CR Blog

Double P for PayPal

Graphic Design

Posted by Patrick Burgoyne, 1 May 2014, 10:34    Permalink    Comments (7)

PayPal has unveiled a redesigned brand identity from Fuse Project which the company describes as "less a dramatic shift from what was, and more a modernising of what's always been"

In 2012 we wrote about the way in which the major digital start-ups have changed their identities as they grow. Quirky, almost amateur-ish marks are progressively smartend up and straightened out as fancy offices replace back bedrooms and borrowed desk space. And some of the personality that made these brands attractive in the first place is perhaps lost along the way.

PayPal has become the latest major digital player to go through such a process as it unveils a new identity, although the company claims that it was attempting to avoid looking like the establsihment in doing so. "What do you do when a brand that entered the world as an innovator starts to look like the establishment it once challenged? When a comprehensive visual audit of the brand confirms this truth, you decide it's time for a redesign," PayPal says in a press release.

Apparently, 33% of financial services brands use blue as a corporate colour, so while PayPal wanted to retain what has become a colour that most associate with them, it wanted to appear a little less conservative while doing so.

The new system, the company says "is built around 4 key elements: a stronger wordmark set in modified Futura, a new monogram of PayPal's double Ps, more vibrant colours, and a dynamic angle graphic. The wordmark and the monogram together lock up for PayPal's new signature."


"Rethinking the logo of a financial institution is complex, as users need to feel the same trust and comfort with the new identity as they did with the old," says FuseProject's Yves Behar. "One of the main goals of PayPal's redesign is to create a cohesive look and feel across the brand, while affirming the trust consumers already have in the company. With this in mind, fuseproject focused on strengthening existing, underutilised elements, as well as inventing something new and progressive."

The type and word mark have been cleaned up

But perhaps more importantly for the brand, both FuseProject and PayPal stress the need for the new system to work effectively on mobile and wearable tech – the company appears to be betting that the latter wil be a big area of growth for it in future. Hence the mark is designed to work well at the size of a mobile phone home screen icon and incorporates the transparency used by many operating systems. Here's how it will look on an iPhone and a Samsung Gear:



It also has to work at payment points in shops, like this:


An ad campaign by Havas Worldwide New York also accompanies the launch:




While this might not be the most exciting or wideranging brand identity you will see on this site, I think it's interesting for the challenges it presents. As with the likes of Google, Ebay and Twitter, PayPal is a maturing business faced with the dilemma of reinforcing trust while attempting to retain some of the outsider status that made its name. As Behar says, the question for the design team led by David Marcus was "how do we achieve a transition that still allows people to recognize the brand, but move it forward with a strong push?"

The other interesting point for me is the affect that new devices and platforms are having on the way in which brands express themselves visually. If the most important aspect of your brand's expression, the place where it absolutely has to work first and foremost, is as an icon on a smartphone homescreen, what does that mean for the way it looks? We used to talk a lot about how well a mark might reproduce in print, how many colours it used etc. And in the mock-ups that studios typically send us, identities often look at their most impactful and seductive on all those LiveSurface-generated tote bags and badges. But now, for many brands, the first concern is how a mark will work within operating systems over which the brand itself has little control.


The new logo gives a feeling that the dark blue 'P' of "Pay" is larger and crowding/ smothering the light blue "P" of "Pal" from behind. This takes away from the friendliness of Pal and reminds users that the Pay is the important Corporate part. This smothering feeling is not a good feeling/impression unless PayPal wants to be seen as the big blue bank entity picking our pockets from behind.
The old logo is lighter and more friendly.
2014-05-01 12:54:43

I'm not feeling the 'one P smothering the other' vibe. If anything, the lower P is far more visible and 'free' than in the previous logo. Also how have you related the logo to them wanting to 'picking our pockets from behind'? No one is forcing you to use them (unless you use ebay) and it doesn't cost you more to use them (again, unless you sell on ebay).
2014-05-01 13:40:29

[deleted by moderator]
2014-05-01 14:09:00

Mixed feelings on this one - at first glance I rather liked it, but the more I look at it, especially the type without the mark - it feels very generic, corporate even which is not the personality PayPal try to emit [at least in my opinion].

I do however, love the simplicity of the mark itself, I can imagine that will become a powerful icon in their marketing and branding compared to what they had earlier.

Salahuddin al-Hanbali
2014-05-01 15:20:09

I wonder if this would be a lot stronger if the two blues were alternated, with the light blue as the 'top' P. At the moment it feels a rather top heavy piece of design, colour-wise.
Darren L
2014-05-01 18:07:41

I agree with Darren L. I think that bringing the lighter blue forward and dropping the dark blue behind would be more effective. It would also place more of an emphasis on the 'Pal', rather than the 'Pay' which would have friendlier connotations.
Ben Steers
2014-05-02 12:43:31

This work is not in any way offensive but nor do I personally find it in any way remotely interesting. I am not going to bash it or any of that nonsense but more often than not I find myself checking out this site and seeing work from 'big famous agency' or work for 'big name client' where the common denominator is the work itself is genuinely dull, the explanations nonsense and the questions asked empty. I know there is no way that CR can please everyone but more and more I find less and less reasons to check out what you have to share. Sorry guys hate to be negative.
2014-05-02 13:26:00

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