of the group overall. Do you have a strong affinity for any of the three brands? That also seems to be tempering people’s opinions.


  23. Justin,

    An interesting survey — asking the kids. I suppose they liked the old one because it’s very clear that it is a balloon.

    Of course, CMN would probably say that while they serve kids, children are not their core audience — they’re after adult donors.

    Would you remove the YMCA and the “the” if you were designing the logo or just modify the design so they were not so distracting?


  24. Jordan —

    Yup, the reasons for the logo changes all make sense. But.. brands are about emotions, not logic. So how we understand the logo changes is different from how we react or feel about them.

    I am guessing that all three brands have enough of a loyal following and recognition that even if someone didn’t like the new logo, it isn’t going to alter buying behavior or public perception.

    Time will tell!


  25. Donna says:

    I like the older brands. I think the newer ones look cartoonish. What they are really trying to do is to appeal to a younger audience and I think they lose something in the translation. Why not leave well enough alone.

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