Slack's new logo - already noticed what's going on here? A Corporate Identity analysis from a branding perspective

3th May 2019

Ever heard of the word "octothorpe"

According to "Merriam Webster" Octothorpe is another term for the symbol # (the hash sign or pound sign)

Elements like these convey meaning - they are used as sign language, iconographies and, in the case of the "slack" trademark, they even serve as figurative marks, i.e. as part of the logo.

So Slack has changed his logo, have you noticed? Maybe you're like me: Working on your Mac and Mobile devices day in day out and clicking the little Slack symbol as if entering the “open space” team room. And suddenly (just last week) there's another symbol.
Something like that can throw you off track if you're a creature of habit.

For all those who can't follow me

Slack Logo before

before 2019-01_BrandRefresh_slack-brand-refresh_02-mismatch-logos-1

Slack Logo after

after 2019-01_BrandRefresh_slack-brand-refresh_04-harmonized-logos

Slack is a collaboration hub that changes the way people work and communicate, helping people to be more productive through a cloud-based set of proprietary collaboration tools. The original logo is reminiscent of a hashtag or octothorpe. The hashtag is an organizational element of the platform and signals the beginning of channels where teams can talk about individual projects.

Slack, which has more than 8 million daily users, expects its revenue this year to grow 64 percent to $640 million, “The Information” reported this week.

In the following blog post I'd like to briefly disclose the secret of the new symbol - explain why it was changed and by whom, and give you a mini-guide to your own corporate identity project.  

Are you “in”? Then just read on for 5 minutes.

The good news first: A company is more than just a logo. But in the best case, it says a lot about a brand. It's almost the "tip of the iceberg". Strictly speaking, the logo is part of the corporate design, which in turn is part of the corporate identity. And this, in turn, should be embedded in the brand strategy.

And as you can see with the example of "Slack", a brand fan doesn't ignore the change of such a design.

Let’s assume the identity of a brand has a similar impact to that of a human being, then the design - comparable with the style of a person (clothing, make-up, haircut) - is also strongly interwoven with the appearance of the brand (in the sense of the logo, the image world, the lettering, the color worlds, layouts, iconography). All these elements contribute to the brand building process.

Therefore, the following applies: First of all, deliver clean work in the area of branding and brand positioning. To investigate the question of why the brand exists and what the brand values should be.  

Then you can let off steam in the design phase. This can be seen in the logo, lettering, colors, and visual language.

Which agency brought about the change for Slack?

The agency comes from New York and is called Pentagram. It is the world's largest independent design studio. Their work includes graphics and identity, architecture and interiors, products and packaging, exhibitions and installations, websites and digital experiences, advertising and communication.

Their structure is unique because they are the only large design studio in which the company's owners are the creators of the work and the first point of contact for each client. This reflects their conviction that great design is not possible without passion, intelligence and, above all, personal commitment, and is reflected in a portfolio that spans five decades and all industries.

So why was the Slack logo changed? Has slack changed its positioning, are there new services?

First of all, it should be noted that this update is the first significant change in Slack's brand identity since the company was founded in 2013.
In general, there are all kinds of reasons why a brand changes its logo design. This can be a question of repositioning. In the simplest case, and this is also the situation we now find at Slack, it is a "refresh" - comparable to a slightly fresher make-up or haircut that a person chooses for himself.
On 16.1.2019, Slack announced that it had completely revised its logo. In a blog post, the company explained that the change was not just for the sake of the change, but rather a functional improvement. The company noticed a few problems with the old logo: the complicated 11-color logo just doesn't work too well on any color except white. This caused many problems in itself, but the most remarkable thing was that Slack was going to have to use different logo versions on different platforms.
With this new logo, the company can maintain consistency wherever the logo appears. It also seems that the Slack font has undergone a bit of revision - on the way to a bolder look that has become increasingly popular lately. 

What is the new Slack Design about?

Pentagram has developed a new brand identity for Slack that captures the simplicity and ease of use of the software and updates its familiar hashtag logo to work consistently in different scales and contexts. The enhanced visual language leads to a refined color palette while maintaining the playful visual personality of the brand.  

Slack's new logo replaces a hashtag with a pinwheel.

Working with Slack's creative team - and of course, using the Slack platform itself for real-time collaboration - Pentagram explored a variety of possibilities for the new identity, from options that suggested a connection - the dots, complex knots, emojis, and human-like shapes - to systems that celebrated the platform's unique visual vocabulary.




Finally, the team decided to keep Slack's proprietary Octothorpes and converted it to increase consistency between applications. The new Octothorpe, derived from the original logo and built on a grid, consists of two basic geometric shapes - a speech bubble and a diamond - that can be extracted and used as graphic elements. The speech bubble evokes communication and connectivity and forms the basis for a system of individual symbols, illustrations, and motifs with rounded corners that reflect the shapes of the logo. The new Octothorpe can be scaled up or down to optimize readability at different sizes.


The updated palette contains four basic colors that are more manageable than the eleven of the original, which suffer against any other background color than white. These have been optimized to look better on screen, and the identity also retains Slack's striking aubergine lilac as an accent color. Used in the main communication channel of the platform, the color makes Slack instantly recognizable against the white of other desktop windows.


The new direction is implemented via Slack and its branding, including the website, in advertising and in some places in the software itself. The company also launched a new marketing campaign, calling the app "where work happens".


Topics: Branding, Corporate Design


Signup for our newsletter and get notified when we publish new articles!