Fewer reasons

It’s been 4 years since Morrisons unveiled their current brand identity.

When a new CEO, such as David Potts, splashes out on a new logo, there’s always the suspicion that it might be a somewhat lazy way of stamping their authority on the business, in case they don’t enjoy any other tangible success.

The far from original-looking identify, initially launched on a trial basis, as if Morrisons themselves didn’t have a lot of confidence in it, has always appeared somewhat rushed and ill-thought-out. It doesn’t work well when reduced in size, some packaging requires it to have an ugly keyline around the lettering, whilst the people in charge of external signage have made some very poor decisions (I’ve seen a green logotype virtually illegible against tinted green glass in Rhyl, and a logotype, without the logo because there wasn’t room, not properly centred on its fascia in Paignton).

I’m a firm believer that brand guidelines often need to evolve (that doesn’t mean disobeyed, just because it suits) – the increased use of the logotype on its own, as seen in Paignton, is perhaps another admission that the brand signature as a whole just wasn’t working. The signature – with its darker green and warmer yellow (compared to its predecessor) – works well on a crisp white background, but clearly suffers from a lack of development and forward-thinking. And although that tree logo has been done a 1000 times before, the logotype itself works well – strong, but with enough curves to soften it, giving it a friendlier, more welcoming appearance.

What made the arrival of the new identity all the more perplexing though, was that there was nothing much wrong with the previous one, created by Landor Associates in 2007 – although it was let down by the clumsy tagline ‘Fresh for you every day’ and Landor’s silly insistence at its launch that Morrisons owned the colour yellow (design agencies, eh!).

It looked sophisticated, premium even, when reversed out of darker packaging, and only suffered when hapless former CEO Dalton Philips allowed it to be played around with. Using just the logo (the ‘M’ in the oval), at a jaunty angle on all of the packaging, and paired with a cheap-looking script typeface, was a massive step backwards.

Even the current branding looks better than that.