Corporate Eye

Iconic Brands Embrace Simpler Logo Designs to Attract Everyone, Everywhere

world mapIn recent years, we’ve seen an ongoing trend in logo design where the overly-stylized Web 2.0 trend has been replaced with a back-to-basics trend—simpler logos without all the bells and whistles. At the same time, many iconic brands have stripped down their logos with some reverting to simple wordmark logo designs.

Now, Visa and Black & Decker have jumped on the ‘simple is better’ logo design trend. Both launched new logo designs this month with the hope of repositioning their brands to appeal to wider audiences.

VISA Rebranding

In a Visa blog post, CEO Charles Scharf writes,

For Visa to be successful, their simple aspiration: ‘to be the best way to pay and be paid’ needs to drive everything and everyone at Visa. Half a century later, we added three words to our goal: ‘for everyone, everywhere’.

Visa’s chief brand officer, Antonio Lucio, explains in a press release,

The new platform is compelling because it encompasses strengths of Visa, past, present and future,” continued Lucio. “‘Everywhere’ includes the tens of millions of merchant locations that accept Visa today. It’s also the new ways and places people want to pay, including mobile and e-commerce. ‘Everywhere’ is also a celebration of everyone’s aspirations, from an athlete achieving her Olympic dream to a single mother accessing her first bank account on a Visa card.

Take a look at the old and new logos below.

VISA logo old and new

A few brand positioning themes are clear based on the comments from the Visa CEO and chief brand officer. Visa wants to focus on its history to build trust with broader audiences. Black & Decker wants to achieve similar branding goals with its recent rebranding effort.

Black & Decker Rebranding

According to the Black & Decker case study by Lippincott,

We outlined clear — and demanding — objectives for the brand strategy and design: the brand would need to be fundamentally human, to reflect BLACK + DECKER’s ability to transform a daunting task into a feeling of accomplishment. It would need to be simple, evoking a past and future of intuitive, human-centric design, while still being meaningfully different and modern. The strategic goal of the new positioning and visual identity was to represent the vast array of products that BLACK + DECKER offers from power tools, cleaning supplies, garden tools, outdoor needs and small domestic appliances. The logo aims to strike the perfect balance between all of the brands’ categories: it maintains the signature masculine, orange black palette for power tools and outdoor products, but receives a softer and more elegant treatment for products used inside the home using a white and grey color palette. The uppercase, stacked type is technical and sharp, the round edges of the holding shape are soft and flexible.

Again, some common themes resonate—simplicity, appealing to broader audiences, and integrating the brand’s history into the new brand identity and logo design.

You can see the old and new Black & Decker logos below:

Black and Decker logo old new

Take a look at the before and after logo designs for both brands above. What do you think?

Image: Flavio Takemoto

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.