Woodward Dream Cruise changes logo…again

Woodward Dream Cruise changes logo…again

What’s one way of confusing sponsors, alienating the public and blowing thousands of dollars? How about unveiling three logos in as many years?

That’s what the Woodward Dream Cruise did when it recently unveiled a new logo that looks an awful lot like a bad classic car cliche and carries more detail than what could effectively be reproduced on the side of a 747. How exactly do they plan on printing that on hats, polo shirts and key chains?

I caught word of this change last night over at the Tanner Friedman blog and was stunned to hear that the sleek design created last year by former GM Design Director, Dick Ruzzin, was being put to rest.

Over here we loved the identity created by Ruzzin and thought it was a mark that could take the Dream Cruise well into the future and reach out to everyone (sponsors, affiliates and businesses included) in this area—whether or not you’re a hardcore car enthusiast. From merchandising to visibility, Ruzzin’s creation was spot on and had the ability to resonate with everyone from Detroit to Birmingham to Pontiac. This year’s version is tough on the eyes to say the least. Catch someone walking down the street with that shirt on and you don’t know whether they attended the Woodward Dream Cruise or a Wednesday night parking lot car show at Big Al’s Diner.

I’m assuming the designer was a professional and he was just set back to the drawing board over and over again by an uneducated committee. Or, perhaps they did their research and this is the right direction for the event. But as far as I’m concerned, The Woodward Dream Cruise should stand out as the world’s biggest and best classic car exhibit. In our opinion, it lost a huge part of that when it so quickly shelved last year’s icon in favor of … this.



  • Tom Nixon says:
    August 10, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    In a vacuum, I wouldn't mind the new logo. But I agree with your takedown of the issues leading up to it. Consistency is a good thing. And the prior logo was slick and sleek. This logo, though, in a way, seems to better capture the timbre of the event. My guess it will resonate better with the current audience…but won't do as good of a job positioning the event as forward-thinking for a new, younger audience. Things I like: the car actually looks classic, the word mark is bold and recognizable, and it looks Woodward Ave. in summertime to me. Things I don't like: pick a logo and stick with it, Dave's right about the level of detail and the difficulty in reproducing it, it looks committee-ed. 2008's always reminded me of something you'd get at one of those design-your-logo-for-$99 Web sites. Always sharp and crisp, but not always individual, memorable or particularly defining.

  • Dave Klonke says:
    August 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for checking in and commenting. You think last year's looked like a $99 logo? Ouch. I thought I was harsh! 🙂

  • Score one for Klonke. I was watching Ch. 7 Action News last night, talking about the DC. They used the new logo in the on-screen graphic. But they broke it up into parts to use it horizontally along the bottom of the screen. It looked like: Woodward…….DREAM CRUISE….[car graphic]. When broken apart and used in this linear fashion, the logo looked disjointed and disconnected. No rhyme or reason whatsoever. Now, the argument could be made that Ch. 7 shouldn't have broken the logo into separate elements like that…but maybe they HAD to….which was along the lines of some of Dave's points.

    Regarding the $99 logo comment: I don't think the old logo looked like a $99 special. In fact, I liked the old logo very much. In fact again, I like a lot of the logos that I've seen churned out by those online logo mills. Some are sharp and attractive, like I said….but after a while, they all start to look the same, and it looks like the same person did every logo for every online logo site. What's the bigger problem is that, while visually appealing, there is no strategy or thought behind them, so they end up saying nothing (I AM NOT suggesting this about WDC 08 logo.). Anyway, the only point I was making was that it looked sharp, only reminiscent.

  • Companies need to just put some time and effort into creating a logo that really captures what they're trying to do and what qualities they bring to the table. Changing logos so frequently reflects the instability of the company and shows that they really don't have their act together.

  • Actually printing that new logo on key chains, hats, and shirts, as you mentioned wouldn't be difficult at all. These days a 4-color process is great for many logo designs. With as many colors as this logo has it's perfect for a heat transfer imprint as well.

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