Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New logo: Philips

Dutch consumer electronics giant Philips unveiled a redesigned version of its classic shield yesterday, November 13. This was realised by Philips' in-house design team working with several consultancies.

The company says the original shield was introduced in the 30s, but that its elements had been in use before that. The stars represented lights and the waves stood for transmissions, a reference to light bulbs and radios, the company's most recognised products at the time. It has gone through several minor alterations through the years, and in the last few decades it has played a minor role, with a wordmark acting as the primary communicator. It appears the shield will get a revival with this redesign.

The redesigned shield is part of a corporate strategy that puts emphasis on products that improve people's lives. It is summed up by the new slogan, "Innovation and You". Taking inspiration from golden ratio, the new shield is more "natural" and "human". Circles are no longer perfectly symmetrical, the waves a fewer and softer, the top has a slight curve and the entire thing is solid, which will work better in digital environments.

Previous shield.


Philips has released lots of slick videos related to the rebrand, two of them are featured here. The first video deals with the design of the shield.

The second is about Philips' mission:

Philips explains their new communication and identity:
"The Philips brand is a familiar sight in millions of households and buildings throughout the world with its instantly recognizable wordmark of seven blue capitalized letters and the shield emblem with its stars and waves. Over more than 120 years Philips has evolved and grown, becoming a leading, highly trusted brand in markets all over the world. The company’s visual identity has remained true to its legacy, rooted in its early years at the beginning of the 20th century.

Our brand line is rooted in Philips’ strong belief that innovation is only meaningful if it is based on a deep understanding of people’s needs and desires. “Innovation and you” communicates our approach to innovation, enabling people to be healthy, live well and enjoy life. It encapsulates our starting point in understanding people’s needs and desires. When we bring the two together – people and innovation – we create the next generation of technology and things that people truly want and need. This sets us apart and makes us Philips.

The Philips shield, with the stars and waves, was defined and registered for trademark in the Netherlands in 1934 and quickly became a globally known visual icon. The stars represented the pioneering role we played in industrializing and globalizing lighting. The waves were radio transmissions, signifying our major contribution to the first global wireless communication platform. The circle came later, symbolizing the world and the people whose lives we touched.

The new shield is modernized for use in this digital age while retaining its heritage of stars and waves. In designing the new shield, the stark symmetry was replaced with curvier lines in the waves and in the top edge of the emblem. With two thicker and softer waves and a solid fill, the shield was made to look more robust, visually impactful and easier to apply on digital platforms. The trusted Philips shield continues to communicate the company’s commitment in delivering new healthcare and lighting technologies as well as innovative and locally relevant consumer products that make a real difference across the globe.

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Innovation and you.

Ahead of the announcement, Philips held an online event where people could use social media to remove "tiles" to reveal the new logo.

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The shield, almost revealed.

A timeline of how Philips logos have evolved over the years. As is often the case with compilations like this one, it is reductive and simplified. Symbols were often not standardised until the 50s or 60s, and many iterations are probably excluded.

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  1. Is it me... or is this not exactly the same logo as before? If you set out with the intention to redesign something, redesign it! Philips worked "with several consultancies" on this?! What an utter waste of time and money. The timeline shows no significant design change since 1968. I really can't see how this is news worthy. The video explains the changes well - and I understand the reasons behind them. But their subtlety doesn't deserve such a fanfare and overly elaborate launch. Philips should have done this under the radar with no fuss. This isn't news and I doubt consumers will notice or be influenced by it any way. If the intention of the launch was to 'wow' us then Philips failed.

  2. The intention of the "overly elaborate" launch was to make public the new brand positioning of Philips, manifested in the form of a new brand line ('innovation and you') and a refreshed design system (of which an evolved shield was just a part). The redesigned shield has understandably garnered most of the interest (given its iconic status), but to imply the launch was simply about the shield is inaccurate.

    1. Yeah, it's more like the first comment failed to understand! Phillips Design Team has done an amazing job, there's always people that can't see all the work behind. This is BRANDING, not a logo