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Yahoo fashions a new logo to break with the past

Without some amazing and inspiring features, the paint will start to peel off Yahoo's many design makeovers and new logo.

Yahoo's billboard, with its unique logo, was a San Francisco fixture until it was taken down in late 2011. The sign greeted anyone driving east along Interstate 80 through the city with funny messages and a cheap motel aesthetic for more than a decade.
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

OK, I took the bait. I like typography. Now, I'm getting a month-long typography fashion show from Yahoo as it teases the debut of a new logo. For the next 30 days, Yahoo's pages will display a variation of the logo leading up to the official unveiling on September 4 at 9 p.m. PT.

Yahoo's chief marketer Kathy Savitt says the new logo is more modern and reflective of company's "reimagined design and new experiences" and "fun, vibrant and welcoming" character.

The current logo, which has been around for 18 years, represents the storied, quirky, and checkered past, and the new logo will represent the bright future driven by Marissa Mayer.

The Yahoo CEO is known for being design focused in her personal as well as professional life. Last year she was included on Vanity Fair's Best Dressed Poll, along with people like Kate Middleton. Her focus on how things look and impressions formed by appearance have been a core part of her effort to revive Yahoo's appeal so far. In her year at the helm, she has invested significant effort in revamping Yahoo's pages and apps, especially for mobile users.

She talks about Yahoo's transformation in terms of "inspiring and delighting users amidst their daily habits" and providing "amazing features." Mayer has made Yahoo at least more appealing with design makeovers and speed ups for the Yahoo homepage, Flickr, Mail, News, Search, and other services.

Following last quarter's financial results, Mayer said that total traffic turned positive after a severe decline last year. "Renewed traffic growth in the face of multiple years of decline is, to my knowledge, unprecedented among industry players that operate with billions of page views," she said, attributing the uptick to the revamps pages and apps.

The array of amazing features, however, have yet to appear. That may be the hallmark of her second year if she can harness the engineering talent brought into Yahoo through the acquisition of 21 companies during her tenure. Without some amazing and inspiring features, the paint will quickly start to peel off the new logo.