Waterstones reveals new (old) logo, reinstating the equity-filled Baskerville

In May 2010, the UK’s largest high street bookseller Waterstones launched a new visual identity (pictured below) created by London-based venturethree.

Waterstones logo venturethree

Waterstones logo venturethree

The following was added to the Waterstones press office in January 2012:

“Waterstones, the UK’s largest high street bookseller, has today revealed a new logo for the company. It reinstates the much-loved Baskerville serif font with a capital W and no longer features an apostrophe.

“James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones said: ‘Waterstones is an iconic brand deserving a capital W, and a font that reflects authority and confidence — Baskerville does just that. Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling. It also reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers.’”

The new design will be gradually implemented in all written communication, display material, shop fits, and refurbishments.

Waterstones logo evolution

The move “sparked outrage” (Daily Mail) among those who insist the apostrophe should remain. John Richards, chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society said, “It’s just plain wrong. It’s grammatically incorrect. If Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s can get it right, then why can’t Waterstone’s? You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English.”

Tim Waterstone launched the company in 1982 using £6,000 of redundancy money from WH Smith, before selling to his former employer for £47,000,000 eleven years later.

According to The Bookseller, the lower case FS Albert Pro logo by venturethree had only been transferred onto 25 of the company’s 310 stores. That’d make it less expensive to revert to the old design than to continue with the roll-out of the lowercase logo from 2010.

I can only guess at what the venturethree design brief was, but if Waterstones asked for something fresh and more dynamic, venturethree certainly delivered. Although from an outsider’s viewpoint I was never convinced of the need to change.

Reported elsewhere:
Waterstones ditches apostrophe, on The Telegraph
Waterstones gives up on its apostrophe, on Mail Online
The Waterstone’s apostrophe. Who care’s? on Plain Text
Apostrophcalypse now, on Asbury & Asbury
Out with the old and in with the old, on CR Blog

An employee at Waterstones Oxford Street spotted the abandoned apostrophe while walking to work.

Waterstones apostrophe

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