FedEx/Kinko’s

FedEx unveiled a new logo for Kinko’s recently, a bold move toward corporate brand integration. The new logo tries mightily to integrate two disparate commercial images. Kinko’s old logo didn’t have enough structural similarity to its new parent’s identity, so FedEx had to start fresh.

Several noteworthy touchstones can be found in the graphic element. The use of existing FedEx colors for the new icon nicely ties the parent company’s numerous services into Kinko’s visual presence. The light blue continues the FedEx trend of introducing muted secondary tones to complement its trademark purple. Most importantly, the star contains in it a right-facing purple triangle–a delightful nod to the allusive arrow in the original FedEx logo.

Simplifying the word “Kinko’s” to a thin sans-serif font is FedEx’s way of maintaining the brand name without encroaching on the master identity. Putting “Kinko’s” in the FedEx font would detract from the main logo, while keeping the original would not mesh as smoothly. FedEx clearly wants people to associate Kinko’s stores with FedEx, but it wants to maintain the brand equity of the chain it bought. Yahoo! performed a similar logo revision when it pulled Hotjobs into its master brand (see before and after).

The new FedEx Kinko’s logo is not without critique. There is no apparent justification for the use a sans-serif font for the additional text while the text add-ons to other FedEx logos (Freight, Ground, and so forth) use a serif one. Perhaps the old font can’t sit full-size next to the master brand, but the continuity is lost. The light blue in the icon represents one equal portion of FedEx as a whole, but it doesn’t seem to play a strong-enough role in defining the image as Kinko’s. And the asterisk (is that what it’s supposed to be?) doesn’t ring true as iconography: no other FedEx logo has a dingbat to call its own, so why does Kinko’s?

Still, the design succeeds far more than it fails. A quote from the FedEx brand FAQ sums up the initiative (paraphrased): “The icon represents the collection of the three kinds of FedEx services available at these locations–orange for global express shipping, green for ground shipping, and blue for the new retail business service centers. At the heart of the icon is purple, which is shared by all FedEx companies.” Without a doubt, the new logo serves its purpose, and serves it well.