It's not uncommon for a company to redesign its logo over the years (or decades) but for a startup like Spotify who hasn't been around that long (compared to Microsoft, for instance), it was rather unusual to see the streaming music service ditch its quirky logo for something simpler last month. And with the new logo and icon rolling out to desktop users this week, we just had to find out the who/what/where/when/why.
Christian Wilsson was the creative lead for this particular project and the original logo maker back in 2006. Andreas Holmström was the lead designer on the logo redesign and I had a quick chat with both recently.
Gizmodo: So, how long has this redesign been in the works?
CW: It started back in September when we started work on a big brand strategy for the company and one result from that was that we needed a brand refresh. Leading up to our December 6th event last year, we knew we wanted more photographic imagery than quirky illustrations and that's when we got rid of the green square and went with simple, solid back and white text for the logo. Then in January we started thinking about changing the logo during what we called "blue sky work".
Gizmodo: And how does the new logo play into the overall brand strategy now?
CW: We wanted to be perceived as easy, personal and fun and the new logo matches all those criteria. It's cleaned up and is now one piece, which was a problem with the old logo. People were using the app icon as the logo because they didn't know what the primary logo was. We wanted to address that in the redesign.
Gizmodo: What typeface are you now using for the new logo?
AH: It's a tweaked version of Tobias Frere-Jones' Gotham. It's a medium Gotham that's been tweaked with rounded corners and we changed the dot on top of the "i" with a circle instead of a square. We're using Proxima Nova on the site.
Gizmodo: What's the deal with those waves or squiggles or whatever they are? In the redesign they've been moved off to the left.
CW: We noticed that people have been complaining on the Interwebs about them not being perfect. We had tried out the golden ratio on them but that made it look even more weird. This version is a little more organic and it's not super perfect, which I think gives it more personality.
Gizmodo: How did you pick the new typeface?
AH: For the logo, we knew from the start that we wanted to simplify and go to something that was sans-serif. From there we just found 10 different fonts that we thought had something interesting in them and went from there. We were looking for fonts that had a very geometric appearance because to us that's very much the Spotify appearance — rounded and friendly looking.
Gizmodo: You guys have mentioned "round" quite a bit. Why?
AH: Because it's the opposite of square? *audible laugh* It's important to not feel too picky and by picking round it feels more human, like the previous hand drawn stuff.
Gizmodo: There's been a clear shift to simpler and cleaner typefaces as of late. Do you think this is going to last?
CW: The trend at the moment is being flat and simple. It's hard to tell where the world is going to be design wise in five years. Who knows?
AH: At the moment it feels right.
Gizmodo: Going back to the waves for a second. What are they?
CW: *laughing* I was the first guy to do the logo back in 2006 and we came up with the waves then. It's basically illustrating streaming. Or at least that's what the thought was back then and now. It's supposed to be streaming.
AH: I've read some discussions on Twitter that it's audio waves. But we think of it as streaming. It's good that it could be both.
Ironically enough (or maybe not) there have been a lot of angry tweets from the last few days about the redesign. Does everything have to have a parody account now? Is nothing sacred?
While the Swedes nailed the typeface and more or less executed on the company's vision for a brand refresh, it's those damn little squiggles that really burn my biscuits. They're so awkward!