Yahoo showed us 30 days of logos. Here’s the one consumers liked best.

With a new CEO last summer and a $1b acquisition this spring, Yahoo has been changing significantly. Next up is its iconic logo: Tomorrow Yahoo will unveil a new logo to signify the new era. To draw attention to the change, Yahoo has been displaying a different logo every day for the last month.

We were curious about which logo consumers preferred as the best fit for the Internet giant, so we used the Survata logo testing tool to find out. We asked 12,725 respondents to pick their favorite of five logo variants (randomly selected from the 28 variants released prior to publication).

And the winner is…

Consumers displayed strong  and consistent opinions about the variants.  The “selection percentage” ranged from 47% for Day 10 (the most preferred) to 6% for Day 21 (the least preferred).  Day 10 was rated highly across all age, gender, and geographic groups.

Our large sample size enabled a detailed look at relative preferences for each pair of logos.  The most preferred variant, Day 10, is undefeated, having been selected in the majority of head-to-head faceoffs against every other variant.


The more logos change, the more they stay the same?

To understand why consumers preferred certain variants, we deconstructed the Yahoo logo into its major design attributes.

We then classified each variant according to these six attributes.  For five of six attributes, consumers preferred the variants with the attribute of the current Yahoo logo.

Our findings from Yahoo’s “30 days of change” campaign suggest it should stick to something familiar.  So, for Yahoo’s sake, we hope the new logo announced tomorrow will remind users of its graphical heritage.

Thinking of a new logo? Don’t guess; test.

Survata has researched consumer opinion on logos for numerous clients, and you can do so for yourself using our fast and affordable logo testing site.  Check it out next time your branding needs a face lift!

And, Yahoo, if you ever get bored of Tumblr’s look, we will happily crunch the numbers on that change as well.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 12,725 online respondents from the US between August 27 and September 2, 2013.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data on Statwing.
  • William Roth

    That’s also the only one that looks like a logo and not just a typed out font.

    • Guest

      What is a logo?

    • carlinscuderi

      You sound like you know a lot about typography.

      • pyronite

        I’d say he’s right. The one they ultimately ended up going with reminds me of the “logo generators” I used back in the 90s (complete with beveling).

        You can make a great logo with the right combination of font and color, but Yahoo didn’t do that with most of these.

  • Matt A. Myers

    The lines in it mimic a good / comfortable sounding “Ya-hoo!”

  • Vincent

    Is popularity the best metric for rating logos? What population do your respondents represent?

    • survata

      Hi Vincent,
      Our respondents represent all demographic groups (ie, all age, gender, and geographic combinations) in the US. You can download the underlying data in the footnotes to see details on any respondent.
      We only measured the logos that consumers “liked best” in terms of reported preferences. The logo that is actually the “best” of course depends on your definition of “best.”
      Hope you found some value in the analysis!

  • Ian Armstrong

    So, you’re saying that people crave the familiar. This is true to a large extent, and there’s a reason why we have to be careful when asking these kinds of questions as they relate to innovation. Do you recall the responses to things like the iPad and the iPhone when they came out? People rarely embrace new ideas until they have had time to grow comfortable with them.

    • Taiger

      What do expect its Yahoo.. their idea of innovation is purchasing small companies and shutting them down..

  • Steve Blakeborough

    Interesting, fascinating, analytical, worthy perhaps and certainly fun. Being part of the UX industry I feel obligated in seeing the value of this method of evaluation… to a point. Though it does amuse me seeking opinions in this way. I spent years as branding designer, before entering the world of the web, working with some of the best typographic/logo designers in the business. They worked with intuition, finely honed craft skills and sensibilities to deliver top selling brands and rebrands years over. By way of example check out my friend Jon Davies’s work at Twelve . Old school designers rock at designing appealing product.

  • eagspoo

    People’s stated preferences may be totally uncorrelated with what Yahoo really cares about which is how their logo affects people’s use of Yahoo properties vs their competitors.

    So while I agree with the statement “test don’t guess” wholeheartedly, it isn’t clear that what was tested matters or that the results are actionable. People often respond to things they would subjectively describe as ugly in very positive ways wrt key conversions such as signups, sharing, long term engagement.

    • JJR

      Spot on. If you’re going to do this, optimise for a business outcome not a stated preference. What people claim to like may not be what drives the behaviour you’re looking for.

  • Larry Popelka

    Your analytics suggest that people like all of the attributes of the current logo the best. You should have included it in your study. It would have probably won.

    • Boings

      It probably would have won, because people don’t like change – Which doesn’t mean Yahoo won’t need to rebrand! Great products take into account what people like, and then show them something new – not necessarily what they’re most comfortable with.

  • fizzle

    this was not an exercise in improving their current logo. all that the test you ran shows is how to improve the current logo, and by extrapolation the current brand image. a rebrand is more than just changing the logo, it is about changing the perception of a company. the effects of this rebrand are not meant to be overnight, and in fact they purposely took thirty days to unveil it in an attempt to start the perception shift before the new logo was unveiled. we will see if yahoo is around in 10 years. if they are, this will clearly be seen as a momentous move for the company. even if yahoo disappears it will be argued that this was a valiant effort to steer the proverbial ship towards better waters. would the conservative act of simply de-serifing the current logo have been enough? perhaps, but yahoo is in need of revolution, not incrementation.

  • Students

    Should have ditched the loosing logos when there were enough samples to say with a high level of confidence that they would not be number 1. IE: you could have known the winner much sooner.
    What would have been more interesting to me would be to randomly vary continuous attributes — like relative size of letters, relative positioning, rotation, color, etc, and use an evolutionary algorithm to evolve the logo into a local maximum of user votes.

  • Guest

    Honestly, I don’t even know how most of these were even in the running. They’re hideous, the lot of em!

  • LisaLaMagna

    Thi sis an interesting exercise which highlights that people don’t like change, they love the familiar. Yahoo showcased different ideas but their decision was not based on a popularity contest, and it seems Yahoo ultimately decided on a “non-popular” logo. Testing and feedback is critical in many areas of marketing, however corporate identity can’t be survey-monkeyed into creation, there has to be a vision, decisiveness and leadership, which Yahoo has demonstrated in this one area.

  • Ben

    Every single one of these logos is horrendous. I can’t understand how any of these were even contenders.

  • monirom

    You can’t A/B test to greatness or creativity. The masses react to what is shown rather than what could exist. What you’re testing is the crowd’s reaction to a set number of variables.

  • eli

    ahh, so this is how they created such a amazing new logo….