The Slack Redesign: Defining or Bust?
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
January 16th, 2019. It was just a regular freezing, quiet day here in the Northeast. The day seemed like it would play out like normal, that is until we were all slapped with one of the biggest brand redesigns since Instagram in 2016. That's right, Slack has come out with a new coat of paint since it's original way back in the day. Though faced with harsh criticism, the redesign may be more important than people think. Let's dive into it.
To start with, the original slack logo was VERY restrictive. Brands are created to flow easily, be adaptive, be iconic, and work cohesively. There's no question the original logo was iconic. I mean, if I ever saw the hash sign, my mind would immediately think Slack. The brand even satisfied the company's mission to make it playful and developed a sense of professionalism. So, what's the problem?
Brand identity is created to satisfy all needs of a business whether it be marketing or even finance. From that perspective, the old brand fell short...really short. For starters, the logo had too many colors making it difficult to place on various backgrounds. The logo was really only created to work on white which might be slightly limiting. To make matters worse, Slack was pumping out marketing material that didn't fit with the brand because the logo and other assets were hard to implement. A slack ad with animals would be different than what the site looked like, and the site would feel different to the next ad with vintage cartoons in the background. It was pretty chaotic to say the least.
The best way to clean it up was to get rid of the old and start something new. To create a sense of purpose, consistency, meaning, and identity.
And, the final product does just that. The logo represents the familiar playful aspect of slack while removing the crazy amount of colors. It has meaning, representing the diverse teams on slack with the comment bubbles in the logo. It has consistency, finally a Slack ad can be traced back to the logo and site with a set color palette. Most importantly, slack fixed its identity. Now, we have a new slack to love.
Is it the best logo I've ever seen? No. Does it look like a cheap logo from 99 designs? Quite possibly. But, every new brand takes time to become iconic. With the new Instagram brand in 2016, there was so much hate and push for the old brand. Now, I can't imagine going back and love the new look.
I think we should allow time to make the brand iconic.