Brand New: Room 34 Edition

I’m a big fan of the blog Brand New. I like seeing the “before and after” of various brand identities.

Lately I’ve been contemplating a brand refresh of my own. I’ve been mostly satisfied with the current Room 34 Creative Services logo. I really like the “rings” design element, the color palette, and, even though it’s overused, the Avenir font:

But there are some things I don’t like about the logo. I’ve been getting a little tired of the colors (even though I like them); I’m increasingly regretting including the “.com” (even though I like the fact that my logo is my web address); and I don’t like the redundant “Room 34.” Plus, Avenir is overused.

So, today I took a first stab at a new identity. It has a new color palette, using one of my favorite colors, reddish-orange (or vermillion if you prefer a more poetic name for it), it eliminates the redundant text, and it switches to another of my favorite, but much less common, fonts: Proxima Nova:

I’m not 100% committed to this change yet; rebranding is a big undertaking, even for a business as small as mine. Switching to this new logo will require redesigning my website, my letterhead and my business cards. But I like the direction. I especially like the letterforms (or, I guess, numeralforms) of the “3” and “4” in Proxima Nova Black. So nice. The new logo is also more compact and scales down better than the old.

Update: Based on JW’s excellent recommendations (and a few observations of my own) I’ve made a few adjustments: 1) improved spacing between the “o’s” in “room”; 2) resized the rings slightly for better lockup with the text — the top of the “4” ring group is now aligned with the top of the letters in “room”; 3) slight change to the color in “CREATIVE SERVICES” so it is more readable on either a light or dark background.

Here’s the new version, on both white and black:

New Room 34 logo, revised
New Room 34 logo, revised

The Shining: happy version

Apparently this brilliant mock trailer for the “happy version” of The Shining has been on YouTube for 3 years, but I just discovered it in a post on Brand New, cited as an effective metaphor for the horrible decision of the merged United and Continental airlines to simply merge their logos as well.

Anyway… wow. This trailer really messed with my brain. Watch:

The most disturbing part for me was that for most of it, I believed it was a real trailer. I was too young when The Shining came out to be able to remember the marketing campaign for it, but I’ve seen enough late-’70s and early-’80s movie trailers as bonus features on DVDs to recognize the dippy narration as de rigeur for the era.

It wasn’t until I heard a brief snippet of my favorite piano motif from the soundtrack of The Shawshank Redemption that I realized it was fake… and then moments later, when “Solsbury Hill” (a song that at least existed when the movie was made) came in, the conceit went over the top — funny, but obvious.

Regardless, this is a brilliant piece of work. In addition to being hilarious, it shows how you can twist an assortment of brief clips from a movie to tell just about any story you want. (It also helps explain why trailers can be effective in selling tickets for a crap movie… which The Shining, of course, is not.)

The coup de grâce is the way the voiceover says “Shining” at the end.

As long as I’m complaining about advertising…

Pepsi, what were you thinking?Yes, I am annoyed with the fundamentally stupid concept of the Cupcake in Bloom. And the guy in the Qwest ads, in the words of one reader, “just screams of d-bag.” But perhaps nothing in in the world of advertising, circa early 2009, is as ubiquitous or incomprehensible as Pepsi’s hideous new logo.

It’s even more hideous when you discover the full hogwash design pseudo-philosophy behind its creation. To that end, Brand New is here to help.

I think this really sums it up though. And no, you are not alone if you think it bears a striking resemblance to Strong Sad.

Then again, now more than ever there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and this whole thing has gotten me thinking a lot more about Pepsi than I ever would have otherwise. But I’ll still only drink it when there’s no Coke products in the soda fountain.