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
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)
CEO - Luis Berrondo
Identity counsel & design - Saffron, in Madrid
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.
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