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Claire Parker reviews new visual identity of Spotify

Claire Parker, Executive Creative Director of our Amsterdam Studio, is part of the ‘Corporate Design Panel’ of Marketing Tribune magazine, so every month she critiques a corporate design. This time round, Claire had to judge the new corporate identity of Spotify alongside Tom Dorresteijn from Studio Dumbar and Stefan Pangratz from VBAT. This was originally published on the Dutch language Marketing Tribune website, but we have translated it for you here:

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Music streaming service Spotify worked with New-York based consultancy Collins to evolve their global design language, and recently presented its new design. The goal of the new identity was to create an evolving visual idea that would communicate Spotify to its core audience as rich and as lively as music culture itself, rather than simply a technology service. The new design has done away with its previous green and black and the colour palette has been expanded from 2 to 31 colours. All of this colour should help to ensure that Spotify is no longer seen as a technology brand, but more as a ‘music’ brand.

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Claire Parker, Executive Creative Director at Design Bridge, Amsterdam: “It is a big shift moving from a tech company to an entertainment brand. They’ve managed to create the feeling of a curated space – a music venue almost – a place to go back to discover and explore. Beyond adding more vibrancy to the brand’s green and enhancing the colour palette, the best achievement is the imagery that unites everything. I can imagine the challenge of managing such a diversity of photography whilst still maintaining a brand look and feel was hard. However the solution, borrowed from the language of classic album covers and posters, feels appropriate and well done. They’ve successfully branded imagery without having to rely on a logo.” Score: 8

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Tom Dorrestein, CEO Studio Dumbar: “The shift to music, expression and emotion is good, and the fact that the symbol is not only used in the slightly hard, impersonal green, fits well. Music is multicoloured, so why not also translate this in the logo; the icon is strong enough. The overall visual language, which is in fact central to the concept, I find quite disappointing. It’s very generic and somewhat mixed. It does not reflect a recognisable and ownable personality. And the fact that the logo is published in the same colour, is very chameleon-like. It dissolves and loses its strength and clarity as an icon. A choice of white would have been more logical. The strategic reasoning behind the design is better than the execution. When it comes to creating a visual language, you should compare it with what Wolff Olins / Universal Everything did a few years ago for AOL. The new identity for Spotify doesn’t even come close to that.”  Score: 5

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Stefan Pangratz, Creative at VBAT: “The rather dull and unspectacular logo of Spotify was in need of a refresh. However, the real and rather more important change happened by redesigning the Brand Style. The company’s strategic shift from a mere “technical” distributor of Music towards an Entertainment Brand is nicely reflected in the duotone approach. The visual link with the flyers and album covers used by bands in the 60’s gives it that creative and ownable signature. But the true innovation happens when we look under the bonnet; the “colorizer”, the digital toolbox that enables countless designers in over 50 countries to change promotional pictures into duotones and to “Spotify” them. A controlled co-creation within the boundaries of the brand, echoing the origins of the duotone style: Cheap, effective and brilliant.” Score: 8

If you want to read more about the new identity of Spotify then check the articles on FastCompany or Design Week.

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If you want to read some previous reviews, such as Claire Parker judging the new visual identity of Transavia then take a look around on our blog.

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