Six months after debuting their first major branding change in 15 years, Quark does it again with another logo–this one they did themselves.
This morning Quark, Inc. debuted their second new logo in six months (dubbed “Quark Logo 2006″ for clarity).
The 2005 model, while strong and stylish in its simplicity, met with derision and accusations of plagiarism. As the creative community instantly pointed out, that version bore a strong resemblance to a handful of existing logos, and, but for its color, was identical to the logo of the Scottish Arts Council, who used the circular glyph with the bottom-right point to represent a lowercase a where Quark’s used the same glyph for a capital Q. The similarities, however, were accidental; Quark’s branding agency, SicolaMartin, had missed the marks of the Scottish Arts Council, the Designers Network, Alcone, and three others during their trademark research. Despite Quark’s own justification for the confusion, as well as objective explanations of how such a situation may occur from independent media Quark VS InDesign.com and Creativepro.com, the September 2005 Quark logo missed the mark with designers.
The September 2005 Quark logo.
Despite the controversy, I liked Quark Logo 2005. It was a strong, minimalist brand progressive in its stylized treatment of the letter Q. It reflected the reputation of flagship product QuarkXPress for getting the job done. It was a powerful brand element for the publishing stalwart. More importantly, it was an outward indicator of the internal changes happening within Quark. Seen by many as stagnant and senesced, Quark needed a brand revision to reflect its awakening vision of the future. Quark was a company in transition, and the September 2005 logo showed that transition.
If You Want It Done Right…
When the Quark 2005 Logo debuted to the public, the company’s collective chest was puffed with pride. Regrettably, the confusion with other entities’ marks knocked the wind out of Quark just as quickly. It was a painful blow to a company struggling to prove its re-invention. But every setback is a lesson and a chance to spring back better, wiser, and stronger once again. Admirably, Quark took that opportunity and used its disappointment to prove that the company really is as adaptable as it would like us to believe.
As Quark VS InDesign.com was quick to point out in September, the failing of the 2005 logo was not Quark’s. The company had vended the rebranding task to the supposed specialists, brand development and advertising agency SicolaMartin, whose responsibility it was to ensure that the Quark logo was distinctive and unique. The 2005 logo is still featured in SicolaMartin’s online portfolio as a warning to other prospective clients of the Austin, Texas firm seeking unique branding.
This time, Quark decided to do it themselves.
The 2006 Quark logo in relief.
“Quark listened to the feedback we received from the design community in relation to our re-branding initiative in September and decided to create a new logo that is both an evolution of our visual identity and a strong representation of the new Quark,” said Glen Turpin, Director of Quark’s Corporate Communications. “We believe the new logo communicates growth and vitality as a symbol for what the new Quark is–a company that listens to its customers, and is flexible and responsive to changing market conditions. It’s representative of the spirit of the new Quark.”
Quark’s in-house creative team designed the stunning new 2006 logo, proving that if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. Throughout the design process, feedback and input were solicited from a variety of outside design consultants, although the bulk of the work was done in-house.
The two-color flat version (pantone 368 and white or black).
A potent emblem, the 2006 logo both reminisces as a target and communicates action. It’s circular, three-dimensional relief in green is evocative of a button, implying a call to action–click here to go. Offsetting the Q and placing the tail only inside the letter’s counter creates the sensation that the button may have already been pushed, that action is already underway and something is about to happen. Subtle lens flares along the raised edges give the image a metallic newness and reinforce the lines of force established by the jutting diagonal and off-center, variable weight letter.
I liked the 2005 version, but Quark Logo 2006 is truly stunning. It falls in line with the modern, forward-looking user experience of QuarkXPress 7. This is the polished new Quark–something is in motion.