Yesterday, July 18, the Germany-based international media company Bertelsmann unveiled a new corporate identity, a "powerful" wordmark with blue lettering. The new logo was developed with Peter Schmidt Group in Hamburg, who also created the previous logo.
Bertelsmann includes one of Europe's biggest television groups, RTL Group, as well as the book publisher Random House, magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr and the 'media services' company Arvato.
The previous logo, which included an orange line of varying length and the slogan "Media Worldwide", was introduced in 2001.
With the new branding, "Media Worldwide" has been dropped as it was considered outdated and no longer properly reflecting the company, which has now expanded outside the media field. In addition, Bertelsmann now considers itself a strong international brand that doesn't need added explanations. A new slogan has been selected, "Creativity meets Entrepreneurship", but its use will be more limited and it will not be a part of the logo.
The old logo as a graphical element was considered "fragmented, unwieldy and inflexible". The modified Trajan lettering was elegant, but not strong enough. The letterforms used in the new wordmark are custom-made, inspired by the lettering in the previous logo, but stronger and more self-confident.
The new logo was launched worldwide on Monday, and revealed on several Bertelsmann branches around the world. According to a press release, Random House and Arvato are altering their identities to fit the corporate rebrand, while RTL Group and Gruner + Jahr will remain as they are.
A few quotes from Bertelsmann's brand page and press release.
"RTL, M6 and Pop Idol, Random House, Knopf and Goldman, Stern, Focus Junior and GEO, Brockhaus, Mohn Media, Deutschland Card and Zeilenreich, BMG and many others - everyone knows the strong media and service brands that Bertelsmann companies have established in over 50 countries.
Their charisma is essential to the success of our business. By contrast, the Bertelsmann brand itself is not primarily aimed at retail customers. It is, however, no less important to our success as a leading international media and services company. As a corporate brand, Bertelsmann is directed internally at its staff and externally especially at the media, the labor market, opinion leaders in politics, business and society and the financial market. In all of these stakeholder groups, a strong and attractive brand helps to inspire them, build their loyalty to Bertelsmann, and boost the company's reputation.
The central design principle in Bertelsmann’s branding is the "space for communication.
"Its distinctive angle picks up on the slant in the "B" of the logo. It symbolizes the fact that, as an open, dialogue-oriented company, Bertelsmann makes communication possible to the in- and outside.
The space for communication is used as a framework for content - on ads and front pages, but also within publications. This results in a distinctive appearance that has a high recognition factor while also leaving plenty of space for creative design. - "Design principle" on the brand page
"The logo is the central element of our branding. The modern lettering is characterized by several features that make it unique. The font was specifically developed for Bertelsmann based on the previous logo. The slant between the "L" and the "S," which is picked up on in the distinctive "B," makes the logo unique." - "Logo" section on the brand page
"We have actively streamlined our portfolio and significantly advanced the company's structure, business fields and creative potential. Bertelsmann is now highly profitable and strategically well-positioned to play a leading role in shaping the future of media and services in the digital age. Our new branding is a self-confident expression of all this. We also want to emphasize even more what makes Bertelsmann unique from our perspective: its special combination of creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination sets us apart and drives us forward." - Hartmut Ostrowski, Bertelsmann chairman and CEO, in a press release
"In keeping with our company's culture and strategy we have not made any radical breaks with our branding, but have evolved it in the spirit of continuity. Overall, the new logo is more recognizable: the font is distinctive and contemporary – the strong name 'Bertelsmann' stands on its own. At the same time the logo and new colors are ideal for use in the digital world – apps, for example." - Thorsten Strauß, Bertelsmann Corporate Communications head in a press releaseIn the new colour scheme, the blue is "fresher", the bright orange has been replaced by "orange-red". The group is also using a beige-grey colour called 'sand'.
Press release (archive)
Interview with CEO Hartmut Ostrowski (archive)
"Workshop report" (archive)