The Devil (or the Kerning) is in the Details

We recently completed a brand refresh here at PUSH 22 for our client MOOG, a manufacturer of chassis parts for parent company Federal-Mogul Motorparts. As one of their flagship brands, an already well-known entity, an official presence in NASCAR, and basically the king of suspensions, you approach a project like this with great enthusiasm, but also with a judicial dose of cautionary treading.

Don’t mess with the best.

The first task on our list was to examine the existing MOOG logo and offer our advice on going forward. Do you throw it out and start over? Build on what brand equity is already there? Or, as we like to say in this business, do we want a revolution or an evolution?

It was pretty clear to me from the beginning that this was the latter; definitely an evolution. You don’t take an iconic logo that has been around for decades and is immediately recognized by it’s target audience and blow it up, even if it is flawed. You work with what’s there. You tweak it, pull it, massage it, and tweak it some more. You make deliberately small moves in order to retain the big picture of the branding.

So what exactly changed? To some, the answer is pretty much nothing – looks like the same logo to me. But the differences are in the details, and the goal is that your audience might know something is different but can’t necessarily place their finger on it. They just know that it’s pleasing to look at and is still the logo they know and trust for quality suspension components.

For those who want a thorough explanation, here’s what we did:

  • First, let’s start with what we didn’t do – mess with the colors. When your brand has been blue and yellow since 1919, you don’t mess with it. 
  • We increased the blue box surrounding the type. Just like we humans need space to breathe and stretch out, so does typography. The original box was way too close to the letterforms and felt cramped. 
  • The serifs (the small, angular points) were removed from the letters M and G. By removing them, it gave the Serpentine font (that was designed in 1972) an instantly more modern look.
  • Additional curving of parts of the M and G were done to make it even more sleek. This helped to complete our transformation from the seventies to today.
  • Smaller but not to be overlooked details, like shortening the crossbar on the G and kerning the heck out of the letters (the space between them), was the icing on our logo refreshment cake.

So when it’s your logo’s turn for a makeover, ask yourself whether an overhaul feels right or maybe just a face lift will do based on the equity you have built.

Either way, an updated logo is a great way to liven up your brand, keep the audience you have, and attract new customers or clients to your fold.  

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This post was written by T. Malhoit, Associate Creative Director at PUSH 22.