FedEx / Avaya / Verizon / PriceWaterhouseCoopers

anonymous's picture

this one needs an update bad.


hrant's picture

> FedEx

The lesson for me is: don't be so subtle that only other designers notice the effect...

The "reverse" arrow between "E" and "x":

> Maybe that typographic excellence isn't everything when creating corporate identity.

Very interesting and astute observation.

Another one that bugs me (or actually "bugged", since they recently changed it - except it's still bad, just in a different way) is the old Eye magazine logo: what the hell was that rediculously heavy, uncompensated "y"?! (Sorry, no sample handy.)


hrant's picture

> I can't help wonder if perhaps the designer wanted it to be first a logotype and second a clever hidden arrow.

Well, I'd guess so too, but I think the arrow is too hidden, my point being that the designer was maybe appealing more to himself/other_designers than "users"; making the arrow more obvious (like by gently highlighting the negative space in some way) would have drawn jeers from other designers (the shame, the ridicule!), but would have ellicited "that's kinda neat"s from users. Which is more important?

Here's an example of an ingenious negative-space trick that doesn't need any help:
(Note: The Big Ten Conference is actually 11 teams now.)

> I was sad when they redesigned it.

The whole redesign looks wannabe to me: going in the wrong direction, backwards to what used to be cool 5 years ago or something. At least they kept the sublime Proforma.


soreno's picture

> PriceWaterhouse

I guess the designer has been inspired by Yves Saint-Laurent:

... this is the way it should be done!

Soren O

soreno's picture

> P R I C E W A T E R H O U S E C O O P E R S

BTW, when having a ridiculous name, expect ridiculous graphics.

Soren O

hrant's picture

> there are 12 schools in the big 10

I'm guessing the two Minnesotas are counted once.
Caveat: I know almost nothing about football (just a little about futbol).

Speaking of the Minnesota logo(s), I guess their goal was that if one of their players is up-ended, he'll look like he's from the Wisconsin team, thus saving face...


beejay's picture

Joe //

The Big 10 used to have 10 teams. In the 90s, because they wanted more revenue, they added Penn State, a football powerhouse coached by Joe Paterno. That's probably when they changed their logo.

But there's another conference that's probably the cause of your confusion: The Big 12. There used to be something called the Southwest Conference. They took 10 teams from that conference, added two more - that's the Big 12.

Why they have two Minnesota logos on their web site, I have no idea.

If they add another team, then they can just update the negative space I guess, a little more difficult with a '2' than a '1'.


beejay's picture

somebody in the Big 10 is thinking about branding. I'm sure everyone has noticed that their website needs an overhaul, too.

hrant's picture

If the point is getting paid, then the client's alterations (more like total change) are very necessary indeed!

I think the moral of the story is:
Don't try to sell something fancy to peasants.


hrant's picture

To me Cassandre was a genius (noting that I try to use that word very sparingly). The best insight into the man and his unique work is the book "A.M. Cassandre", by Henri Mouron. BTW, he committed suicide on June 17, 1968, which is the day before I was born... :-/


Diner's picture

For years I've been a loyal consumer of Dep hair gel. (Anybody who's met me can tell you why . . . I digress)

Each year with the same folly they attempt to redesign the label on the bottle. Problem is they either really LOVE horribly kerned Courior or they keep forgetting to convert the fonts to outlines befire they send the artwork along to the sep house.

Either way it has puzzled me for the last 5 years. See for yourself -

Stuart :D

Stephen Coles's picture

"Welcome to, a progressive website built for fun..."


hrant's picture

Stephen, you must have no sense of humor (just like me). Don't you use gel on your chicken?


sa7an's picture

Stephen does have a sense of humour but it only works in Utah :)

rburke's picture

Talk about cringing. Who dropped the ball on this one? quiznos.gif

beejay's picture

It's a good pangram word. Quiznos vs. Jared from Subway.

gulliver's picture

Is it a fast food restaurant, or
a new Wrigley's chewing gum flavor?

mart's picture

What? They've changed from the original logotype? I always thought that was a classic; it could well have been designed in the thirties by some rogue Bauhaus ne'er do well.
And personally, I like their approach to fast food compared to the burger chains. Their ingredients may be factory-farmed but the experience of walking into a Subway you never visited before is a bit more like a roll of the dice than the totally predictable experience at any given McDonalds etc. The care or lack thereof that the Subway "sandwich artists" give to your sub is something to behold. It's an intensive interaction the like of which you don't even get at a sit-down $12 entrée restaurant.
I hope the logo debacle isn't some sort of indication that an unwelcome change is in the offing.

And let's not forget that their interior decor features late 19th/early 20th century newspaper reproductions covering the walls. - full of nice examples of the use of Cheltenham, amongst other types. There must have been some sort of typophile involved in their early retail design team. It would be nice to know the story behind this.

cchs's picture

There seem to be several people taking credit for this identity. Both TBD and Felix Sockwell list it on their sites. While Felix credits Joel Templin (The T in TBD) as creative director, TBD doesn't acknowledge Felix at all, though I know they frequently work together, so I am confused as to who did what and for whom.

As for the original vs. the "client ruined" design, I prefer the latter. The first is totally impractical when it comes to application. While neither of them are stunning, the final version is credible, unique and surprisingly memorable.

What I find more objectionable is that a designer would post a disclaimer on his site lambasting his client. Every project is a collaborative effort, and often the results are less than we feel we could have achieved if left to our own devices. But the fact of the matter is that design is a service industry, not an artistic autocracy. Our clients are an essential part of the equation, and bad-mouthing them discredits design as a profession.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I find the crossbars added back in on the A's to be unnecessary and detracting from the strength of the avaya logo. Otherwise, it's fine.

hrant's picture

Isn't this thing yelling out for a "fusion" of all the letters? (And in that case the crossbars would actually provide critical help).


cchs's picture


I can only speak for myself, but yes, I am in the service industry. Why don't you feel like you are?

I don't think service is a pitiful mantra, and we don't make excuses for our shortcomings - which is why we don't blame our clients for ruining our design - we take responsibility for our work.

As for "winning," We win when our client wins. That's just our deal.

I will most assuredly attend your San Francisco lecture, not to hurl things at you, but because I admire your work (if not your attitude). Tell you what, I'll take you out to lunch. Some place with good food and service. What do you say?

And, hey, what happened to the disclaimer in question? Seems to have been taken off your site...

cchs's picture


Sorry, it looks like the remark about the client is still there. Netscape quirk.

The lunch offer still stands.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Re: Fedex.

While I was never one to fawn over the FedEx
logo, I can't help wonder if perhaps the
designer wanted it to be first a logotype and
second a clever hidden arrow.

Re: Eye

I always thought the old "eye" mark was
quite illustrative. And to be honest, if the y was
wrong, I never noticed (makes me want to see
it again, anybody?).I was sad when they
redesigned it.


Joe Pemberton's picture

Yves Saint Laurent vs Price Waterhouse Coopers

Soren, I have to agree with your assessment
of the name.

Thanks for pointing out YSL. The difference
between the two is striking. The
Pricewaterhousecoopers logo seems random
but not consistently random. Like 'price' and
'coopers' crashed into 'waterhouse.'


Joe Pemberton's picture

Re: Big Ten

Big Ten

Am I missing something? Why is there an 11? (Ok,
so I know there are 12 schools in the big 10. Now
I'm really confused.)


Joe Pemberton's picture

Found this interesting Avaya logo exploration on
Felix Sockwell's site. It's interesting how getting
insight into the designer's process reveals the
idea behind a thing...

Here's his concept:

Here's the final, client modified thing:

According to his site, "upper management
changed the final design... totally ruining the
communication. it should have been killed."

Are the client's alterations truly necessary/
helpful? Or is Felix over reacting?

Having seen both the real thing around town,
and now the original concept, I have to say I
like the original better...

anonymous's picture

interesting. just came onto the site to see the "big 10, 11, 12" and the "avaya" corporate corn-holings (i had hand in both) the big 10 was origanally drawn at the richards group about 8 years ago- so long ago that i've all but forgotten it. the avaya, well, i ended up suing the assholes at for that debocle.
first they crossed the As, now apparently, theyve beefed it up.

anonymous's picture


can you guess what happened on this one?
business as usual: Landor started it, then
the big wigs gave it to the in-house dept,
added a beefier typeface, then added
another red accent to the Z, and there you have-
another unsophisticated corporate image. that
the way it goes i guess....

Joe Pemberton's picture

Client's and their in-house designers, who
needs 'em? :-)

Thanks for the Verizon post. This one's been on
my list for a while, along with the Bell Atlantic
logo that preceeded it. (Both Landor jobs, if I

anonymous's picture

no introduction needed.

the worst logotype ever

anonymous's picture

The Yves Saint-Laurent logotype was designed late in the career of the great Art Deco desinger Cassandre. Mostly known for his posters, but also did some typefaces.

Joe Pemberton's picture


I cringe when I drive by these retail electronics
stores. You'd think that by the time they opened,
say their 10th store, they'd fix their F at

Lastly, the only things worse than Handel Gothic are
fonts inspired by Handel Gothic.

anonymous's picture

speaking of subway, lets add that new hideous futura bold condensed logotype they've upgraded to. the bread, stale. the meat, skimpy, and now.. the type is tasteless.

Joe Pemberton's picture

What?! It can't be! I was just thinking the other
day that Subway logo was cool in it's retro kind
of way. Sad.

It won't win the worst logo award, but in terms
of what it once was, it belongs here.
die new subway

Joe Pemberton's picture

The original Subway logotype:
subway original

anonymous's picture

i'm in the service industry? wow. i dont feel like i am... are YOU? if so, god help us all.
christopher, i respect your opinion (tho only halfheartedly), but had you seen the original animation design (a dandylion,seen above, and its delivery- "avaya") you would immediately barf on
seeing the "ruined", yes RUINED version. even Joel
Templin (who i designed it for) hated to see it ruined, tho he gladly accepts credit for it and my NCAYV logo. I will be taking the logo lecture on tour (with cohort tom vasquez) later this month
in des moisnes, then san francsco, denver, etc. if you really want to hear me rant on about shitty logo and type designs i encourage you to come and hurl things at me in person.
- oh, one last word on the "service" idea- i find that most designers who cry this pitiful mantra to be looking for an excuse for their own shortcomings. if you cant win dont blame the industry you helped to create.

soreno's picture

We had a discussion about FedEx recently (maybe in Typo-L).

Take a look at the 'elf' trademark. The 'f' is pretty quirky, the 'e' is too big. I wouldn't call this good typography. But I would regard the *mark* (the image) very good, unique and catchy.

So what is the conclusion? Maybe that typographic excellence isn't everything when creating corporate identity.

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