This is a guest article by Ana Paula Rodrigues analysing the recent update of the Girl Scouts logo.
What do you do when an iconic brand-identity needs updating? You start by giving it a haircut and then follow it up with a little nip and tuck. The Girl Scouts of America (GSA) did just that as part of their brand restructuring and logo redesign. The celebrated trefoil logo hand-drawn by acclaimed graphic designer Saul Bass in 1978 was revamped by illustrators Joe Finocchiaro and Jasper Goodall under the direction of Jennifer Kinon and Bobby C. Martin Jr. from the New York – based design agency, The Original Champions of Design (OCD).
The redesign of the logo is hardly noticeable at first, but upon further investigation the slight variance in the facial characteristics come into focus. The addition of bangs to the hairline is the most apparent, but one can easily overlook the subtlety and refinement of the nose and lips that is marginally slanted upward. The distinct trefoil shape is also more symmetrical, but the necks on the women appear extremely elongated in comparison to the original logo.
OCD explained on their website that the bangs on the logo helped to “differentiate and age down the three girls” while the “perky nose” reverberated youthfulness and the lips brought the “girls alive.” Additionally, the “neck makes the mark stronger” and the trefoil set’s up “a unified system.” OCD described the challenge of the redesign as one that “had to be sensitive to its [GSA] rich history. Our challenge was to capitalize on the existing brand equity but make it even more relevant to girls today.”
Armin from the website Brand New (Underconsideration) believed that OCD handled the redesign strategy for the logo accordingly. He wrote, “The first smart move by OCD was to not mess with a Saul Bass logo, the second was to try to technically improve it.” One of his readers, Aspect disagreed. “The nerve to think you can improve on a logo by Saul Bass. I would’ve rather seen this be completely replaced with something else than see a master’s work disrespected.” Girl Scouts past and present also weighed in on this discussion. Girl Scout co-leader Rosa Pires-Scali wrote on Facebook , “I don’t think there was a need for an update,” while former Girl Scout Michelle Araujo expressed, “There is no good reason for making the change in my opinion, especially with those minimal differences. It’s a historic symbol!”
Whether the redesign of the logo is relevant to girls today remains unclear, perhaps the redesign isn’t distinctive enough to remove itself from the shadow of Saul Bass.
What do you think? Did the Girl Scouts make the right move in redesigning their classic logo?
Previous articles by Ana Paula Rodrigues: