I was recently asked to comment on the new Google logo. It looks fine to me. I wasn't crazy in love with the previous mark, so the new one was just fine. It's less fussy and more neutral which is good for a company moving in many directions. My comments led to an uproar online of people staunchly defending the old mark or loving the new one. I just kept thinking amidst the anger, "You're wrong! The new mark sucks! I hate you!" that it was just a logo. I know that's blasphemous to designers. But, there are other issues in the world.
Then I recalled how many logos I loved that were "retired". Yes, it makes sense to evolve an identity over time. Yes, if you're caught doing something heinous like seal clubbing, you will need a new logo and name. And yes, sometimes logos are just plain out of date. But maintaining a mark over the long haul creates equity.
This is the life of a logo: the logo starts as the cool new thing, then it matures to "just fine", next its out of style and dated, and then if you wait, cool again. But most companies freak at the "out of style" part and change. If only UPS waited a few months the Rand mark would be cool and hip again.
To add to the blasphemy, I often say to clients, "logo shmogo." The logo is the foundation of a system, and it should be clear and neutral. The logo is a great Armani black suit. Let the world it inhabits be the changeable groovy stuff, like a new shirt or wacky tie.
Above (not in any order) Paul Rand, Bass/Yager & Associates, Chermayeff and Geismar, Michael Vanderbyl, Danne & Blackburn, Corey Mcpherson Nash, AdamsMorioka, Carlo Vivarelli, Pushpin Lubalin Peckolick, Gould + Associates, Arnold Saks, Landor and Associates