Sodexho, the French multinational food services company, has dropped its aitches and become Sodexo. And last month it gave its logo an all-lower-case Web 2.0-ish slant:
Armin at the design blog Brand New (where I found the side-by-side logo comparison) is skeptical:
Sodexo has fallen into the trap of thinking lowercase makes for a friendlier logo. I don't see a rational reason behind this change.
It's the same irrationality behind the recent Xerox logo change, which also involved lower-case-ification.
In the new Sodexo logo, the curving red element is supposed to represent a smile. But its lopsided skew resembles like nothing so much as the slash of red lipstick a three-year-old applies to her face while playing dress-up.
And what about the spelling change? Sodexho was a compression of Societé d'Exploitation Hotelière (Hotel Services Company). In its 2006-2007 annual report, the company explained the decision to de-aitch by saying that "in certain languages an 'x' followed by an 'h' is difficult to pronounce."
Sodexo was founded in 1966. It took them 40 years to discover this little language problem?
Commenters to Armin's post focused mostly on the logo redesign, which they mostly disliked, but Chris observed:
Biggest improvement would be they took out that "h" in the brand name. Take the "od" out of "Sodexho" and you'll get what we called them in college.
And Brandy nailed it, crudely but effectively:
Kickin' the "ho" to the curb!
By the way, the company's U.S. subsidiary appears not to have gotten the memo.