Here are the old and new logos, respectively;
Changing the corporate identity of a long-standing brand is a task that shouldn't be taken lightly. In fact, I would suggest that it not be done AT ALL unless there are clear and compelling reasons to do so.
Okay, so Olive Garden had a 13% reduction in December foot traffic and a third quarter, 5%+ decline in revenues. We might ask, "In this scenario, is this the time to tweak the logo?" Quick answer: "MAYBE!" ... if that tweak is also part of an overall adjustment to a brand strategy, and that strategic course correction is geared to better engage a highly targeted audience.
Other than the logo change, there doesn't appear to be any other significant change to the Olive Garden BRAND STRATEGY. Sure, they're changing their menu (which I'm looking forward to checking out), but unless there's a significant change to the way the brand presents itself to the world, I'm not likely going to change my view of who Olive Garden is, what they stand for, or why I should change my relationship with the brand. I need a REEEAL, substantive reason to change my perspective!!
Back to the logo...
- The overall logo structure is identical; flowing font, organic graphic, descriptive tagline below, framed with a background.
- The flat presentation is more contemporary BUT this benefit is offset by a font selection that is MUCH harder to read. ... Is that "Olive Ganden"? "Olive Carden"? Hmmm.
- The branch icon is clearly more in-line with the "olive" concept (I never really understood the grapes) but how many people will recognize them as olive branches? And, more to the point, the icon come across as just too busy.
- This new logo is a FAR cry from the clean and simple logos of their competitors; TGIFridays, Applebees, Chilis, Outback Steackhouse, etc.
To save yourself from seriously sliding revenues you have to step up to the plate and hit a home run. Olive Garden, I'm sorry to report that it looks more like your bunt barely made it past the reach of the catcher. :-\