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MABE: Congenial appliances

New: Mabe logo, and personality

Launched: September 9, 2004

Story in brief:
Mabe is Mexico's leading electronic appliances company -- refrigerators, stoves, washing machines  -- founded in 1946 by Senors Egon MAbardi and Francisco BErrondo, hence "MABE. " GE Appliances is a minority (49%) owner. The threat from Asian brands Samsung and Sanyo, plus the opportunity to become Latin America's predominant 'white goods' company, inspired CEO Luis Berrondo to express a fresher, stronger brand presence, both in the category and as a corporation.  In 1995, Berrondo turned to the Madrid office of Wolff Olins, now the independent Saffron (in which Wally Olins is a partner, along with Jacob Benbunan).

Saffron replaced Mabe's muted red swoosh-mark, reminiscent of Samsung's oval (but not as strong), with a confident, simpler wordmark it calls "congenial."  No tricks here: it's straight lower-case type of the Futura font, capitalizing on the short and distinctive name.

Beyond the logo, Saffron provided a visual system of bright Mexican colors, patterns and icons to create an appealing corporate personality "imbued with a bright sense of humor." There's even a product naming system with personality... like Emelio, Federico and Diana. (See Saffron PDF)

Credits:
CEO - Luis Berrondo
Identity counsel & design - Saffron, in Madrid

First Impressions:
Actual first impression: "That's really nice; someone good was involved," so of course I was pleased when Wally Olins appeared in Saffron's credentials, and am pleased to meet Jacob Benbunan in this way. His design team must have had fun, and Mabe employees will have more fun "living the brand."

Students, see how modern you can look when you let a distinctive name speak for itself. There's no need to torture the type or distract from it with a symbol.

Other Comments:
Was I too kind?
From Australia, Monib Mahdavi writes "The kerning of the logotype is actually quite poor. The 'ab' pair are far too tight to my eye. It appears they have measured the distances equally between the letters, which is of course the incorrect approach. Kerning should always be optical."

And from Finland, Pekka Toivonen scolds me for saying nice things "about a work that is clumsy, undesigned and with totally unprofessional kerning; definitely not a logo at all. Shame on you, do something" so I'm posting this.

 


















Details on Mabe rebranding program as
provided by Saffron (3-page PDF)



 
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