Seattle's Best Blood Bank

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Seattle’s Best Coffee. It doesn’t do much for me, and I feel their ubiquitous presence in Borders’ across the country is, well, weird. Seattle? Why would I want Seattle’s coffee? I’m old and crotchety regarding my coffee it seems. But recently, Seattle’s Best Coffee changed their logo, as companies have a tendency to do.

Changing an established logo is an endeavor that cannot be taken lightly. It is the first introduction you give your customers and it needs to say everything about your company in one mark; it needs to be recognizable, original, and if all goes according to plan, represent where your company stands in the market. Changing this can dramatically change all that, intended or otherwise, for better or for worse.

Transient

On the left we have the old logo. On the right, the new. The differences are remarkable, to day the least. It is a drastically modernized logo, continuing with a trend of flatter, less involved logos; I think the Pepsi logo change is the flagship example of this. But where Pepsi succeeded in updating their logo, I think Seattle’s Best’s logo most assuredly didn’t.

Why? Well, for one, it doesn’t look like they sell coffee; if it didn’t say “coffee" in the mark, you would never know. Yahoo! Business reports various opinions on it, one person saying it looks like “Seattle’s Best Blood Bank." It doesn’t feel like coffee much, either. It’s dull and sterile. It reminds me a lot of Target’s Up & Up brand (which, again, does it more successfully), not coffee. The old logo was robust and rich, like coffee. It was bold and warm. Now it’s kind of vague and unfamiliar, not a good ‘first impression’ that I was talking about earlier. Another person from the Yahoo! article quipped that it looks like a “cereal bowl full of tears." A Seattle Times snap poll shows that just over 73% of people think “they should try again."

So what does Seattle’s Best do? I don’t think they’ll do anything. They seem very confidant in their marketing, and as the chain expands this year, we’ll be seeing more and more of this logo. Thoughts?