Friday, April 24, 2009

Faith Mission logo - where'd the heritage go?

I try to not criticise other designers' work, because 99 times out of 100 I have no idea what their brief was, or what the process was like, how much time they had to work on it, how clued-in the client was - or even if it was actually the client and his GCSE art student daughter that designed it.

Nevertheless, I was very sad to see that the Faith Mission had changed their logo recently, from something with real craft and heritage:

Faith Mission.jpg

to this:

LOGOTYPE_FM Bookshops.jpg

I don't know who did it, or anything about the brief and process, so maybe I'm missing the point with this post. But why go from Faith Mission to the acronym FM? Will the uninformed now think it's a radio station? And why the funky typeface with a swishy go faster stripe at the bottom? Maybe at 37 I'm becoming oul and cantankerous but it saddens me to see an organisation with such a wonderful heritage do this to their visual presentation.

But surely it's just a logo - the message they present hasn't changed. Well, I kinda beg to disagree. The logo should embody what the organisation stands for - and to me this looks pretty trivial compared to what they had before.

The Faith Mission was founded in Scotland in 1886 - it'll be 125 years old in two years time. You don't see big heritage organisations like (for example) the National Trust, or their Scottish counterpart ditch their traditions. Take a huge global company like Shell for example - they carefully developed their logo over the past 100 years, steady, sensible gradual updates but each one solidly connected to its original. That's the way to do it.

Tradition is not a bad thing - many commercial brands crave heritage so much that they even invent one. Look at the big global jeans brands. Go into any clothing shop and the place is coming down with garments made a few weeks ago in some third world country with words like "authentic" "traditional" and "original" emblazoned across them. Don't listen to the siren voices who sing "out with the old, and in with the new" - tradition does appeal to people!

The Faith Mission does wonderful work - I was converted as a wee lad of 10 during a Faith Mission outreach in December 1982 - and it's great to see them open up modern outlets like an online bookstore, a blog, and to carry on with their outreaches in new ways.

It's just a shame that the visual signal that the new logo sends is so bland.