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Words do this to us. They feed us even before we see. They build expectations. They are things too. And they lead us to see other things in a certain way. Words activated like and paired with the visual are the message.

Being ! Worthy

Andrea Chesney

Yahoo’s new logo is the “DIY weekend project” that has not thrilled all of the professional designers or the world. Information Architect’s site offers the most gorgeous dissection of the logo we can imagine; we want to send them flowers and booze.

But are we spending enough time on the other glaring issue? This passive electrocardiogram of a logo also contains punctuation. Punctuation that does not convince us. In fact, today it makes us wonder: should you have to earn your right to levels of punctuation in the branding game? Should Yahoo get to use an exclamation point? A question mark? Or nothing? How many punctuation points have they earned in their lifetime?

Work anywhere for one week and you’ll learn that some Marketing people love the ! mark. They think it makes their message x10 more important! More vital! Look at me! Look! I am big! This is big, see! Right here! This! Look!

In fact, the mark is exactly like adding a little penis to almost anything. Look! Big! Here! This! Right? Hmm.

Maybe that’s why some corporate types are compelled to use it as a cure-all marketing drug without KNOWING WHY?!!!  Don’t forget the fact that Yahoo CEO and alleged designer meat-grinder Marissa Mayer ordered hers tilted by 9 degrees for “a bit of whimsy”…well think about it. Whimsy? That word reminds us of “whip” blended lightly with “limp.”

As you know, professional writers and copywriters flinch where they see the ! mark. It’s beaten into writers that you use it sparingly. It should never be tossed in as a cheap way to try to establish impact that could be achieved instead with admirable word play, style or flow. Or, let’s see, as in this case, as many have noted, with actual real excellent branding. Excellent branding!  Apple!

Exclamation points are the social equivalent of writing in all caps, push-up bras and yelling across a dinner table. 

So, Yahoo! Looked at their site today! What is there that doesn’t look like the site of a city newspaper serving about 78,000 citizens? 

Weather, an article about a Star Now Tough to Recognize, an insurance ad, headlines, a side order of games and Autos (Autos?), Trending Now (for us, the thought of sleeping), a little perky plea to make this drab little hometown your home page (no), and video and sponsor whacks that make this feel even cheaper. Comics! Jobs! Yup, I’m at grandma’s house trying to find the weather. A layout that is a dated-looking, non-trend mess. And so many slashings of the coy Yahoo! purple that it’s like running into a female personal care product endcap at the grocery store, or getting tangled in an ice skater’s dress.

Is Yahoo! a wow!  Or, a yeah, whatever? What exactly is ! worthy? What there is all proud, vibrant and engorged !, please? Or is it all just really so variable? Is it, indeed, a designer knock-off logo in search of high heels and a brand?

Speaking of  the “are they trying to sell us on produced energy or allusions to massive thrusting cock elements” issue we’ve let loose for discussion, here is the new logo for the beautiful state of Colorado. If you are a designer, we’re sorry.

Yeah. Mountain THAT, baby.