September 13, 2012, 3:01 PM

eBay tweaks its logo

The online marketplace makes its logo skinnier and sleeker.

Lead Photo

The new logo.

EBay Inc. today unveiled its new logo. It retains the rainbow-like colors of the previous design—red, blue, yellow and green—but appears sleeker and less chunky than eBay’s old logo, in part because the letters that spell out the online marketplace’s name are thinner and arranged at the same level instead of being placed at slightly differing heights.

“Our refreshed logo is rooted in our proud history and reflects a dynamic future,” says eBay marketplaces president Devin Wenig. “It’s eBay today: a global online marketplace that offers a cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience, with innovation that makes buying and selling easier and more enjoyable.”

Wenig goes on to say that the decision to change the logo wasn’t made lightly, but that eBay needs to show how much it has changed since launching in September 1995, when, he adds, eBay connected a seller with a buyer who wanted to buy a laser pointer. “Today, most items sold on eBay are new, listed at a fixed ‘Buy It Now!’ price,” he says. “We’re also creating new ways to sell and buy [and] eBay is a mobile commerce leader.”

The previous logo today continued to appear on eBay.com in the upper left corner. The previous logo was introduced in 1997, a spokeswoman for eBay says, and the new logo represents the first change since then. The new logo will appear across eBay e-commerce sites and channels this fall, the online marketplace says. Lippincot, a design firm based in Boston, produced the new logo. “We wanted to reflect the right amount of change in eBay’s new logo," says Su Mathews, senior partner at Lippincott. "The design is inspired by today’s vibrant marketplace and sleeker experiences."

Jonathan Salem Baskin, president of Chicago design consulting firm Baskin Associates Inc., was unimpressed.  “It’s inane, because it’s irrelevant,” he says. “A logo is the absolute last thing that matters.”

The new logo is just the latest in a series of major changes at eBay, which has been struggling to keep up with the much faster growth of its principal rival, Amazon.com Inc. Amazon grew its global sales 41% last year, while the value of merchandise sold on eBay increased only 13%. As it seeks to rejuvenate the company, eBay in recent years has pressed eBay sellers to offer more free shipping and better customer service, and bought several technology providers as it seeks to become a broader provider of e-commerce software and services to retailers.

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