Slack’s new logo design by Pentagram is strange and unnecessary

Rebranding or refreshing a well-known company logo can be a risky move, so the first thing you should be asking yourselves is, is this really necessary?

Slack, the popular workplace instant messaging service, has decided to redesign their familiar grid or hashtag logo, which has left users feeling perplexed. The old logo, based on the hashtag sign, was emblematic of a conversation topic and aptly represented what the product meant.

Nevertheless, they have replaced it with an ugly colour splash, that feels uncomfortable and doesn’t really resemble anything in particular. Some believe it looks like windmills, or ducks …

or even …

Numerous designers have noted the striking similarity. This is obviously unintentional, but regardless the “once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it” effect could eventually prove the new logo’s ultimate undoing.

It launched last week and has been rolled out on most major platforms. The new logo marks the first major redesign since the company was launched. As per usual Slack explained in detail the thought process behind the new design on their blog. They talked about maintaining the spirit of the brand but updating it to have a more contemporary feel. They also note how the design is much “simpler”. In terms of the colour scheme they have a point, but the actual design itself is considerably more complicated, try drawing it from memory.

Many are surprised to learn that it was created by the prestigious Michael Bierut, who is often described as one of the best designers of our time, at the New York firm Pentagram Design.

Slack has defended the reasoning for the change. Apparently, it was too complicated; there were 11 overlapping translucent colours, that made it easy to get wrong. It had to be placed at the right angle (exactly, 18 degrees rotation), and if done incorrectly, the logo was, as Slack puts it, “simply awful.” Whether anyone noticed this I am not sure. This has been replaced with a symmetrical arrangement of rounded rectangles and pin, consisting of only four colours (light blue, magenta, green and yellow).

The new logo is “a simpler, more distinctive evolution of it that could do that job better.” Despite the general dislike of the logo, Slack says it is here to stay, claiming that it will be more instantly recognisable.

“The updated palette features four primary colors, more manageable than the original’s eleven, which suffered against any background color other than white,” the company writes. “These have been optimized to look better on screen, and the identity also retains Slack’s distinctive aubergine purple as an accent color.”

Maybe we will get used to it in time; after all, we initially objected to Apple and Microsoft’s logo changes, but eventually, they did settle in.

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