BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here last week introduced the first major overhaul of its corporate logo in 26 years.
A hyphen-less “Walmart” is scheduled to begin appearing on stores this fall, the company said.
In addition to removing the star that had served as the hyphen in the middle of the word, Wal-Mart also switched to a lower-case typeface and to a lighter shade of blue, which combine to give the logo a softer, friendlier look, some graphic designers told SN.
The logo also adds a pale-orange starburst at the end — a move some saw as a way to create a graphic element that could stand on its own like Target Corp.'s logo.
“But of course Target has the advantage that the symbol looks like the name,” Michael Bierut, a partner in the New York office of design firm Pentagram, told SN.
Wal-Mart has begun using the starburst as a stand-alone element already — it provided the backdrop for some executive speakers at the company's annual meeting last month, for example.
Wal-Mart was not available for further comment on the use of the new logo.
Designers were mixed in their opinion of the look. Some noted that it was refreshing and long overdue, while others thought it was too ordinary.
“It's a middle-of-the-road look for probably the ultimate middle-of-the-road corporation,” Bierut told SN.
The new logo apparently was made public accidentally when it appeared on plans for a new supercenter the company is planning in Cordova, Tenn., near Memphis. According to the Memphis Business Journal, the supercenter would be a smaller prototype — about 152,000 square feet — with a more open layout, “less signage, curved lines and earth-tone colors.”
It would also include more “green” construction elements, motion-activated lighting systems and skylights.
Wal-Mart, founded in 1962, at first used a very plain, sans-serif font (all capital letters, with no hyphen), before switching to what was known as its “Frontier Font Logo,” a decorative Wild West look, in 1964 (when the hyphen was added). That served until 1981, when it adopted the block type now familiar to most consumers. A star replaced the hyphen in 1992.