By Gabby Manotoc
Forty-five years ago, Jazzercise was born. Popularized in the 80s, many people picture cheesy dance moves, leg warmers, leotards and songs from when Madonna was like a virgin. In what appears to be a response to the rise of new aerobic exercise forms, particularly Zumba, the company released its new branding on January 8.
The new identity was designed by CBX, a branding company in New York. According to current CEO Judi Sheppard Missett, Jazzercise is constantly evolving and the new logo aims to “recharge [the] brand to reflect the edge, energy and intensity of our classes…”
Compared to the previous version, which was light-hearted and playful, the new logo achieves a refreshing dynamism. It no longer reminds viewers of the lights on Broadway or the early jazz days, instead; it’s bold, capitalized and oblique. True, the logo did need an update, but the new logo falls short of amazing. Simply put, it’s safe and bland.
Though it’s extremely useful to have a combination mark for a brand (a logo that has both an icon and a word), the text on the right is much stronger than the icon on the left.
The biggest issue with the visual element is that it looks unfinished. The tail of what can be assumed to be a J, doesn’t cut off with a straight vertical line. Instead, it awkwardly tapers off at an angle. There’s also a pointed section of the icon created by the single pixel connection of both positive spaces of this visual.
The oblique circle is also imbalanced because of the extra tapered off element on the bottom left. It destroys the suggested image of a circle by breaking the visual familiarity. At small sizes, the composition of positive and negative space would be destroyed. It appears as though a simple removal of this extra part would infinitely benefit this combination mark.
Upon closer inspection, the word “jazz” is slightly more angled than the rest of the word. This design choice seems a little mundane as the alteration is barely noticeable. Some may even think it’s a mistake in rendering. Perhaps a better solution to creating typographic contrast would be using a different color or font weight. There’s also the question of whether the word “jazz” should even be emphasized at all.
The new advertising material definitely doesn’t emphasize jazz. In contrast to old notions, the new visuals are of sweaty women using exercise bands. They’ve ditched the leotards for more fashionable athletic gear, and their actions seem to imply any other exercise but jazz. Without the logo, these images might as well be of CrossFit or cardio kickboxing. In this sense, the brand seems to have lost the spirit of what made it special before.
Despite leaving it’s outdated logo behind, the new upgrade is bland and generic. It looks as familiar as many other fitness brand approaches. Nike uses the same bold, oblique look and so do many other gyms and CrossFit clubs. It’s no feat of originality for sure.
Jazzercise as a brand appears to want to fit in more than ever. It’s lost the fun personality that made it popular in the first place and it remains to be seen whether or not today’s crowd will respond to the change.