It will no longer use the colorful hashtag that it used when it launched in 2013 and has instead designed a four-color logo using lozenge and speech bubble shapes.
While the company says it liked elements of its original logo, its 11 colors made it very easy to get wrong, the firm said in a blog post Wednesday.
“If placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18-degree rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible. It pained us … Simply awful,” the post, authored by Slack Team, stated.
The post included versions of the old logo against different backgrounds, and said it had to develop three different ones, including a black-and-white version and a square checked option.
The new version uses fewer colors but isn’t a million miles from the original, Slack said. It worked with design agency Pentagram on the project, led by partner Michael Bierut, and considered using emojis, dots and different versions of the hashtag (or “octogram”) when creating the new logo according to a post on Pentagram’s website.
Logos are used by companies aiming to make their business instantly recognizable — and changing them can cause a backlash. In 2010, Gap changed its logo typeface to a simple black lettering with a blue square superimposed over the “P” but within days returned to its original long font with the brand name written in upper case letters after people called it “tacky” and “cheap.” In 2014, Airbnb updated its logo from a blue italic design to a red “Belo,” which the company said is a symbol of belonging. Some people weren’t happy, saying it looked like different body parts, but the company stuck by it.
Top companies in the tech sector have similar-looking logos, using a lot of blue because it’s a symbol of “trustworthiness and security” according to an August 2018 study by freelance marketplace 99designs. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Intel and IBM use shades of blue for their entire logos, while Microsoft and Google incorporate it into theirs. Slack’s new logo includes some blue, with green, pink and yellow against a purple or white background.
Slack said the logo would run on its smartphone, tablet and PC apps to start with, followed by its website and in advertising, but it did not confirm exact dates. The company is expected to go public this year with a direct listing because it has about $900 million of cash on its balance sheet, according to a report on The Information website.
Slack is losing its chief product officer April Underwood ahead of a direct listing expected in 2019. Tamar Yehoshua, a long-time Google vice president, has been tapped to fill Underwood’s shoes as Slack’s new product chief.
Underwood joined Slack, the provider of workplace communication tools, in 2015 as its head of platform after a five-year stint as Twitter’s director of product. She was promoted to the chief product role about 10 months ago. Underwood is also a founding partner of #Angels, an investment collective that pushes to get more women on startup cap tables.
In a Medium post announcing her departure from Slack, Underwood said she planned to focus on investing full time.
“One common story you hear when you talk to founders is that their idea ran as a background process for many years until it moved into the foreground and became a calling too loud to ignore,” Underwood wrote. “And now, I can truly empathize with founders — because that’s happened for me. Investing, which started as a side hustle for me and my #Angels partners, has emerged as the pursuit too inspiring and energizing to be relegated to my spare time.”
During her tenure, Underwood had a hand in crafting Slack’s investment fund — a pool of capital supported by Accel, Index Ventures, KPCB, Social Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Spark Capital that has invested in 49 projects building on top of Slack to date.
Slack, led by founder and chief executive officer Stewart Butterfield, is said to be preparing for a direct listing, meaning it will go public without listing any new shares, with no lockup period and no intermediary bankers. Valued at roughly $7 billion, Slack has raised more than $1 billion to date from GV, IVP, T. Rowe Price, SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins, Accel and others.