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How and Why Was the Beloved Slack Logo Replaced
Many communication apps try to modernize their logo designs by making them minimal. Some turn out successful, like the Snapchat logo, but others struggle with the reception of the new emblem. One of the representatives of the latter is Slack.
The old Slack logo was instantly recognizable and memorable, which was excellent from an external point of view. However, the previous Slack symbol was a mess for people that had to work with it!
The old emblem had various versatility issues, ultimately leading to the needed Slack logo redesign. It encompassed eleven colors, making it extremely difficult to present on anything other than white.
Then there’s the wrong positioning nightmare. The original Slack symbol had to be presented at the precisely prescribed 18-degree angle; otherwise, it could easily be mixed with many similar signs.
So, Slack teamed up with Pentagram and design legend Michael Bierut to develop a new symbol that won’t be affected by these tricky issues. Unfortunately, none of them predicted there would be new ones... But we’ll speak more about that later.
Goodbye to the Popular Hashtag Logo – Enter the Infamous Slack Logo Redesign
The new Slack logo had a completely new look and feel to it.
The new design takes the old hashtag symbol, simplifies it and presents it in a gradient of purple, pink, green and yellow.
Its new, minimal octothorpe shape is built with the help of two basic geometric shapes: a speech bubble and a lozenge. The speech bubble was meant to act as a symbol for communication, the primary service offered by the brand.
The new logo was created to be more contemporary and adaptable to function effectively on various platforms and media. It addressed the versatility issue while grabbing the chance to make a more modern design. In keeping with Slack's corporate ideals, the gradient hues were intended to stand for inclusivity and diversity.
The word slack is portrayed in Helix Bold. The logo itself still represents an octothorp next to a logotype.
The new Slack logo is a sleek, contemporary design that successfully conveys the company's identity and ideals. However, it came at an unpredictable price!
The Original Slack Logo (2013-2019)
Unlike the new Slack logo, was marked by mixed reactions and controversies, the original symbol was mainly beloved due to its memorable appearance, various interpretations and nicknames. The playful, colorful nature of the old design helped it stand out, despite relying on a basic symbol.
When the old Slack symbol was first unveiled in 2013, its name was written in capital letters, and a vibrant "#" symbol was used next to the typeface. Green, blue, purple and red were the vivid colors used to produce the hashtag symbol.
The logo design used a hashtag symbol to represent discussion, while the vibrant colors signify energy and creativity. These elements emphasized Slack's focus on team communication and collaboration.
The designers used the unique typeface "Slim Joe," a thin, contemporary sans-serif font that exuded a sense of simplicity and elegance.
How Fixing One Issue Can Create Another: The Public Backlash
Don’t fix something that’s not broken unless you can improve it. And while there was a consensus on the Slack logo redesign, the new emblem shortly became a public topic. But not in a good way.
Many users found the gradient tones visually confusing and challenging to reproduce, especially in black and white or smaller sizes.
People claimed that the new design makes distinguishing Slack from other software companies with comparable branding difficult since it is too generic and lacks character. For example, some comparisons pointed out the drastic similarities with the Google Photos logo.
But apart from the resemblances with other popular emblems, there have been comparisons with four minimalistic ducks, the UNO card game deck and more. While there’s nothing wrong with a joke or two since it gets people talking about your brand, some suggested that Slack could have gotten better results from logo generator apps (although these logo design apps can be a great option for a startup).
However, more severe issues arose when the public associated the new logo with dire symbols, like the swastika. While we’re confident that wasn’t the case in this logo redesign, it still puts a dent in the Slack brand image. Besides, no one wants people to connect your brand to the notorious symbol banned in many countries.
Nevertheless, it was one of the most talked about logo redesigns. But it is far from the only interesting logo redesign story.
A Lesson on When and How You Should Replace Your Logo
Reasons for changing the logo may vary. As a company grows and evolves, its brand may change, and its logo may need to be reinvented. A new logo can represent the company's growth and evolution over time.
However, the primary reason for changing the emblem is sometimes more technical, as seen in Slack’s example. This doesn’t mean you should take it lightly and work only on improving the broken aspect; instead, pay attention to getting all of them right!
So, Slack had all the valid reasons to redesign the old logo and they teamed up with renowned designers to develop a new one – what could go wrong? Apparently, a lot.
While the “Slacklash” eventually died down and the new Slack symbol was accepted, this case offers valuable lessons for any brand considering redesigning its logo.
While there was a practical reason for the change, the company didn’t pay enough attention to the potential feedback from the customers.
Before making drastic changes, ensure your target audience is on board. Create a poll or a teaser campaign to measure the pulse, predict their reaction and act accordingly. It’s crucial not to make them angry! In the end, customers are essential to running a successful business.