Weight Watchers, established in 1963, is the world’s leading provider of weight management services through a complex points system assigned to every food and caps on their intake.
With 1.3 million members worldwide, attending 45,000 combined meetings each week Weight Watchers produces its own branded food products, totaling sales of $5 billion last year. Their newest program, Weight Watchers 360°, launched this month along with a new identity designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher.
“As part of the program overhaul and looking forward to the next 50 years, Weight Watchers also gave its brand a new, highly modern visual system that brings to life the transformation members experience when they adopt a new lifestyle that can lead to significant weight loss,” stated a press release.
In a substantial departure from the previous identity, the logo uses a typeface based on a custom version of the font Fort, lower-case and graduated - to reflect the shedding of weight the company is founded for.
“Gradation is an essential element of the entire program, symbolizing change,” notes Pentagram’s description of the logo. "The new identity features a friendly, accessible logotype with the Weight Watchers name set in lowercase. The logotype appears in a gradient that visibly lightens from left to right, embodying the idea of transformation and losing weight."
Business Insider (among other) begs to differ: “Unfortunately its new logo kind of looks like it was made with Microsoft Word Art…the chunky font with the fade to grey color gradients is reminiscent of what we'd slap on the cover page of an Eleanor Roosevelt book report to spice things up.”
The new logo and identity represent Weight Watcher’s effort to integrate marketing messages and position the company as a lifestyle brand that leads to transformation.
With multiple divisions and sub-brands, Weight Watchers needed visual cohesion across their magazine, newsletters, cookbooks, WeightWatchers.com and mobile apps, packaging for food sold at Weight Watchers stores and in supermarkets.
Armin Vit's take at the Brand New blog: “For someone as typographically and metaphorically gifted as Scher I really doubt that a gradient was the best possible way to communicate transformation. Were there more daring options presented? I’m pretty sure. Was this the safest? Most likely.”
Pentagram is bullish about their design, describing it as: "Modern, open and energetic, the identity brings to life the transformation that members experience when they adopt a new lifestyle that can lead to significant weight loss."
The new identity will appear on the cover of the January/February issue of Weight Watchers magazine and begin appearing in retail later this month.
It’s always a risky business, changing brand identity, but as for its impact on those seeking transformation one meal at a time, logo-gradient or not, the challenge remains, well, weighty.