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So they cut off exactly four serifs and squeezed the letters together.

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Bravo.

Now I will admit the logo does give the feeling of being more like a magazine. I can see that. And maybe they’re trying to emphasize the value of their premium content (translation: how do we monetize this thing?). So a serious literary magazine makes sense. But who is the site really for? Who makes the site live?

It’s you, the writers.

Without your content, there is no Medium. So if the vast majority of you are going to slave away over a keyboard and receive no compensation, shouldn’t the site say “this is a cool, comfortable place to write my stuff?”

  1. Design is so subjective, you will always have people who will hate a logo or love it.
  2. However, it is possible to do something that is so terrible and contrary to a brand that the popular response forces the company to go back to its original logo. (See the disastrous and outrageously expensive attempts by Pepsi and Tropicana)
  3. The more people wax rhapsodic about the symbolism of a logo (“punctilious,” really?) that is basically a font, the more you know there is nothing intrinsically unique or creative about said logo. (Here are a few logos that concern writing in the print world — you’ll notice it is black on a white background, because that is how we perceive the written word. (See appendix below.)
  4. When a logo (or a tagline, for that matter) can apply to any company within any industry, you have not created any brand equity. (Every professional designer will look at books of award winning logos to make sure they don’t copy existing work, as well as find inspiration.
  5. When you replace something that was even average, but was easily recognizable, you have killed any brand equity. (People have come to know and welcome that green icon, and the green typography used throughout the site; the black icon now stands in stark contrast to the green used on the follow buttons, causing confusion. The changes to the website interface have done nothing to improve my desktop experience — maybe it’s better for mobile users.)
  6. If you are going to represent a digital company that exists solely on the internet, it would be cool to leverage the difference between the static and finite world of print, and the interactive world online.

Here’s a simple way to communicate that Medium is a digital site all about writing, using the new font and color.

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Or, they could leverage the current brand equity and use the green color like this:

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Who knows, maybe they already thought of this idea. Maybe it got shot down because they were afraid people would try to start typing at the end of the logo, instead of one the story page. Or maybe a gif uses extra memory, or that not all mobile devices would display the image correctly.

All I know is, I came up with this idea in about five minutes, then put it together in another fifteen or twenty.

P.S.: Ev, if you ever want to spend a few thousand dollars developing a logo that says something about what this site does, you know where to find me.

Thanks for reading.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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