Their 30 Days of Change campaign was a fun way to build excitement for the re-design of their 18-year old logo. Some of the “rejects” were playful and had the potential to breathe new life into the aging brand that recently purchased Tumblr in an effort to become relevant again.
However, the final result is a bit underwhelming:
In a her Tumblr post, Geeking Out on the Logo, Marissa Mayer, the Google alumna turned Yahoo! CEO, wrote about her involvement in the design process:
On a personal level, I love brands, logos, color, design, and, most of all, Adobe Illustrator. I think it’s one of the most incredible software packages ever made. I’m not a pro, but I know enough to be dangerous 🙂
So, one weekend this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the trenches with our logo design team: Bob Stohrer, Marc DeBartolomeis, Russ Khaydarov, and our intern Max Ma. We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish, and we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail.
The first problem with this is that she has the same attitude that makes it hard for designers to charge what our work is worth. Illustrator is a tool and not a replacement for a solid design education and years of experience. How many times have we heard about the 15-year-old nephew who knows Photoshop and will design and entire website for $50? When this attitude is held by the hip and young CEO of a Fortune 500 company, is there any hope for us to teach the value of design to any of our clients?
The second part is equally problematic. She brags about spending an entire weekend “in the trenches,” looking over the shoulders of her designers and providing feedback every step of the way. As a designer, this scenario sounds like a nightmare and an insult to the in-house design talent at Yahoo. Micromanagement is the death of creativity, and the final result shows that the designers gave in to her every whim and didn’t fight back – or maybe they got tired of doing so. I am sure these designers are very talented, and sadly, Mayer’s management style did not allow them to truly show off their design chops.
The lesson here is this: leave design to the professionals you have hired. They have the training and years of experience to provide a final product that respects your brand’s voice and will stand the test of time. There will always be critics, and usually the best thing is to ignore them. This time, however, the best thing to do is listen.