30 tones in 30 days

Today Yahoo! launched its new logo (above), following an experiment in which they released 30 logo variations in 30 days. Given the importance of brand language, Nick Asbury thought he’d explore a tone of voice equivalent – from ‘cloying’ and ‘hipster’ to ‘inexplicably tangential’

Today Yahoo! launched its new logo (above), following an experiment in which they released 30 logo variations in 30 days. Given the importance of brand language, Nick Asbury thought he’d explore a tone of voice equivalent – from ‘cloying’ and ‘hipster’ to ‘inexplicably tangential’…

As a marketing exercise, Yahoo’s logo project has certainly won a lot of attention, albeit creating more heat than light [CR’s Patrick covered the initial announcement and what it might mean for the brand; while both Design Week and Brand New have written good pieces about the project today.]

The gradual release of 30 iterations could have been an interesting idea if it had been handled as a genuine exploration of the brand, enlightening the public about the thinking behind it and involving them in the process.

Unfortunately, it’s been executed on such a bizarrely simplistic level that it comes across as a parody, no doubt reinforcing everyone’s worst preconception about branding – namely, that it’s just a matter of superficial visual decoration, like picking out a new set of curtains. (That’s the standard analogy anyway – do people still pick out sets of curtains? I suppose they do.)

Given the importance of brand language these days, it struck me that the whole exercise was crying out for a copywriting treatment. So I had a go at writing 30 tones of voice for Yahoo! in 30 days. It’s not entirely serious, although Yahoo! already appear to be using a version of Defensive.

1. Cloying (our existing tone)
Yahoo! makes it easier to discover the news and information that you care about most.

2. Punchy
Yahoo! All the news and info you need – today.

3. Story-telling
It all started way back when we decided to start Yahoo! So began our quest to make it easier for folks to find the news and information they care about. And that mission continues today. Same as it ever was. But different.

4. Sophisticated poetry
Yahoo! makes it easier
to discover the news
and information
that you care
about
most.

5. Infantilising
Hello, I’m some Yahoo! copy. I’m here to tell you all about Yahoo! Please read me and see what you think. Thank-yahoo!

6. Visionary
At Yahoo!, we believe in a world where everyone, without exception, can access the news and information they care about most passionately: for the benefit of humanity.

7. Dialogue
– Who are you?
– We’re Yahoo!
– What do you do?
– We make it easier to find the news and information you need.
– Like Google?
– Yes, but different and more entertaining.
– But basically like Google?
– Can we discuss a redraft?

8. Inexplicably tangential
Cows are great at eating grass and mooing. But one thing they can’t do is make it easier to discover the news and information that you care about. For that, you need Yahoo!

Yahoo! News, not moos.

9. Sad
If we’re honest, the exclamation mark at the end of our name is a grammatical rictus grin that we wear habitually to distract ourselves from the undeniable reality of the fact that we work for Yahoo!

10. Defensive
Yahoo! is genuinely here to make it easier to discover the news and information that you care about. And that’s not a bad thing, is it? We may not be the best at what we do, but a lot of people like it and that’s an achievement, isn’t it? What have you done with your life?

11. Rhyming
We’re Yahoo!
And we do
what we do
for people like you.

12. Designer confidence
We Are YahooTM

13. Hesitant
Yahoo?

14. Mature
Yahoo.

15. Pretentious
Yahoo;

16. Annoying
Yahoo:-)

17. Hipster
Yahoo_

18. Northern
Yahoo! Ya bastard!

19. Unnecessarily aggressive
Yahoo the f–k do you think you’re talking to?

20. Scientific
News + information x now = Yahoo!

NB: This project was abandoned at Day 20 due to inexplicable lack of public interest.

A version of this article was originally posted on checkthis.com/yahootone and is reproduced with permission.

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Nick Asbury

Nick Asbury has a way with words; whether they’re written for a studio brief, or a personal project. He is the designer’s writer

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