In August 2008 I was hired by the Canadian Yellow Pages to refine its “walking fingers” logo.
Previous Yellow Pages logo
The mandate for the logo refinement could be summed up in this single statement — “to free the icon from print without losing its essence.”
With priorities having shifted online, the pages of the book (the yellow section in the symbol above) were no longer deemed appropriate enough for such obvious use.
Download the project design brief (36k .doc — as supplied by Yellow Pages).
A logo reference guide was also supplied at the beginning of the project (shown below).
Before addressing the Yellow Pages logo I was asked to present the board with a number of successful logo refinements from other companies, detailing why I thought each one worked. A very brief description behind some of my choices can be seen in these successful logo redesigns. Four of the strongest designs shown through the link are Dolby, Toys R Us, NFL, and MSNBC.
Another task was to compare the in-use logo with those of the Yellow Pages “friends.”
Although related by name and service, each business operates in a different global location, and is run as an independent organisation (hence the separate logo designs).
Focusing on the symbol
The “walking fingers” icon was where most of the design change would occur, and it was clear to me that the actual look of the fingers needed addressing.
I thought the original bulge (shown above-left) created an unnecessarily top-heavy look, and that the pointed thumb-nail was overly feminine.
The in-use logo (above-left) was tested with the new hand (above-right). The new icon was tried with and without a border or background colour (below).
The hand was improved, but the question was posed: “Is there enough of a change to warrant spending $1M?” We were just starting with the experimentation, and worked through options including a dart alongside the “walking fingers” (a specific request by the board).
In November 2008, after a number of months working with the senior brand manager, I was told the company was undergoing some internal restructuring, and that the project would be placed on hold until the new year. The new year came and went, and after checking in with my client in May 2009, the project was still on hold, with the entire communications strategy now being reconsidered.
In March 2010 a new logo was unveiled (shown below), created by Canadian design agency TAXI. Dave Watson, TAXI’s creative director, kindly contacted me showing the work his team carried out with Yellow Pages, and I’ll give you an insight into their design process in my next blog article.
Update: 09 April 2010
You can view part II of the Yellow Pages logo refinement here.
I enjoyed my time working with Yellow Pages, and I wish the company every success with the new brand identity. Thanks to TAXI for sharing the upcoming design work, too.