When it comes to logos, there’s a world of difference between a good one and a bad one. A good one is distinctive enough to be easily recognized, simple enough not to be confusing, practical enough to feature in a variety of formats and across a range of materials, appropriate enough to represent a brand’s identity. It needs to have a great concept, and it needs to be executed with precision. A bad logo is none of those things. A bad logo can do as much harm to a brand’s reputation as a bad CEO can do to its business. So, how about the Pandora logo? Is it good, bad, or indifferent? A piece of graphic design mastery or a piece of something else entirely?
The Pandora Story
If you want to understand how well a logo represents a brand, you first have to understand the brand. And Pandora is quite the brand… Its story starts in 1982 in a small Danish jeweler’s shop owned by the husband and wife team of Per and Winnie Enevoldsen. Attracted to the high-quality jewelry coming out of Thailand at the time, the Enevoldsen’s took to travelling to the Land of Smiles as often as they could. While they were there, they spent their time hunting down the distinctive pieces that soon become a trademark of their shop. Within a few years, demand had grown to such an extent, they began to make the gradual transition into wholesale. The shift proved successful, albeit short lived: in 1987, the couple changed tack again, moving out of retail entirely in order to start designing and creating their own line of products. 2 years after that, they moved manufacture of their products over to Thailand…. and that’s when things started to get interesting.
If Pandora was doing well before it moved operations to Thailand, its subsequent success has been nothing short of extraordinary. For the first decade after the move, the Enevoldsen’s immersed themselves in the process of fine turning the Pandora collection. With each new addition to the line came more and more interest. And then, in 2000, it hit pay dirt. Or rather, its charm bracelets did. When it first launched the charm bracelet concept in Denmark, it had teenage girls, their mothers, their aunts, their grandmothers, their sisters, and quite a few of their male relatives falling over themselves to get in on the action. Encouraged by the reception, Pandora decided the time was ripe to begin testing the waters abroad. First came the US in 2003, swiftly followed by Germany and Australia in 2004. More markets soon followed, and within just a few short years, Pandora had gone from a small Scandanavian concern to a multinational juggernaut. Today, Pandora has a presence in over 100 countries over 6 continents. With 2600 concept stores and over 7,700 points of sale, it’s one of the biggest jewelry retailers in the world. It’s fair to say, then, that its logo has a lot to live up to….
To be successful, a logo needs to be instantly recognizable. In that regard at least, the Pandora emblem has it covered. Consisting of the company name spelled out in uppercase letters and with a middle inner spacing, it doesn’t take a genius to work out which brand it represents. Neither does it take much brain power to figure out what the brand sell, not when you cop an eyeful of how much the “O” resembles a charm. And as for the brand’s claim that its sells jewelry worthy of royalty – well, that much becomes obvious when you take in the miniature crown that sits astride the stylized ‘O’. Pandora is clearly attached to its logo. As logos-world.net notes, in its 30-year history, its undergone only one make over, and even then, the changes were so subtle, many people were left blissfully unaware of the redesign.
Some brands take a little while to get their marketing in place. Some go for years without so much as a sniff of a logo. Not so Pandora. By the time it opened its first store, the logo had already been thought out, designed, created, and stamped on the sign above the door. It did, however, take a little while for the logo to make its way down from the sign and onto the boxes. When Pandora started to gain in popularity, it began including the logo on is labels. Soon enough, it was as intrinsic to the brand’s identity as the charm bracelet would become a few years later. Legible, structured, and highly individual, it was a winning design. A design that did all it was meant to and more. Little wonder it remain unchanged for so long, then. But eventually, marketing teams have to be given something to do; in 2019, Pandora did just that.
The 2019 Redesign
2019 marked the year Pandora decided it was time for a brand new look. The classic Optima typeface that had been a part of its logo for years was out. In its place was a serif so subtle, it was also imperceptible. In a way, Pandora was simply following suit. As creativebloq.com reports, brands like Yahoo and Jaguar had already ditched Optima for fresh new fonts – by doing the same, at least Pandora was in fashion, even if it wasn’t leading the pack.
So, Optima was out, but what was in? Described by Brand New as “99% sans serif”, the new font featured barely perceptible flicks, refined lettering, and a thicker, slightly bolder shape. But the font wasn’t the only thing to change – and unfortunately, some of the other changes weren’t quite as welcome. When Pandora adopted a bubblegum pink as its new brand color, it suggested it was getting a little tired of the same old, same old. It wanted something fresh, something modern, something a little bit different. But why it decided to alter one of the chief highlights of its logo (i.e. the crowned “O”) in the name of progress, who alone knows?
In fairness, it didn’t ditch the crown entirely. What it decided to do instead was cut off its bottom. A minor detail, maybe, but one that those with a keen vision and a passion for the Pandora logo of old mourned the loss of, none the less. The new, bottomless crown made the image less clear, it was claimed. More than that, it had lost its visual connection with the charm bracelets that had helped propel Pandora into the spotlight. Less eagle-eyed customers denied it had done any such thing – some even said they couldn’t tell the tiniest difference between the old logo and the new one. Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, most people would agree that, change of no change, the logo is still doing its job. It’s still representing Pandora, it’s still making the right connections, and it’s still pulling in the punters. Which is probably about as much as anyone could ever ask of a logo.