You may not have noticed it, but Walgreens has changed its logo at least twice in the past five years. What? You haven’t noticed it? Well, I have, and it’s bothering me. But then, I’m a little OCD. Lots of things bother me.
I’ve done a little graphic design here and there in my career. I’ve created logos, laid out Web pages, and even designed book interiors. Much like my time as a radio disk jockey leads me to listen to the radio with a critical ear, and my time as an editor makes me notice every typo and grammatical error, my graphic-design past makes me more aware of branding and design.
For 15 years I’ve lived conveniently around the corner from a Walgreens drug store. Actually, I think part of Walgreens’ master plan is that every man, woman, and child in America will live around the corner from one. Four Walgreens stores stand within five miles of my house!
The Walgreens near me has a sign that looks like this. I’ve always liked this logo; I think it has kind of an elegance about it. Has anybody else ever thought that the amount of space between the g and the r in this logo makes this read “Walg reens?”
One of the four Walgreens near me was built last year. When you look at its sign closely, you can see that every letter in its logo has been redone. They’re all a lot taller. The W is now taller than the l; the end stroke of the W is now taller than rest of that letter. The letters are closer together and each letter’s stroke is narrower. The bowls (empty spaces) in the a, g, and e are larger. Also notice the differences in the r and the s.
That made me look at the sign another nearby Walgreens, which was built four or five years ago. I can see that it has differences from either of the other two logos.
Don’t think for a minute that these are just random variations. Companies are quite particular about their logos. Many of them have manuals describing logo usage rules! To produce anything – a sign, an advertisement, a letterhead, anything – that shows the company’s logo, employees are generally required to get the latest version from an approved asset repository. No, Walgreens ordered these logo changes.
But to what end? Only a design geek like me would ever notice the differences. If you polled Walgreens customers, at least 99.7% of them would say that Walgreens has had the same logo for as long as they can remember. Yet the company paid some graphic designer to tweak it not once, but twice! What was the point?
Ok, I feel better now that I have that off my chest. Maybe now I can stop compulsively looking at every Walgreens I pass to see which logo it has. My fellow drivers will be glad to know my eyes will now be on the road.