Better Homes & Gardens: Revitalizing a media icon for a new generation
Jennifer Madera (Better Homes & Gardens)
Jeremy Darty, Jeanine Colgan
Bethany Lesko, Angela Ko
Why do iconic logos need revitalization? The most common reason is simply a visual refresh to help keep the brand current. But the more challenging incentive for revisiting any well-established mark is the modern complexity of context. For Better Homes & Gardens, it would be the latter. In the 94 years since they first debuted, their context has radically changed from a magazine brand with a handful of related books to a highly complex system of digital, social and mobile platforms as well as a broad based global licensing program.
Originally, as the number of platforms grew, individual teams modified the logo to adapt it to their mounting needs. This process brought to light some significant challenges: In particular, the limitations that came with the existing arrangement of the name and use within digital, social and mobile channels. Not to mention the growing identity disconnect across the portfolio including its global licensing program.
This prompted the leadership at Better Homes Gardens to call on Lippincott.
With 94% brand awareness, the magazine is a trusted source of inspiration for its 40 million readers. In order to fully leverage this well-earned trust across platforms, the brand needed a flexible system with a strong core identity. From the outset, the editorial leadership at Better Homes & Gardens set a very clear definition for the project: imagine the iconic logo as a more modern and simplified expression that could flex across the entire portfolio and align with the refreshed creative direction of the magazine. With this in mind, they challenged us to modernize the identity for a millennial audience without alienating the core readership.
Our first decision was to approach the design as a considered evolution of the brand, so as not to jeopardize the equity with a wholesale logo change. The resulting design is rooted in the heritage, but as a new, simplified expression ready to carry the brand into the future. It links all the platforms and extensions through a modern and adaptable identity system. And by creating a consistent, cohesive brand identity that is recognizable in print, online and in-market, we are able to give readers, friends and fans a greater connection and affinity to a richer Better Homes & Gardens.
Central to the update is the return of the ampersand, which was used prior to World War II and before the magazine shifted to emphasize the post-war “home” element in the name. The new ampersand provides a distinctive visual cue that connects the brand’s assets while reflecting its creativity.
For the design system, we then created a toolkit that captured the spirit of the magazine while providing the flexibility to adapt across all of the Better Homes & Gardens platforms. The system also reinforces their positioning, Life in Color, while bringing through the characteristics of the magazine that make it special — everyday, personal, authentic.
The new logo debuted in the January issue of the magazine and rolled out across the brand’s many digital assets in the following months — fully bolstered by a stronger, more cohesive visual system that allows Better Homes & Gardens to create connections across all its valuable communication channels.
Stephen Orr, Editor-in-Chief, best summarized the results of the project when he said, “We wanted to create a logo that can connect all Better Homes & Gardens platforms and extensions through a true identity system better suited for multiple uses, particularly in today’s rapidly changing digital environment. Thanks to the help of Lippincott, we did that and now have a logo for the next 100 years of Better Homes & Gardens.”