“We’ve got to FedEx this tonight!”
“I FedExed it last night. He should have it by now.”
Fedex. One of the lucky few.
Only a handful of brands can claim that their name has fully
become ….waitforit… A VERB. If only Ms. Barch, the dowdy yet
self-important high school English teacher, had emphasized how
much weight the verb carried (or how much money was at stake) in
this world, we might have paid attention a little more. For a
brand to become a ubiquitous verb in the modern lexicon is to
achieve a certain special sort of fabulousness. Verbitude lends
an almost ‘immortal’ quality to the brand. Not even Nike can
claim verb status. Imagine: ‘Paterno
turns to his team and growls “All right you pansies, nike up and
get out there”‘. Doesn’t sound quite right. Or “I
McDonalds’d my waste
line away”. Fitting (or ‘nonfitting’) as it may be, it just
doesn’t have the ring to it that’s needed for a brand name to
work as a form of speech. Surely Bill Gates grits his teeth
every time he hears someone say “Just
But not only
is FedEx a verb, the logo is a sublime piece of craftsmanship
also. Beautiful bold colors. Beautiful bold type. A little
hidden ‘bonus’ (yes, bonus). A different ‘Ex’ color to denote
the different aspects of the company: ‘Express’ orange, ‘Ground’
green, etc. Just lovely. The logo was created by Lindon Leader
of Leader Creative.
There’s a very nice interview with Mr. Leader (great name) on
Sneeze which gives a little more insight into the thinking
behind the logo.
Unfortunately (afraid so), as those of us in relationships know,
when two entities that each have a strong personality combine to
form one entity, some of that personality may get ‘lost in
translation’. What we are referring to here is the recent merger
of FedEx with the
brand. You know Kinko’s. The ubiquitous copy place an empty beer
can’s throw from any college campus that you love to hate and
hate to love. A tiny slice of hell on Earth but we need it, love
it, gotta have it. Seen at right, the new logo combines the two
names, changes a few colors and adds… a glyph. A glyph? What the
heck is that thing for?
First, the colors. The old Kinko’s blue… O.K. we get that its
now moved into residence in the ‘Ex’ of FedEx. But why did the
beautiful ‘Fed’ purple change? Is the glyph supposed to be the
key to this? The Kinko’s blue combined with the ‘Express’ orange
and ‘Ground’ green to form the new purple. Survey says: bummer.
The old purple was much better. Why did it have to change? And
the old Kinko’s logo has been sucked dry and left to dangle off
the end. Gone is its custom font with the squished ‘o’s and its
bold stroke and its silly red dots (they worked). It seems that
the sum of the two wholes equals something a bit less.
Let’s look at window and awning treatments of two
FedExKinko’s (old Kinko’s joints) stores in Manhattan (shown at
left). The ‘Fed’ in both is a disappointing white. The ‘Kinko’s’
is a thicker font than the actual logo. And the background
purple…!?! Both different. And neither satisfying. But there’s
that new glyph.
What is apparent here is that two strong brands have combined
themselves into a diluted new form. We are sorry if this upsets
whoever came up with this new brand identity but these words are
offered to help, not hurt. Quick! Before the public notices!
Come up with a new logo! One that builds on the strengths of
each old mark, forming something new and stronger. We just hate
to see something as wonderful as the FedEx logo loose its way in
the cut-throat world of brands. And don’t forget the ‘verb’
factor! FedEx must remain a verb. All can agree that it’s a bit
clunkier to say “Can you FedExKinko this to the LA office for