Comparing Logo Redesigns

Recently Houzz and American Express both conducted logo redesigns – though one feels more like a spitshine™ than a full redesign. But let’s first take a look at the before and after for Houzz…

This new houzz logo design was created by the legendary Pentagram. The initial reaction from the design community was mixed but my opinion is that though I never loved the original logo, it felt like an interesting interpretation of an h and lent itself to being inspirational which is what houzz represents to their audience. The new logo feels cold, harsh and too simple. Even the description seems forced. I would not have expected this from Pentagram and Paula Scher (though I might also be in the minority on not loving some of her work). I’ve come to learn that they did in fact collaborate with their in-house team which I would be curious if that affected any design decisions. But if you are going to use Paula Scher, use Paula Scher!

Now we turn to American Express…

This was also a product of Pentagram and I can say this is a great evolution of their existing brand identity. Use your familiar brand assets but with today’s modern treatment. I don’t have any real issues with the logo – though I wish they were bold enough to go with the small digital version for everything but I can see how that might scare the 150+ year old company.

If I had to make any critique it would be with the retooling of the typography. The original had better connections and negative space. The line between the C and the A and the arrow created between the E and X are bothersome, and the outline doesn’t feel as clean and consistent as the original. But I could be nit picking now.

It is interesting to see two brands with very different histories, use the same agency and get very different results.