I quite liked the old Waterstone’s logo. It had a bookish, intelligent style about it that clearly differentiated it from its competitors. And after Borders’ demise I think it became even more accurate in terms of the positioning of the brand.
I know book retailing in this day and age is a real minefield – I’m sure we all buy more books online than in a store and as a consequence, the stores are having a torrid time of it. That’s probably the main driver behind the rebrand of Waterstones.
But I’m still not sure.
They’ll have researched it to death. It’ll have a brand strategy so robust you could build a battleship on it. It’ll have been through countless rounds of design development until the marketing director will have signed it off.
Even so, I’m not convinced.
Respected branding agency Venture 3 in London are the outfit responsible for it (lots of ex Wolff Olins people there and it does look like some of WO’s recent brand projects, come to mention it) and although I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with what they’d done, it’s one of those ‘wish I’d had a go at that’ moments.
Another household name branding opportunity squandered or a piece of up to the minute, zeitgeist-capturing branding? You decide, but ultimately time will tell.