“So, one weekend this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the trenches with our logo design team.”
— Marissa Mayer, because what Yahoo really needs is for its CEO to redesign its logo? By the way, some — OK, many — say Yahoo itself had no reason to redesign its logo, which has shrugged off its serifs and donned beveling. Oh, and the exclamation point is now animated. So this is what the company’s 30-day tantalizing tease all comes down to!
We’ll leave the design critique to the experts and the Twitterverse, let’s go back to Mayer getting excited about tilting “the exclamation point by 9 degrees, just to add a bit of whimsy.” It’s no surprise to those who have worked with her, plus tech observers and design geeks — we all know the former Googler is famous for asking a design team to test 41 shades of blue for the search toolbar on Google pages.
True, shares of the Sunnyvale company have done the happy dance (like the exclamation point!) since Mayer took the reins. But despite the redesigns of the logo, email, Flickr and other products, plus the big purchase of Tumblr, analysts and even Mayer herself say Yahoo still has other stuff to work out. Stuff such as ad revenue, a declining market share in Web search, and the fact that its most recent profit surge was due to its stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, as the Merc’s Brandon Bailey reported in July. Mayer and CFO Ken Goldman were upbeat when they reported earnings in July newscaster-style, but they acknowledged that redesigns and rolling out new products will take a while to pay off.
So yes, Mayer sweats the small things — “we toyed with lowercase and sentence case letters” — but those who brought her aboard knew that, right? She’s not afraid to “roll up her sleeves” (and use cliches). And many of us have been lucky enough to have bosses who aren’t afraid to work in the trenches with their minions. (Has anyone seen my brown nose?)
But Mayer also thinks big and long-term, so she probably scored points with her employees, who were polled about the new logo and said they wanted change. As the company and Mayer say, Yahoo has a newly energized sense of purpose. Maybe one day we’ll look back on the seemingly insignificant logo revamp, sigh and say how it was the turning point. Or maybe five minutes from now, some of us will already be sick of the antsy exclamation point.
Photo of newly unveiled redesigned Yahoo logo by Michael Nelson/EPA