Black '+' Decker rebrand a bold move, but too 'vanilla'?

Black ‘+’ Decker has unveiled a new logo and identity, a definite move away from the nuts and bolts of their brand, in a bid to spread across from the shed to the kitchen…

Black &/+ Decker rebrand

It’s a brand that is firmly anchored in any budding DIY-ers memory. Established in the introduction of the prolific ‘Work-mate’ saw Black & Decker as the harbinger of DIY innovation for over 10 million people.

In later years the optimistic, slanted logo stood proud amongst assorted fall-out from numerous DIY projects in many a shed, garage or under stairs cupboard.

Black & Deckers logo history - the iconic hexagonal nut used since 1921 and modified in 1926, 1960, 1984 and 2000

Black & Deckers logo history – the iconic hexagonal nut used since 1921 and modified in 1926, 1960, 1984 and 2000

Although not a go-to brand for the more professional workman, you were assured that at its accessible price point and good build quality it could do the job in hand, even if it turned out that the operator was rather lacking in talent.

The rebrand marks a turning point for a company that is questioning its position in the market, or, through some sophisticated market-research magic and big data, has already identified a route and has embarked on a new journey.  Pop into any DIY store and you have a lot of choice from own-brand to prestige brands. It seems that it may be getting a little too crowded.

Black &/+ Decker's product packaging: before & after

The new look is a firm step toward a more neutral middle ground. A move that hopes to see the brand quietly spread from the shed and appear on a kettle or toaster near you. A Black ‘+’ Decker dishwasher with the previous branding would probably put you off packing it with your favourite crockery, in the worry they would be destroyed by powerful beams of watery destruction. And the odds are that bright burnt orange would probably clash with the decor.

Black + Decker vacuum cleaner

The brand is well executed and will work well in implementation on product and packaging. Rugged power is replaced with innovation, a good move as power without proper management is something to be wary of. There is a slight hint of history although I feel this is a little too subtle to really resonate very heavily. I feel the swap of the ‘&’ for the ‘+’ could be a nod towards the cross-head screw motif and therefore a symbol of origin (Although MADE.COM are having a lot of fun with this already). The overall impression is good, although a little ‘vanilla’.

Although there will be sadness in those who look back with fondness at DIY projects past, change is necessary and branding is the perfect tool for change.

Black + Decker drill

A company of such long-standing and solid history deserves to continue to be part of our lives and if innovation is on the cards than this can only be good. We love a bit innovation!

Soon our homes will be filled with networked gadgets that chirp quietly around us, making sure we don’t run out of milk or allow us to boil the kettle or switch on a light from another continent. We are thirsty for ‘smart’ and it seems that the development of such a flexible brand could be a very ‘smart’ move.

What do you think of the rebrand?

(Image and information source)