Moving Brands leans HP 13 degrees forward

Moving Brands has proposed a sharp new mark for Hewlett Packard that aims to re-establish HP as a brand at the forefront of technological innovation

Moving Brands has proposed a sharp new mark for Hewlett Packard that aims to re-establish HP as a brand at the forefront of technological innovation

As our sister title Design Week revealed yesterday, Moving Brands’ new mark is the upshot of a process that began in 2008 when the consultancy was charged with the development of brand strategy and experience design at HP.

1954 logo

Hewlett Packard was perhaps the original Silicon Valley success story. It was founded in a garage by Stanford engineering graduates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in 1939 and proved an inspiration to the young Steve Jobs who had a summer job there. Jobs’ partner Steve Wozniak also worked at HP and designed what became the first Apple computer there – he was obliged to offer it to his employer first but HP turned the opportunity down.

What Moving Brands found at HP is a familiar corporate story – a company once renowned for innovation that, thanks to successive acquisitions, had become bloated and somewhat lacking in personality and direction. From being one of the most innovative firms in history, it had become known as just another boring supplier of printers and PCs. “The once iconic brand was deemed dull and lifeless by consumers and business customers alike,” as Moving Brands says in its case study here (which details just what a complex brand strategy project this was).

 

With its recent advertising from Goodby Silverstein, (including the Hands campaign starring various ‘cool’ celebs, above) HP had been trying to make up some of that lost ground.

 

For the visual identity segment of its work in helping transform perceptions of the brand, Moving Brands’ proposed solution is a stripped down mark that abstracts the HP name into four bars that, as the studio claims “lean into the future” at a 13 degree angle – the same angle used in previous HP logos. It’s a determinedly modern mark that harks back to the likes of Muriel Cooper’s MIT Press logo (below). This idea of the 13 degree angle has also been applied across other aspects of the design system created for HP including photography and other graphic elements.

The mark is incredibly simple, but in these days of Photoshop gradients and 3D gimmickry beloved of so many identity designers, all the better for it. One quibble – is it obviously ‘hp’ or could it read ‘bp’ to the uninitiated? Presumably once it has been repeated a gazillion times on ads and websites and everywhere else (as in these mock-ups, below) we will come to associate it unquestionably with the brand.

The temptation with so many of these projects is to go for a mark that attempts to do too much, cover too much ground, present the many faces of a multi-faceted organisation – as in the current vogue for flexible systems. But HP’s problem was that it had too much going on. It needed a single, strong voice behind which its 300,000-odd employees could unite. And Moving Brands has provided it elegantly.

 

But, and it’s a big but, the new identity has yet to be implemented. As Design Week revealed, the roll out is in the hands of HP, what they choose to do with it, and which parts of the proposed visual identity programme they choose to adopt, is up to them. It’s very unusual for a consultancy to go public with aspects of a corporate identity that have not, as yet, been officially implemented. A little bit of testing the water perhaps?

HP has already started to use some of the additional visual elements developed by Moving Brands (photography, typeface etc) alongside its existing logo in a kind of halfway-house (see above film the film has subsequently been blocked). Will it now go the whole hog and adopt the new mark too?

UPDATE: Design Week reports that “there are no plans to implement the new logo. A spokesman for HP says, ‘The design system created with Moving Brands was the only aspect of this work that was approved. The logo was a working draft that did not get adopted by HP’.”

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Moving Brands has now removed the proposed new logo from its website which now carries this statement: “We have removed the HP case study per the request of HP, in order to clarify the distinction between the aspects of the work that were setting a creative vision for the brand but were not implemented in the market, and the aspects which reflect the actual in-market applications of the Identity and Design System. The ‘Progress mark’ logo is not the go-forward direction for HP.”

 

 

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  • I reckon HP should go the ‘whole hog’ and implement the simple slash.

  • Phil C

    Wow. This is the first time in a while that I’ve seen a big corporate re-brand and thought, yes, that is a good marque. Normally it’s some kind of 3D rendered monstrosity. Well done Moving Brands.

  • john smith

    how many typos are there in this article?

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ John Smith
    Two, both of which are now fixed

  • Pete

    A good progression on the logo. Nice that it link with the past. The ascender and descender are too long for me though…

    @ RIch Cousins – Deutsche Bank might have something to say about that.

  • J

    Love this!

  • Matt

    Looks like an interesting identity but now they actually have to live up to this new identity and go forth and innovate.

  • Tim

    I’m already bored of the fail safe ‘angled device’ to reflect modernity. I enjoyed viewing the work with my screen on a -13º angle – you should try it! I can’t help thinking the opening render of the logo belongs on the chest of the latest CGI pixar hero.

    Also, I just checked out the MB site. Please give over with the post rationalising and inquisitive staff photography. Assume your audience is of at least average intelligence?!

  • This is an intelligent deep rebrand that considers many aspects of the branded experience.

    MB should be praised for bringing intelligent, varied and progressive thinking to a huge organisation.
    A tough gig.

    This is hard stuff. It’s a doddle to boff out an eyecatching look for a struggling charity or trust with an eye on the award ceremony…

    Far more challenging is the brief to unite organisations at significant scale, without compromise.

    Even if HP do not entirely embrace all that we see here, it’s a very well considered brand world for an organisation that could use it to elegantly signal change.

    Tim may be bored by angles. John more interested in typo’s. Pete critical of the length of typographic stroke. But come on… this is genuinely interesting, progressive stuff… not another paintjob… give a little!

  • Looks like Roger Tallon’s logo for lip (see: http://182.fm/uUOuGR)
    But in fact I like it…

  • Andy

    A lovely identity but it will be interesting to see how it looks on god awful toner packaging and products which are beyond the control of MB, if and when it’s fully implemented. Cant see it being as beautiful as it is in these examples.

  • Rob

    Great work as always from MB. The logo isn’t dead yet…

  • brewd

    Nice work!

    Shame the whole thing seems the exact opposite of where they are heading judging from the CEOs latest comments.

  • Max

    nice simple thing
    but!
    what would it look like, if i turn the logo 180 degrees?
    hp will be dq or dy
    not good enough, i think

  • Tim Smith

    Simon, I agree with your comments. My gripes were focused on minor subjective aspects, of what on he whole, looks like a good project.

  • Rahul

    Just the slash seems way too drastic for its time. Hope they implement the other logo at some point in the near future cuz this is one of the best new logo concepts I’ve seen in a long time. A refresh to its image will help boost the confidence of consumers and employees after the many debacles that have taken place over the last few months.

  • Rory

    ‘hp’ or ‘bp’?
    I guess it depends on how you look at it.

  • IC

    Strong identity. Good work MB

    I think my favourite example of the 13 degree angle is the ink monitors on the printer – subtle and elegant

  • I love the simplicity. As people have already mentioned, this will help create a strong brand identity. The simple ideas are always the best.

  • I admire what Moving Brands are trying to do here – it’s quite beautiful, very adventurous and well thought through, but, ultimately I don’t think it works. This is design for designers. Not for the general public.

    Out of context, the marque is meaningless. We’re all looking at this having been told it’s hp.

    Our job as designers is to create commercially effective solutions. Many years ago we were called ‘commercial artists’. I think this is what were still are. Our work should be art, should be beautiful and innovative, even challenging to a degree, but it has to work commercially in the big wide world where customers who aren’t designers will see our work both in and out of context.

    It’s a shame. If everyone was design-aware as we are the world would be full of interesting and exciting ‘commercial art’ but they’re not.

    That’s what we have to work with. And there’s no escaping it.

  • johnjohn

    moving brands crack me up with the random people pointing at sketches…

  • I think it’s a much sharper mark. It reminds me of the mill’s logo which has always been a favourite of mine and it looks like they’ve got some nice ideas on the equally important job of execution too.

  • Ian

    @johnjohn

    Said random dude is HP’s CTO Phil McKinney.

  • Ed

    Andi – Yes, there’s a little bit of an adjustment to see that it’s hp, but the Mercedes Benz marque is meaningless unless you’ve been told it’s Mercedes.

    Reminds me of the apocryphal “teacher the Apple logo on the board and writes ‘apple’ underneath” story – there’s no need to always spell things out for people, especially when in the long-run you can have a much stronger identity.

    Point is, you only need to be told once – because the marque’s so strong.

    It says hp. Now you know.

  • A great minimalist rebranding.

    Congratulations to the Moving Brands team.

    Jon Daniel

  • I feel we can’t ignore a strong point of criticism picked up upon here by so many readers…
    We’re dealing with a wordmark/logotype here. Not a form of pictogram…
    This piece is ultimately a confused piece of work – albeit well executed and produced, it has no clear definition in structure which in turn leaves its core principles flawed. And let’s be clear, for the logo here to function correctly, it’s core legibility needs to be infallible.

  • Ed, I think you’ll find the Mercedes Benz marque is actually the words ‘Mercedes Benz’ and the three pointed star is simply the brand device, not the logo. It is very recognisable by itself, but this comes from a hundred years of advertising which uses uses both logo and device together. The same can be said for Audi’s four circles. Both companies’ advertising still uses both logo and device.

    Point is, you shouldn’t have to be told. No brand should require ‘a little adjustment’.

  • Ed, I think you’ll find the Mercedes Benz marque is actually the words ‘Mercedes Benz’ and the three pointed star is simply the brand device, not the logo. It is very recognisable by itself, but this comes from a hundred years of advertising which uses uses both logo and device together. The same can be said for Audi’s four circles. Both companies’ advertising still uses both logo and device.

    Point is, you shouldn’t have to be told. No brand should require ‘a little adjustment’.

  • Nora

    This great (and huge) article is one of best that I’ve read about HP’s redesign: http://bit.ly/skXK3S

  • adrien
  • N

    looks like *bp* to me