Garmin’s old mark, which incorporated a stylized globe and a very bold typeface called Revue, was very much in line with graphic design of the early 1990’s. Interestingly, the old Kinko’s logo incorporated the exact same font—and many of the early user guides for Garmin’s products were mass reproduced at one of the copy chain’s Kansas City locations—which leads to speculation as to whether or not the company’s original logo was designed by one of Kinko’s computer services specialists or not.
The Garmin globe, although not entirely unique (look at the old AT&T logo), was easily identifiable when stamped on the company’s navigation products, packaging and advertising. There are literally millions of products in the marketplace with the old logo on them, with vast brand recognition. The updated mark, consisting of a blue arrow above the “N” (suggestive of directional navigation), is such a huge departure that will take many consumers by surprise—perhaps a gradual phase out of the old globe mark would have been an easier transition on customers.
The greatest criticism that can be made about the new mark is that there was no event to publicly introduce the new brand. In the opinion of this author, Garmin missed a huge opportunity not only to educate its current customer base about the updated mark, but also to receive tons of press coverage at just such an event.
By: Ryan Hembree