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Just Write: Changing an iconic logo not always a good idea

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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Brand logos are as much a part of Americana as companies themselves.

So when I read about the logo redesign fast-food chain Wendy's announced last week with plans to unveil in 2013, I wasn't surprised to find a variety of opinions online.

The pigtails, red hair and freckles remain. Removed from the refreshed logo are the block letters and two slogans — “Quality is our recipe” and “Old fashioned hamburgers.”

The Dublin, Ohio-based company dumped its popular block letters for a marker felt-type font that gives it a child-like appeal.

Reaction to Wendy's changes isn't as loud or fierce — yet — as it was for retailer Gap, which, in 2010, moved from its iconic dark blue box to a simpler design with a small blue box accenting the word “Gap.”

Feedback was mostly negative, ultimately forcing the company to return to the logo shoppers preferred.

A similar fiasco occurred in 2009 when PepsiCo Inc. caved to public outcries and returned to a former design of its Tropicana orange juice product. Gone from the design was the famous red-and-white striped straw into the orange.

I've always had an interest in design and font usage — how certain colors, font styles and designs sway moods and can increase (or decrease) consumer spending habits and loyalty.

Roadside signs always have caught my eye — not for the product being pushed, but for the appeal — or lack thereof of — the marketing design.

When I spotted the Laughlin Children's Center's new Broad Street sign in September, I stopped my car in the middle of the road around midnight to take in the appealing color scheme and welcoming design.

In an age when marketing seems to always be in our face, getting a logo right is important.

From beverage containers to candy wrappers, sporting events and even this newspaper, branded logos are part of everything we do.

As rapid responses increase thanks to the power of social media, it's inevitable that more companies will have their own Gap fiasco on their hands.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or

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