I am a loyal Sherwin-Williams customer…despite the company’s logo, which is widely considered one of the worst in corporate America.
Numerous articles have explored all that is wrong with the logo – namely that this logo first used in 1905 is woefully outdated and insinuates a pro-pollution stance. Many other articles have pitched a redesign.
I won’t rehash those topics but rather explore why Sherwin-Williams hasn’t changed the logo.
Cost Prohibitive – certainly there are meaningful costs associated with the rollout of a new logo, but this undoubtedly has not been the prohibiting factor for over a century given the company has refreshed the logo multiple times.
Perfect Fit with Brand Positioning – a quick visit to the company’s website yields its mission statement
Let’s try to draw a meaningful connection between the logo and the company’s mission statement.
“No matter where you are in the world” – could be tied to “Cover the Earth,” although the logo depicts an overly literal interpretation of this phrase (i.e. a can of paint covering the earth) vs. a global company.
“Surfaces you’re coating” – again, you can make a literal connection here but certainly the intent isn’t to coat the surface of the earth.
There are far better ways to graphically convey these two messages.
“Innovate solutions” – as regulations and environmental awareness have forced companies to develop zero- and low-VOC formulas, the company has done so without sacrificing quality. Dumping a can of paint over the earth obviously does not support the company’s eco-friendly efforts.
“Ask Sherwin-Williams” – I don’t find any connection here.
So what is it?
Before diving into this little exploration, I had a hunch it was due to an unyielding grasp on tradition. As I was exploring the company’s website, I found an extensive historical timeline.
Turns out, the “Cover the Earth” logo has it origins in the 1890’s and became the official company logo in 1905. The logo was used continuously until 1974 when it was replaced by the logo below, which was meant to portray Sherwin-Williams as “more than a paint store.”
But the “Cover the Earth “ logo returned in 1979 and in 1984, the company combined the two.
According to Sherwin-Williams, “we have used them together ever since, honoring both our tradition of quality [emphasis added] and the diversity of our company.”
And it doesn’t appear they will be abandoning this commitment to tradition anytime soon. In the “Future we Envision,” section it reads: we are “proud of our leadership position in North America, we still aspire to fulfill the dream of our founders, to ‘cover the earth’ as we strive to the global leader in our industry.”
There you have it.
So what do you think? Is it time for Sherwin-Williams to loosen its grasp on tradition? Or do you respect its unwavering commitment to its heritage?