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After four decades American Express gets a new logo

12-April-2018
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After four decades American Express gets a new logo

Multinational financial services corporation, American Express, has a new logo with changes that are subtle yet purposeful.

There has been a complete brand redesign by Pentagram partner Abbott Miller. The colour gradient is gone, and the logo’s letterforms have been cleaned up in the interest of making it more legible and consistent across digital platforms. A new cropped version, featuring an off-center ‘Amex’ has been designed for small screens of mobile devices.

The redesigned logo doesn’t look significant at a glance but when you analyse the logo, you can see that the firm has subtly re-engineered the word mark to break American Express out of its own blue box. “I felt like the old blue box was sort of like a punctuation mark in their communications, from an older sensibility about being low key about the branding,” says Miller. “What we’ve given them are tools to make their voice more assertive.”

Founded as an express delivery company, American Express’s last version of the logo was designed in 1975, the letters themselves were outlined with no true negative space of their own. Flatter logos convey authenticity, suggests Miller. In the age of smartphones and apps, branding needs to easily shrink, too. The old blue box didn’t work at smaller scales – like online checkout, where the user had to select their credit card from several minuscule logos. For such transactions, Pentagram created a second version of the blue logo that simply reads ‘AmEx’ over two lines. That’s a practical savings of 11 letters, which is crucial at the pixel level, and allows the logo to be legible even when presented in tiny sizes.

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