Partners In Design

12.26.2008

Wrap your head around this one

I originally posted this rant on NYC GRID. It seemed appropriate for here...



Now, I have no major qualms with Duane Reade. Sure, they probably aren't the most-loved business around. But when I need Advil, pencils and a 99 cent can of fruit juice (for entirely separate reasons), I can rest assured I'm only a few blocks away from fulfilling those needs, regardless of the time of day. I think just about everyone can get on the same page about DR being a fairly mediocre shopping experience. The harsh (often dirty) environment, the ugly (old) logo, the inattentive staff- they all add up to your typical Duane Reade experience. And that's fine. We've come to expect it, we live in New York. But now they go and throw us a curve ball like this.

This is not a defense of the old logo, and I also don't expect Duane Reade to push the boundaries of modern identity design and come up with something that makes us rethink our life direction. In fact, I applaud their decision to freshen up their image. But this damn thing is a mess. This mixture of sans and serif faces, complete with upper and lowercase confusion all wrapped up in a nice cliché circle create for a critics dream.

Let's start with the "DR" mark. Two capital letters in a circle. Fine. It's nothing new, but it normally wont offend anyone. Except what the hell is with how the "D" intersects with the circle? Of ALL the ways one could choose the execute that, they pick the one that creates a plethora of uncomfortable angles and flat edges. To make matters worse, the leg of the R is free to escape the tyranny of said circle. Why? Don't even get me started with the thicks and thins of all the lines in the mark. It's so wishy-washy.

Then, of course, we have the written out "Duane Reade" text, which is stylized as one word (no spaces) with DUANE in all sans caps and reade all serif lowercase. It's a messy execution simply to remove a space, but OK, I'll bite. Except for one issue: why do they allow the "R" in the previously-mentioned logo mark exist as uppercase, while in the written out logo, the word is rendered in lower? No clue.

All that being said, the store itself was quite nice. Roomy layout, well-stocked, clean, and a great pharmacy section near the front.

11 comments:

Shalimar said...

who did this?

Paul said...

I don't know. But the type meltdown and the flat side of that circle just make me want to die.

Alexandra said...

That's pretty atrocious.

Mark said...

The one good thing I can say about the new logo, is that the circle crossing the leg of the R reminds me of the Rx symbol.

But that doesn't come close to making up for all that's wrong with it.

Anonymous said...

Several of the criticisms you make could be applied to the treatment of "partnersINdesign" in your banner...

not that I like this DR thing, either.

joy said...

I am totally not a fan. And I've been searching for the culprit, but surprisingly, no design firm has come forward. That's odd, usually they're not shy...when the work is well-received.

julesbourglay said...

Is Radio Shack happy about this?

Anonymous said...

The new logo is bad, i think you guys said it all. It is missing branding, graphic and common sense 101.

Old logo was bad but then again it was part of NY history, so it became a classic.

However there is much more improvement on the inside, I actually like the interior now. I work close to the one on Broadway and Grand and find it pleasent, warm, nice color pallate, lot less clutter all around.

My friend is telling me there are several different look and logos through out the city. I am not sure what that is all about and haven't seen the rest.

Anonymous said...

I am designer working with that logo as a signmaker and don't see anything wrong; try to understand what is abstraction and do not ask about strangeness. So you do not like the elegance.

fetyaska at aol.com

Anonymous said...

Plus, it looks like the Radio Shack logo or colors. Not exactly of course, but very reminiscent. A yucky mixture of sans and serif, and just not good in general. http://image1.mapmuse.com/images/all/logo_RADIO_SHACK.gif

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