Whichever way you look at it, Evri’s schizoid new logo fails to deliver
With its jumble of fonts and numerous permutations, this incoherent identity certainly falls into the questionable type
Like many, almost all of my purchases have migrated from bricks and mortar to online. Once you’ve ordered something and gone to the checkout, a defining moment happens when you learn which company is going to deliver the item you’ve just bought. A favourable courier is met with a sigh of a relief, while one with a suspect reputation increases your anxiety. For me, that company was Hermes. I’ve always had a problem with them and always try to avoid having to use them.
Following a recent purchase I learnt the courier company was going to be Evri, who I’d never heard of. Reading on, I learnt Evri was the ‘new name’ for Hermes. That didn’t bode well, I thought. I then received an email from Evri and as I looked at it my eye kept getting drawn to their logo. It didn’t look right.
Now I’m big on fonts and typography and have a long-held fascination with how corporate logos evolve. Evri’s logo was odd because all four letters were different. To my eye, it looked like a mistake. The more I saw it, the more it jarred. Everytime I tracked my parcel, that logo was front and centre. I needed to find out more.
For as long as I can remember, I had it drummed into me that a client’s logo was sacrosanct. You couldn’t alter it in any way. Often, there was a detailed corporate identity guidelines book that stated precisely how a company’s logo had to be presented, not just the artwork and colour way, but how it had to be positioned in relation to other elements.
Of course corporate identities are always evolving, there are few companies that haven’t changed their logo in some way. I remember years ago being involved in a major British Airways rebranding launch where their old, perfectly serviceable logo was described by their design consultants as suffering from ‘wear-out’. What they meant by that was it was seen, but no longer noticed, so needed to be replaced.
In recent years, there’s been a growing trend towards simplifying logos. Behind this has been a drive for increased clarity, especially when seen in a small size, such as on a phone. Indeed, it has been described as “a consequence of digitalisation.” Many companies have simplified their identities moving away from three-dimensional shapes, shaded artwork and complex designs to the most minimal flat art. Anything fussy has been replaced by simple, bold shapes, with no extraneous elements.
Following the likes of BMW, MINI, Nissan, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volvo, Audi, recently became the latest marque to simplify its logo with a new two-dimensional look. Explaining the rebrand, Audi’s head of design, Andre Georgi, said: “We want the four rings to look the same everywhere in the future, whether in a magazine, on your smartphone, or a billboard and on and inside the car.”
Which brings me to Evri.
Much derided, with one of the worst reputations among couriers, one can understand why the UK’s biggest dedicated parcel delivery company needed a rebrand. Just last year, Hermes was named the “worst performing company” of its kind in research carried out by Citizens Advice. That they also decided to change their name, suggests they knew their problems couldn’t be sorted with a new identity alone. Even so, you’d have thought sharing the name of the messenger of the Gods would’ve been seen as one hell of a positive attribute.
Personally, I have to admit having an aversion to made up monikers. I’m certainly no fan of the Evri name. But that’s nothing compared to what I think of their identity which was composed of four mismatched letters.
It turns out that as bad as their logo is, it’s actually even worse than it appears. Why? Because it manifests itself in numerous different ways using a combination of different typefaces, none of which match or complement one other apart from appearing in white on a blue background.
It’s like the company has schizophrenia. One time it will look a certain way, the next it will be completely different. Of course, Superunion, the design company responsible for it, has come up with a series of explanations, but none can mask the fact that this is just bad design and an ill-conceived gimmick.
According to Superunion’s creative director, they wanted to find a way to represent all the “different people, different parcels, different places and different communities” which interacts with the brand and its messengers. This led to them partnering with type foundry Monotype to create what they describe as a ‘chameleonic’ logo using ‘variable font intelligence’. Apparently, there are 194,481 different possible iterations, and each of the courier’s 5,000 trucks and vans will carry its own unique version.
That reminds me of another British Airways faux pas, when some bright spark at another fancy design agency decided that every one of their planes should feature a different country graphic on the tail. The notion being that this would remind people of the number of destinations the airline flew to.
Launched in 1997, the design agency in question was Newell and Sorrell. The concept was called ‘World Images’ and it featured 50 different tail fin designs. As a concept it was certainly groundbreaking. However, losing its ‘Britishness’ proved an unmitigated disaster for British Airways and two years later the livery was quietly abandoned.
I have a feeling the same will happen with Evri.
Using a random set of fonts to form a corporate identity is especially dumb when that company is a courier, where consistency counts. When all customers really want is dependability, why constantly confuse people as to who you are?
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the creative treatment has produced a raft of brickbats.
Here are a few of the comments it drew on Twitter:
“The Evri logo looks like it was made by a GCSE graphics student.”
“I’m pretty sure no graphic designers were employed in the design for this logo.”
“To think someone got paid to come up with the Evri logo.”
“The Evri logo reminds me of one of those cut out ransom demands.”
“The Evri logo has to be the ugliest rebrand ever.”
“I can’t tell you how much I hate everything about the typography of the Evri logo.”
“The Evri logo is the worst logo in existence and an assault on my eyes.”
And who could disagree? Indeed, it’s hard to think of a single positive rationale for creating such an identity. Yes, going against the grain, breaking the rules, might be seen as being ‘daringly creative’ by the agency. But it’s not their name on the truck.
As Hermes found out, inconsistency comes at a cost. Especially if you’re a courier. And multiple renditions of one’s logo can only cost more than having a single version. And legally, does it mean Evri now have to trademark multiple different logos? Of course, a few permutations will come to the fore. One assumes for practicalities sake, the signs on their buildings will not keep changing, nor will those on employee uniforms.
To me, in creating this confused identity, Superunion have failed to deliver. As is often the case with design agencies, their powers of persuasion overshadow their design prowess.
Rather than investing in questionable font intelligence, Hermes would surely have been much wiser to have used the cost of this rebrand to improve its service efficiency and with it, its reputation.
At the end of the day, one’s name and identity are irrelevant. All people actually want from a courier is a reliable service, to know as precisely as possible when they’re going to receive their parcel and that the driver finds their property and makes the delivery. On time, and every time. Fall short at that and it doesn’t matter what you’re called. Or how many logos you may have.
The only winner I can think of is a certain luxury leathergoods brand who will no longer have to suffer their name being associated with and sullied by another company also called Hermès.
Postscript: Judging by the stream of negative comments on social media, it certainly appears that changing from Hermes to Evri has not changed peoples’ perceptions of the company. Indeed, it seems that Evri already has garnered the same poor reputation as its predecessor.
Here are just a few Twitter comments from 4 January 2023:
“Why are Evri the absolute worst?”
“Evri is the worst delivery service ever.”
“I tend not to buy something expensive if it’s sent by Evri.”
“If I knew you shipped via Evri, I would never have placed the order.”
“I’ll not order from again whilst you use Evri.”
And it keeps getting worse. Here are some more tweets from 12 January 2023:
“People are starting to refuse to shop with companies that they know use Evri.”
“Evri is truly the worst fucking delivery company on the planet.”
“Evri is now such a toxic brand they are thinking of changing back to Hermes!”
About the author: Based in Sussex-by-the-Sea, on England’s south coast, Gary is a creative writer and image-maker. He specialises in creating out of the ordinary portraits of musicians and people with interesting faces, as well as photographing some of the world’s finest flowers and gardens, not forgetting an array of automotive exotica.
On the writing side, he has used his research skills to author deep dives into some noteworthy songs beginning with Bryan Ferry’s ‘These Foolish Things’ ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials and ‘All The Young Dudes’ by Mott the Hoople.
He has also written a biography of Robert Palmer and the stories behind Whitesnake’s blatant Led Zep rip-off, ‘Still Of The Night’ and Harry Styles’ anthem to positivity, ‘Treat People With Kindness’.
Most recently, Gary has penned the fascinating story behind George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four.’
All these can be found here on Medium, along with his reviews of gigs and events and chats with musicians including the likes of Brighton rockers Royal Blood, Californian sister act, HAIM, guitar virtuoso, Joe Satriani, Fee Waybill of The Tubes and Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell.