In 2005, as part of its 60th anniversary celebration, Baskin Robbins launched a new brand identity for its stores throughout the country. According to the official Baskin Robbins web site, the new look is “an innovative concept that offers a fun, contemporary experience and a new logo that captures the fun and energy of Baskin-Robbins.” In the opinion of this critic, the new Baskin Robbins identity is a glaring example of the mob mentality that is pervasive in business culture today, which is that in order for brands to compete, they must continue to differentiate themselves through “re”-design. After viewing this new identity, which looks more like something that is “design for design’s sake,” the question must be asked: was the old identity that horrible?
The old Baskin Robbins identity, although somewhat dated through the use of the Garamond Condensed typeface (popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s), still effectively communicated the idea of its trademark “31 flavors” of ice cream: the number “31” appeared within a simple arc, suggestive of a scoop of ice cream, and next to the logotype. In an attempt to be overly clever, the new Baskin Robbins logo tries to integrate both the company’s initials and the number “31” into one mark, which is then wedged in between an overly stylized typeface that seems more appropriate for the Sunday morning comics. Unfortunately, this “fun and energetic” logo, while maybe appropriate for young kids, ultimately sacrifices legibility, readability, and meaning.
There are several ways in which the new Baskin Robbins logo could have been more effective in its execution: for example, on the company’s website, the “iconic” pink tasting spoon is touted as one of the brand’s unique aspects…so why wasn’t this idea incorporated into the mark, especially given how recognizable it is and the affinity customers have toward it? And the “31” mark from the old brand mark wasn’t that bad either. Perhaps all that was needed was an updated typeface to bring the brand into the twenty-first century.
By: Ryan Hembree. principal and creative director