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New logo leaves Quark green at the gills

'Uncanny resemblence' to arts council image

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Those two logos in fullLogoWatch Quark has got itself into a bit of a rumpus over its new logo - described as "fresh, inviting, and open" by the company, but also as "indeed uncanny" by a Scottish Arts Council (SAC) spokesperson for its, well, indeed uncanny resemblence to the SAC brand frontage.

Quark unveiled its new look on Friday. Here's the usual press release guff heralding the dawn of a new age, which is worth reprinting at length since it has more than a touch of the whalesong and joss-stick about it:

New logo, new identity system

The new logo is a combination of pure geometric forms that suggests a stylized “Q” in a vibrant green that evokes energy and vitality.

“It’s fresh, inviting, and open,” said Glen Turpin, Quark’s director of corporate communications. “It’s radically different from our old logo. That’s why it’s the perfect symbol for the new Quark. Our company has changed dramatically. Like our new logo, once people catch a glimpse of who we are today and where we’re going, we’ll be impossible to ignore.”

The logo was designed by SicolaMartin, a division of Young & Rubicam Brands. “This really was an incredible opportunity for us, as an agency. We specialize in high-tech clients, so usually we’re doing work that speaks to IT professionals. To get to actually target designers, art directors, and creative professionals was a really fun challenge for us,” said Steve Martin, senior vice president and executive creative director at SicolaMartin. “Not only that, but to have the freedom to re-brand such a well-known company as Quark — and to create a new logo for them, as well? We were excited.”

Quark green

In support of the launch of Quark’s new brand identity, Pantone Inc., the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, has dubbed PANTONE 368 as “Quark Green.”

According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, renowned color psychologist, and author of five books on color, “PANTONE 368 was the perfect choice for an innovative company such as Quark. This yellow green, a symbol of growth, is invigorating and revitalizing, and breathes new life into a brand, in addition to drawing attention to it. By embracing this color for its new logo, Quark is giving its customers the connotation of the continuing growth of ideas and concepts, and that it is on the edge of new technologies.”

“The green just came into being. I was looking for something that would take Quark in a completely new direction — a color that was friendly and inviting, but would also really help Quark stand apart. We wanted to help Quark break out of the visual ‘sea of sameness’ that lumps together so many corporate software companies,” said Chris Wood, creative director at SicolaMartin and designer of the new Quark logo. “It really was an evolution. The more I played with the green, the more it came to represent so many things that Quark has gone through: rejuvenation, growth, and rebirth. It just seemed to make sense.”

Rebirth, eh? Well, according to Macworld, SAC is less than impressed with the new arrival.

A SAC spokesperson said: "We are very proud of our logo which the design company first presented to us on 7 February 2001. Our logo was intensively researched, and then trademarked and launched in 2002."

For its part, Quark says it's an honest mistake. A spokesman told Macworld: "At the end of the day, the logo is a 'q' - and there's a limited number of possible logo designs you can achieve with a single character." He added that the company carried out "extensive checks to discover any similar existing logos [but] we evidently didn't find them all".

Evidently not. Regarding the "limited number of possible logo designs", we're sure that Quark must have a couple of different fonts to play with, in order to extract itself visually from the "sea of sameness" which so lumps together so many corporate software companies - and Scottish Arts Councils. ®

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