The other day I saw this post on Creative Review about Nivea’s latest rebrand.
I think the reason for the rebrand is a very legitimate one, gradually over the years Nivea had begun to lose consistency over its branding. Part of this problem came from the number of different products they sold but the main reason was that most of their products came in different shaped packaging making it difficult to ensure a consistent look across the range.
The old Nivea logo was designed in 2009 by Interbrand:
But we can see how it’s saturated:The challenge for fuseproject was to keep Nivea’s heritage and loyal customers but collate the brand into one universal mark.
The new logo was based on Nivea’s first product, the creme, and so a simple white type in a blue circle, logo was created:
Fuseproject created a new style of bottle that is sleek, clean but inviting with the top angled down, clearly showing the logo.
Now all that’s fine and good but the thing causing a stir is the slightly sporadic kerning (space between the letters for any non designer friends):
Initially I thought what many people will be quick to say, ‘what bad design why on earth haven’t they sorted that?’ but thinking about it, and reading about it more it became quite clear that fuseproject will have been well aware of the large gap between the N and the I, which made me question more about why they kept it there.
One reason might be to keep hold of the personality and character of the brand. A perfect brand would be dull, people like faults as it makes things more real, more friendly in a way. But I think the main reason really is just that it wouldn’t look right!
Looking at this link that kerns closed the gap (to a bit too much of an extreme):
You can see that the logo completely loses its balance. The wide slope of the A and the negative space this creates means that there needs to be a similar distribution on the other side.
The whole word is really just very awkward, the v wants to act as a centre but the narrow I means that although this should work nicely it actually throws the word off kilter.
Any more space between the I and the V would need to push the E and the A out further the other side, completely defeating the point in the first place. Really I think they settled on the best solution possible, whilst retaining the typeface that Nivea is recognised for.
If you’d like to read an opposing point of view there’s plenty in Creative Review’s comment section here or Brand New’s review and comment section here. (personal favourites include Mark: ‘With kerning like that, I shan’t be rubbing it on my phallus. I will resort to Dove in the future.’ and Joel’s slightly aggressive: “Sorry, as nice as the packaging is, I don’t think anything “makes up” for a lack of fundamental principles.” Burn!)