Here’s what we would’ve done:
Assuming a brand refresh was even necessary, we’d have kept it simple. Our imaginary logo proposal would’ve looked something like the one below.
We thinned out the heavy wordmark ever so slightly while keeping the same samurai typeface. The original rings aren’t easy to see at smaller scales; the new rings call-back the cymbal grooves of the original, but the simplified design is more readable on a smaller scale, and the 4 rings specifically represent the 4 key product lines of the company: Drumset Cymbals, Percussion, Band & Orchestra, and Accessories. They also imply an ear, referencing their longtime tagline “Because Sound Matters!”. The tagline here (“Unbound. Since 1981”) is an optional addition, dependent on the use.
The new look was a surprise to most, as the company’s kept their branding fairly consistent for almost 40 years. In the last few decades, the company has pushed the envelope with innovative products targeting a wide range of musical styles, and have emerged as a major player in the cymbal arena.
To say it’s been panned by critics is an understatement to say the least. In short, it was the rebrand nobody asked for.
It’s not just a new logo: it’s us tapping into the unbound, ‘don’t-care-what-others-think’ philosophy drummers live by. It means we will never compromise or ask permission, that we will continue to make cymbals that are unique, and we will always be looking for the next sound. It means we treat our cymbals as living metal, allowing them to age and mature. It means we celebrate independence and dissonance. Most of all, it means we know you, the drummer makes the music, and that is why we exist.
Based in New Brunswick, Canada, Sabian was founded by Bob Zildjian (yep, that Zildjian) back in 1981 after the passing of Avedis Zildjian III. The original logo was in place since the beginning (about 38 years), and quickly became a recognizable and iconic logo, owed in part to the ubiquity of the cymbals themselves (now a major competitor to Zildjian) and numerous high-profile artist endorsers like Neil Peart, Terry Bozzio, Dave Weckl, Billy Cobham, and many more (too many to list here).
While we respect the history and products of the company (a great deal), this new rebrand seems to be a severe misstep. Sure, the old logo was a bit more East-Asian (rather than Turkish), but after 38 years, you need to have perspective on the history of the brand as a whole. Sure, maybe a brand refresh was in order, but a complete redesign probably wasn’t.
The new logo looks more like cave painting than a polished logo appropriate to the brand legacy. It doesn’t seem well thought out, and doesn’t seem to speak to their wide demographic – the brand serves everyone from jazz to metal to scholastic and orchestral. This seems to skew heavily to toward the heavy…and not in a good way. More of a “hey, this is a font, like, all the heavy metal bands are using these days, right?” kinda way.
But what do YOU think?
COMMENT HERE, we’d love to get your opinions on the new logo.
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