New look eBay

After 17 years, eBay has ditched its quirky, overlaying logotype in favour of a more sedate identity reflecting its transformation from start-up auction site to multi-billion dollar operation

After 17 years, eBay has ditched its quirky, overlaying logotype in favour of a more sedate identity reflecting its transformation from start-up auction site to multi-billion dollar operation…

UPDATE: As eBay becomes the latest tech company to shift to a blander, more ‘professional’ logo, we ask if designers are sucking all the fun out of the sector? Read the post here

The haphazardly stacked lettering of the 1997 logo has handed over its colour way to the new version, but little else.

And the new look, by Lippincott (see Design Week’s story here), certainly plays it safe and straight – for one, the letters have finally all settled on the same baseline.

But in using Univers Extended, spaced tightly together, the wordmark also has a hint of Ken Garland’s playful GALT TOYS identity, which used Folio Medium Extended.

The previous eBay logo was designed by Elissa Davis and was her first job as a designer for CKS Partners in California, under the design direction of Bill Cleary.

In a comment added to a post on about the history of the company’s logo, Davis writes of her (frequently overlooked) involvement in its creation.

“I loved the colours of the Apple logo and the fun movement of the Twister game and somehow that gave me the idea of eBay,” she says. “[T]he overlapping colours were designed to convey the sense of community on eBay.”

That sense of community is perhaps another element that has changed in the way eBay is used today.

As company president Devin Wenig mentions in his post about the new logo, the majority of goods for sale on the site are now listed as fixed price ‘Buy It Now’ items, so the auctions side of the site – and the kind of interactions that initially fostered any sense of an eBay ‘community’ – no longer seem to have as a big a role to play.

In 2012, eBay has become a giant online “marketplace”, whereas in the mid-1990s it was a burgeoning auction site with a broken laser pen as its first winning bid. If anything, the change from one logo to the other simply reflects that.

According to the company, the new logo will go live on the site and appear in advertising and marketing campaigns in mid-October. eBay’s annoucement on the new design is here.


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