Eharmony has fully transformed its self-described "frozen in time" logo, making it the most significant refresh for the brand in 17 years.
The online dating service is introducing a fresh colour palette, imagery multi-faceted heart icon – and most significantly – dropping the capital 'H' placed after the 'e' that's defined the brand since the early 2000s.
Eharmony prides itself in creating long-lasting, serious relationships – something quite different from the likes of Tinder and Bumble – therefore usually attracting an older audience. But with the rise in choice of dating apps and websites, and the ability to sign up within two minutes, eharmony had to figure out how it would improve its overall signing up process whilst still providing quality matches. To coincide with a fresh UX design, the brand wanted a new logo and app icon.
Despite previous attempts to refresh the logo, nothing seemed to "feel right" until designer Shaily Savla was asked to redesign the company's logo along with a whole team.
"We needed something that said 'Hey, check us out again, we’ve got a lot of changes in store for you'," says Shaily.
Using the website's core values – science and love – the team laid out brand attributes that would guide the overall tone: romantic, smart, altruistic and quality.
With these in mind, they set out transforming the "antiquated product" into a brand that looks like it could have been created in the last five years, including an all new bright colour palette, icons, toggles and buttons, typeface (semi-rounded Compass Rose), a new photographer to capture success couples in a new way, UX design and the iconic heart.
But where most brands try to avoid cliches surrounding love, eharmony embraced them, even defending its right to against other dating apps to use them unashamedly.
"The fact that there’s a heart involved in this at all is the most obvious cliche in the world," says eharmony chief executive Grant Langston.
"I think there are a lot of online dating services, apps, sites that use hearts that probably shouldn’t because they’re not really about love. They’re about a more casual connection. We didn’t want people to take that away from us.
"We think we’ve earned the right, being a relationship service, to take that and make it ours."
The heart was also redesigned to serve as a relatable icon for the eharmony app, which hadn’t been given a lot of love.
"We knew that we needed an icon. In the past 17 years we’ve never really had an icon because we started out as a dating site, and there weren’t apps back then," says Shaily. "Once the icon was needed we put the ‘E’ and ‘H’ together but it doesn’t really sound great phonetically because it sounds like ‘eh’. So we went along with it even though we didn’t like it."
"It was hard to stay away from the heart icon for obvious reasons, but we needed something that showed a little more about the core of our business and the dimensions of compatibility," she says. "We sketched up at least 50 different types of icons between the four of us, but the one icon became Grant’s favourite (seen above)."
"When I designed it, I thought that it was something simple and clean and systematic and had overlapping of dimensions and layers."
It could be assumed designing a logo for a concept as complex as love would be a huge challenge, but Grant says it’s surprisingly easy.
"The closer you are to the basic human needs of a human with the product you provide, the less explaining you have to do.
"Food, shelter, water, love, these are things people don’t need to be told they need. If you’re a company that consistently helps them discover these things, they will come to see you as a trusted partner. I feel like the brand is deeply rooted in people’s minds and that’s a good thing."
Dropping the capital 'H' in the wordmark was also a much needed strategic move away from 2000 and the old system of using the 'e'.
"That whole system of using an 'e' was one of the things that made it dated, but it seemed to say this is not a company that was created in the last five years, this is not a company that is on the cutting edge of anything, and this is not how we see ourselves," says Grant.
"It was communicating and antiquated business and product."
So along with the dropping of the capital 'H', the newly faceted heart icon and new bright colours, the logo redesign can act as a "signpost" to people who "virtually pass in front of the business" advocating that the brand not only has a new visual vision, but a new UX vision too."If we had started with the logo and the colour palette and the rebrand, people would have thought, ’Oh wow, this site is different’ and they would come inside and see that it wasn’t," says Grant.
"We had to do it the other way around. We spent a year doing a lot of refurb work on the product, we felt that was delivering a different UX, then it was time to finish off with a sign, with a logo, saying 'Come on in, it’s a new world'."
The fresh UX work includes a new dashboard explaining to users why they were paired with someone by eharmony, and a quick and more sleek communication system, that follows a messenger style rather than email style.
Grant says despite the rebrand, eharmony is not going to change its business model and isn’t trying to relate to a younger audience or compete with the likes of Tinder or Bumble, but is trying to deliver an online experience familiar to users now, rather than in the mid-2000s.
"It can’t take you one minute to get on Tinder, and an hour to get on eharmony, that’s too big of a gap, people won’t accept the difference even though we’re delivering higher quality matches. What we’re trying to do is fit in the same universe as some of these other sites," says Grant.
"Because we’re about relationship we were never has as many 23 year olds as a site that’s about hook ups. People at 23 probably don’t want to be in serious relationship. I know I didn't, so I get that."