Expedia Gets a Bland Coat of Paint

Expedia Logo, Before and After

The mid 1990s was a bad time for travel agents, that's when Travelocity (1996) and Expedia (1995) first launched, and although it took a few more years before online booking killed the travel agent, the writing was on the wall. I'm a Travelocity Man by default, yet I have dabbled in Expedia a few times, mostly because at some points its booking fee was five dollars less than Travelocity's, but I think this points to the larger, ongoing rivalry between the two main booking sites — Orbitz and Kayak are fine, but maybe suffer from bell-and-whistle syndrome. Expedia was first launched as a division within Microsoft and it was spun off as Expedia Inc., an independent and publicly traded company in 1999, it was then purchased by Ticketmaster in 2001 and in 2005 it spun off on its own once more. One consistent element among all these changes and success has been the yellow plane that has acted as its logo. Until now.

As before, an airplane and circular blue 'globe' make up the new logo. But the plane is white, not yellow, and the whole look and feel is 'less cartoonish,' said Paul Leonard, VP of brand marketing at Bellevue-based Expedia.

'We were striving for a more timeless and classic aesthetic,' he said. 'It's a little less whimsical and more sophisticated.'
Seattle Times Article

Expedia Logo

As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century — happy new year, by the way — it's funny to think that dot-com logos are starting to acquire an ironic vintage style that will soon completely fade away soon (only to come back to bite us in the ass in 2030) and the old Expedia logo had that. As it evolved, the logo became more professional and better defined, but it never lost that playfulness of the original. The new logo has given up all equity and playfulness in exchange for a dull and generic rendering of an airplane that could be used by any travel agency in the world without making any difference — and it is oddly similar to another of Expedia Inc.'s businesses, Hotwire (see below). The typography isn't an improvement either, there is a strange disconnect between "Ex" and "pedia" as if they came from two different places. To cheapen matters even more, the new tag line is set in not just a clich├ęd handwritten font but one that doesn't even attempt to fake it correctly, just look at all those identical "e"s. The whole evolution is sadly lame, but at least the dot-coooom sign-off is still there.

Hotwire Logo

Logo for Hotwire, another Expedia Inc. booking web site.

The new advertising campaign was created by The Martin Agency, but no word on whether they created the new logo as well.

One of three new ads by The Martin Agency, you can see a bigger version here.

Thanks to Alex Poleshuk for first tip.

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