July 7, 2005
Story in brief:
This is about Europe. Specifically, it is the repositioning of
France's leading electric power company to better compete
throughout Europe. Its "EDF" initials are retained, but the full
name "Electricité de France" is no longer spelled out in the
logo (and has virtually disappeared from the Web site,
Working under Creative Director Vanessa Van Steelandt, designers
Patrick Le Mahec and Sophie Tchérakian added
the bright orange symbol, a calligraphic (like Lucent)
flower/sun/turbine/person, to bold and simple eDF letterforms...
lower-casing the "e," incidentally, to be distinctive and more
friendly. (The press release says the "e" also expresses
'technology,' because e = electron. PR writers never cease to
A "sound identity" was also commissioned,
which we'll seek to add here.
C.E.O. - Pierre Gadonneix
Identity Design - Plan créatif,
the ad agency
Sound identity design - Daniel Perreau, 15-30 Music
Good leadership, good thinking, well implemented.
Creative: The symbol will sparkle in every medium. I enjoy its
several meanings, but for me 'person' will always dominate; thus EDF
joins Cingular and others in the little club of avatars I noted in my 2003
Smith & Nephew review.
Strategy: "France" lingers in the initial "F," and a new name
would be an even bolder initiative. But as HSBC and others have
demonstrated, initials can can be made to live on their own, to grow
away from their history. It can help, though, to add a symbol, thus
redirecting our focus from the meaningless and boring initials to something
more memorable and engaging.
Thanks to Alexis Godefroy for flagging this one for us. I
agree, Alexis, that advertising agencies seldom produce good
identity design (see Sourcing
Identity Work), but EDF is an exception.
We might note, however, that a more experienced identity designer
would probably have provided an alternative horizontal logo
From Croatia, Radovan Svob suggests that
"flower/sun/turbine/person" misses the closest reference, the shape
of France itself. "French are very aware of the hexagonal shape of
their country. I'm pretty sure the designers had in mind electricity
spreading to every corner of the country."
the old (1987) logo was
French in word and color:
Missing as yet? a horizontal lock-up:
courtesy of Radovan Svob