Hypothesis: Millennials are more likely to like the new logo, Baby Boomers are more likely to like the old logo
Recently Qantas caused waves when it updated it’s logo for the first time in 9 years. For myself, growing up in Australia, the Qantas logo is iconic, yet the changes still leave it similar enough to not intrude on the branding too much. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder, what did older and younger people think about the change?
Testing logo options is easy with a preference test. Simply upload 2 to 6 design choices and let testers choose which one they prefer. Importantly I also wanted to know WHY they thought one was better than the other.
Using the UsabilityHub tester panel, I recruited 50 Millennial and 50 Baby Boomer testers from across the world. Here is what the results showed:
50/50 was not the result I was expecting. It’s interesting that the result was so close. What is the reason?
Those in favour of the old logo largely seemed to like the more identifiable/clear kangaroo shape, with one user saying “The other one is too abstract; this one is recognizably an animal,” and “This logo is more sharp and I could make out a kangaroo from this logo than the other one”.
Those in favour of the new logo used words such as “modern”, “sleek” and “dynamic”. Some choice comments were “it is more dynamic, it suggests speed and movement” and “The edges of the other one are too straight and formal. This looks more friendly to me.”.
Here we saw 52% in favour of the new logo. What strongly came through in their feedback was the new version was much more “stylish”. Some key comments include “More stylish and eye catching” and “more elegant”.
Those who prefer the older logo focused on the display of the kangaroo; “looks cleaner, clearer, more recognizable as kangaroo”.
So what do you take out from two tests which essentially show the same result? What value did we receive?
Firstly we must ask ourselves – is 50% a bad response? For a company as large and iconic as Qantas, to have half of the participants favouring the new logok could be seen as a win. When company logo changes go wrong (see Uber, GAP) it can create massive back-lash against the company.
Secondly it provides data beyond percentages results. 50% isn’t a result that shows no preference, it shows a split preference, which can then be explained by further questions and research. Research isn’t always black and white, having ambiguity can let you question further what you have taken for granted and give you new ideas and inputs to capitlise on in the future.
Thirdly it validates the key design principles and aims. For instance, the language used to describe the new logo:
• modern and sleek
• feels more like a logo
• elegant and striking
• better proportion
• better than realistic
“The last re-brand, the font didn’t change and the previous design was created before Facebook and social media and the requirements now for a logo, a brand, is a lot different,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. “We wanted this to be more vibrant, three-dimensional”
Based on the above brief from the Qantas CEO, they have indeed hit their mark. They’ve made a modern logo, something that will be used not just on planes, but on social media, websites and a range of places all across the globe.