Woolworths is Australia's largest supermarket chain and maintains a fairly strong duopoly with Coles. While on ethical grounds I would probably be more comfortable shopping at an IGA supermarket, the Woolies here in Mawson Lakes is only a few blocks away from our house, not to mention one of their labels is Homebrand which has saved us cash strapped uni students a lot of money over the last few months (On students and generic brand goodness). Homebrand products are just as good as "branded" products (to use the common Singaporean term) except for Homebrand corn chips. It's not that I don't specifically like the taste of cardboard with fake cheese topping; I generally find all types of cardboard to be less than palatable.

Well as part of a rebranding effort, Woolies here in Australia and over in New Zealand are changing their logo from the familiar green and red letters and bars to what appears to be a stylised apple that could also be seen as sort of fruit. The two logos are below; even if I didn't tell you which was the older one and which was the newer, I think you'd be able to figure it out.

Old and new Woolworths logos

I was all ready to launch into a Sunday afternoon coffee influenced rant about how the new logo falls short and looks like yet another over-produced, unpractical icky Web 2.0 logo that will look horribly outdated in just a few short years, but Simon from Levshin Creative said it best here on the Foodweek website:

I think this new mark for Woolworths misses in may ways. It’s unbalanced and too bubblegum. It feels like a shiny Web 2.0 logo and not one that will stand the test of time. The complex gradients make it difficult for faxing and embroidering. I would like to see it in one colour. While this mark does feel “fresh” I believe the design is weak and not representative of the Woolworths brand.

I am a great [admirer] of Hans Hulsbosch and think he is one of our greatest strategic design thinkers. the rebrand for Qantas was brilliant. this one however is not. Time and the Australian public will determine the longevity of this new mark for Woolies. Thumbs down from me I’m afraid!

Perhaps given they planned this new logo before the financial crisis took hold, it will cause them to rethink the need for such a change and perhaps stall the rollout. How much money would rebranding several hundred stores cost? Whatever it is, it's money that could definitely be spent better elsewhere. Could they take the money they would have spent and lower the prices for their products instead? :-)