The ‘Blanding’ Trend That Goes Against Industry Research


Strong brand cues increase brand saliency by 52% and have the ability to more than double a company’s future growth prospects, Kantar discovered in 2021.

Further data from Kantar through its BrandZ research on distinctive brand assets showed that logos and shapes were the strongest assets, with a distinctive font significantly less so. It also connected financial outcomes: Brands in the top third for brand asset strength had higher average valuations ($2 billion) vs. the bottom third ($881 million).

And yet, in recent years, some legacy brands have introduced stripped-back identities, or “blanding” as it is unkindly described by some in the design sector.

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) took a pared back approach to its logo that was described by Vanessa Broadhurst, evp of global corporate affairs, as communicating “our bold approach to innovation in healthcare, while staying true to the care we have for our patients around the world.”

The “modernized” sans-serif logo still featured the red color but lost the joined-up lettering based on co-founder James Wood Johnson’s signature that had been a hallmark of the company since 1887.

J&J is just the latest in a line of major brands that have minimalized their much-recognized brand emblems recently.

“J&J’s logo has always been recognizable to most, and with it comes a lot of history. Unfortunately, it’s joined a long list of global brands in blandification,” commented Omar Fahmi, creative director and former lead digital designer at Virgin Media O2. 

“The logo was beautifully cursive, balanced, recognizable and gave a nod to its founder, not too dissimilar to the Virgin brand,” he added. “J&J’s curves were as recognizable as the letters used in Coca-Cola’s logo.”

The eclectic list of companies that have recently pared back their logos includes world-famous names such as Burberry, which dropped its original Equestrian Knight that had been in place since 1901, Pringles, Burger King, Yves Saint Laurent, Intel and Sprite. And perhaps the less said about Twitter’s new incarnation, the better.

We’ve got one of the best, most recognizable logos in the world. So I feel like we love it and use it as we should.

Nic Taylor, svp and head, Our Lego Agency

1 2 3 4Next page

Related Articles

Back to top button