Corporate America is at it again, following the federal government back into the 1970s. Fast on the heels of Intel, Kodak has decided to make over its brand. To the right, the “old” Kodak identity, and below it, the “new.”
I’m teaching trademark law for the first time this spring. We’ve just gotten started, having introduced the concept that trademark law deals with meaning (on the one hand) and search costs (on the other hand). Does Kodak’s new logo help Kodak and consumers on either score?
The rounded letters are sooo retro, and I don’t mean that in a good way. There are no hard edges here; there’s no commitment; there’s nothing that evokes . . . anything, except this, I think: everyone should just “mellow out.” Kodak is warm and fuzzy. Is the point that this cuddly logo represents the Kodak of the future? That it represents what Kodak has already become? Or that it represents what Kodak aspires to be? On any of these three metrics, I think the logo fails. I can’t tell what Kodak is, will be, or wants to be.
Last Fall, at the AIPLA, I was part of a patent law program with Kodak’s chief IP counsel and heard a lot about the direction of the company. The word “cuddly” doesn’t come close to describing what I heard, yet “cuddly” is the word that I can’t avoid when I think about the new Kodak logo.
Frankly, it reminds me, most of all, of the logo of the Kubota Tractor Company.