Attempting to erase any sign of Ron Johnson’s less than successful tenure as its CEO, J.C. Penny is scrapping the logo Johnson unveiled, returning to its previous wordmark of forty years. AdAge reports:


  Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman for J.C. Penney, confirmed the retailer is phasing out “jcp” in communications, noting that the classic logo has reappeared in TV spots the last few weeks. That logo, a simple red font, which features the first three letters of the retailer’s name in uppercase, is now rolling out to various print and digital pieces, as well as the retailer’s credit card, she said.
  
  "As we transition to a more iconic and recognizable design, the change will give our loyal customers a sure sign that we’re still the store they know and love," Ms. Coultas said.


A logo, we know, is not the entire the brand but merely the first gateway into the brand. By unveiling a new logo alongside his grand vision for the struggling department store, Johnson was saying that this was a new J.C. Penny—one with personality and taste—and had the potential to evolve with the store. The logo suggested the store had a future—a symbol for a new direction and a new kind of department store.

Of course, Johnson was fired after seventeen months—not nearly enough time to see if his new direction would work longterm—and the CEO position was returned to its former inhabitant Mike Ullman. By giving the position to its old CEO, J.C. Penny suggested it wasn’t interested in changing; it was fine staying the way it was—a struggling department store, unsure of where it fit into the American retail landscape. Like Johnson’s new logo was a symbol of his vision for the store, Ullman’s logo is also a symbol.

Simon Manchipp, in a talk at the Brand New Conference a few years ago said, “Logos inherit meaning but are born useless.” There perhaps is nothing more meaningless than red Helvetica but by returning to this classic logo in 2013, J.C. Penny’s logo finds an all-new meaning. It’s as if they are saying: “We’re not interested in a future. Maybe if we just stay the same—keep doing what we’re doing—we can hide the damage.” Unfortunately the damage is done and an old coat of paint isn’t going to change anything.

Attempting to erase any sign of Ron Johnson’s less than successful tenure as its CEO, J.C. Penny is scrapping the logo Johnson unveiled, returning to its previous wordmark of forty years. AdAge reports:

Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman for J.C. Penney, confirmed the retailer is phasing out “jcp” in communications, noting that the classic logo has reappeared in TV spots the last few weeks. That logo, a simple red font, which features the first three letters of the retailer’s name in uppercase, is now rolling out to various print and digital pieces, as well as the retailer’s credit card, she said.

"As we transition to a more iconic and recognizable design, the change will give our loyal customers a sure sign that we’re still the store they know and love," Ms. Coultas said.

A logo, we know, is not the entire the brand but merely the first gateway into the brand. By unveiling a new logo alongside his grand vision for the struggling department store, Johnson was saying that this was a new J.C. Penny—one with personality and taste—and had the potential to evolve with the store. The logo suggested the store had a future—a symbol for a new direction and a new kind of department store.

Of course, Johnson was fired after seventeen months—not nearly enough time to see if his new direction would work longterm—and the CEO position was returned to its former inhabitant Mike Ullman. By giving the position to its old CEO, J.C. Penny suggested it wasn’t interested in changing; it was fine staying the way it was—a struggling department store, unsure of where it fit into the American retail landscape. Like Johnson’s new logo was a symbol of his vision for the store, Ullman’s logo is also a symbol.

Simon Manchipp, in a talk at the Brand New Conference a few years ago said, “Logos inherit meaning but are born useless.” There perhaps is nothing more meaningless than red Helvetica but by returning to this classic logo in 2013, J.C. Penny’s logo finds an all-new meaning. It’s as if they are saying: “We’re not interested in a future. Maybe if we just stay the same—keep doing what we’re doing—we can hide the damage.” Unfortunately the damage is done and an old coat of paint isn’t going to change anything.

“I don’t believe in process. In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that “it’s all about the process,” I see that as a bad sign. The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You’re encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart, who aren’t that creative.”
Elon Musk, my current entrepreneurial hero, from this interview with Wired’s Chris Anderson from October.
“Because a true sense of purpose is deeply emotional, it serves as a compass to guide us to act in a way completely consistent with our values and beliefs. Purpose does not need to involve calculations or numbers. Purpose is about the quality of life. Purpose is human, not economic.”
“It’s not just about doing good work, it’s about explaining your work and selling it, about giving it the proper context so that other people can understand it and feel good about it and tell other people. It’s like building consensus and buy-in. That sounds reductionist and cheap, but there’s value to that. Explain your work. You can do it in few words, but you really get to the heart and soul and reason of why you made certain choices in a design.”
“If you want to hire great people and have them stay working for you, you have to let them make a lot of decisions and you have to, you have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy. The best ideas have to win, otherwise good people don’t stay.”
“If this company were to split up I would give you the property, plant and equipment and I would take the brands and the trademarks and I would fare better than you.”

—John Stuart, Chairman of Quaker Oats (1900)

(via)

“Apple reaches for greatness without apology. Market share and profitability are important only as outcomes. They are not its purpose, which is to achieve the “insanely great.” It is as if they are on an ongoing Grail quest. (As Professor Henry Jones said to Indiana: “The search for the Grail is the search for the Divine in all of us.”)”

From a reader comment on Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish.

I love this. Money should never be the goal. The goal should be to do “insanely great” work, whatever that may be for you. I think doing good work is a lot easier than simply trying to get money. If you can do good work, money will follow. Reminds me of one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes: “We don’t make movies to make money. We make money to make more movies.”