Monday, September 24, 2012

USAT | Here are more blue ball logo sightings

Anonymous@10:06 a.m. points out that the National Collegiate Athletic Association's logo is similar to USA Today's new one.

Of course, Gannett itself used a ball until 2011, when it launched a Corporate branding campaign that eliminated the big "G" against a globe of the world. (Or was it a basketball?) This one was on the cover of the 2006 Annual Report to shareholders. That year, GCI's stock traded as high as $65 a share vs. the current $18 and change.

And from 1996-2005, AT&T used this. In one respect -- the sans-serif typeface to the right of the ball -- it's closest to USAT's new one.

Earlier: Check out Mother Nature Network's logo.

Have you spotted a blue ball? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. There were a lot of blue rectangles, too, when USA Today came along.

    This is the best the blog can come up with?

  2. Is there a reason that the shape of the ball keeps changing?

  3. 2:07 That was then, and this is now.

  4. 2:07,
    Our company has spent millions and millions of dollars and hours of people time, including expensive consultants, to come-up with an object widely used by other companies. This same object will be the face of this comapany for years to come and was blatantly stolen from other organizations.

    To use your this the best that USA TODAY can come-up with?

  5. I looked it up and Pan Am used the blue ball Logo.

  6. Be thankful we didn't get the NBC Universal treatment. Or by god, that boring G A N N E T T....

  7. Another company that used a blue ball but had white lines across it was Konica Minolta

  8. Konica Minolta may still be using the Blue Ball logo.

  9. The logo is symptomatic of a larger problem. You see, USA TODAY has never really been about substance. For awhile, the occasional well-reported Cover Story or fancy full-page graphic was enough to give readers the perception that the USAT newsroom was on the ball. But that modest credibility was relatively short-lived.

    Long before recession, USAT began tearing itself apart. Backstabbing became the norm. Building up one's job security by tearing down others was fairly common. In time, there were so many splintered groups that there was virtually no way the newsroom could unite against the pending corporate storm that was heading its way via buyouts, layoffs, lame hires, staffing issues, etc. I often think that USA TODAY, under Gannett's direction, wants friction in its newsroom because it makes it easier to throw people overboard. Because the bottom line is the only thing that really matters at any Gannett paper, working with a thinner than necessary, often inexperienced staff is a good way to fatten up the bottom line in the short-term. And short-term is all that really matters anymore at USAT. Get your feet wet, make you money and move on. Don't worry about leaving the place better than you found it. No one really cares about that sort of integrity anymore. It's all about selfishness and survival over the space of months or years, not decades. Not anymore.

    Someone should have raised a red flag about this blue dot b.s. Instead, someone with the right title or phony credentials farted, and all the kiss-asses fell into line to smell how sweet it was. No one has the balls anymore to say, "You know what," lets re-exam this logo thing after we repair all the real damage that has been done here in the last five years.

    But after all the layoffs and threats and hidden black lists, no one has the guts to offer alternative opinions anymore. That has been a problem at USAT for a long time.

    I often think of NASA and how if someone in a leadership position would have welcomed the opinions of the scientists who tried to warn about the faulty O rings before the shuttle blew up, catch my drift. USAT is the ultimate NASA. It not only doesn't listen to those who are trying desperately to talk some sense into often blind managers, it labels and discards these "malcontents."

    The blue dot, which by all accounts seems to be an utter embarrassment in several ways, also underscores another huge problem. USAT deals in perceptions more than realities. It tries to fix things with less-than-substantive ideas. It relies on its marketing department to drive circulation. Doesn't it ever bother anyone at USAT that most people who get USAT don't pay for it directly? I mean isn't that an embarrassment?

    So here we are. Talking about blue dots, balls, circles and still not discussing how USAT can reclaim some credibility and restore trust with its employees. We play with these balls, continue to promote and retain so many of the wrong people, and hope that we can just hang on another year or two, until we either retire or the economy gets better so that we can finally leave. It's a joke.

  10. Not said by anyone at USA TODAY during the hundreds of relauch planning meetings:

    "Hmmmm somehow I think I've seen this logo before."

  11. It looks just like the Blue Dot that ran in the National Enquirer. It had psychic power and you cut it out and carried it with you, and according to the stories that was published with would have good luck, just about every story they ran, the person carrying the dot won money in the lottery or on slot machines.
    They ran the blue dot a couple of times a year. I haven't seen it several years.
    Maybe the person who designed the USA Today Blue Ball...worked for the National Enquirer previously.

  12. Today the blue ball was a fishing bobber. Too bad the content isn't fit to wrap fish in.

  13. I think a more appropriate logo for G A N N E T T would depict a round peg being inserted into a square hole.

  14. EXCELLENT post, 4:51pm!
    You obviously have way too much vision to be working for the CP Bozo Show. Hope you land a better job high up in a newspaper leadership position once the economy turn up.

  15. 4:51... so well put. So well put. It's endemic, though. At my site, they put up a pile of rocks, one on top of the other, with water spouting out the top (this is the desert, by the way). Everyone was in WTF mode. Rocks! Silly as hell. The usual zero communication from the local wunderkinds, just one day it was there.

    So we'd get questions from the public... clients and such. Did the execs care, the suited snobs (well, with a few exceptions)? No. They just paid some guy to put rocks on top of each other and have water run down their sides.

    We were left to field "What the hell is that tacky rock thing all about?" Every the Boy Scout, I'd try to put a good face on it but usually I ended up saying (having not been advised since I actually dealt with the public at work and off work), "Damned if I know," I'd say.

    Same thing with this Gannett blue ball. One is just left to wonder what the hell these pathetically disconnected ego trips are thinking between champagne brunches. Whatever it is, it's not journalism and it's not even viable marketing.

    I don't check out Jim's blog that much since I'm in much better space than when I poured my life into this sinkhole.

    But I check back from time to time. It's only natural: a huge part of my life, affecting every aspect of it for years on end. All for naught. All of it. Every single minute.

    That is, I check back as much as I can stomach. So I'm good with a few times a year. It's quite like post-traumatic stress syndrome and it's no laughing matter.

    I'm fine, doing swell. Media has been in my blood all my life. I use every viewpoint, and every platform, I can to read voraciously and daily.

    Money? Freelance copy editing, some graphics, some writing. But I'm lucky: I can retire anyways.

    I know lots of people aren't doing well and most of 'em, people I care about, still work for Gannett which doesn't care about anyone.

    So, on top of all this? Man, the blue ball for USAT!

    What a huge indication of how bad things were and still are.

  16. Chase uses a round blue logo with a square cut out of the middle:

  17. When will BlueBalls Banikarim get her own logo?

    Hey Jim, what about a blog entry where we could have a contest to come up with a logo for her?
    It might just peg out the snark meter!

  18. Changing the ball to a fishing bobber or raindrop or tomato or apple or whatever else they have planned will erode the nameplate identification. It's one thing to stick crapola inside the ball, but to change the ball into different shapes is out of control. There is nothing clever about it. It appears that someone had a idea to try and "animate" a logo in print. It's not working.

  19. Here's a fun one. From a blogger back in February. Blue dot Communications:

  20. Usa Today is run by lemmings and know nothings.

  21. When I was at The Arizona Republic, I had the pleasure of hearing Karen Crotchfelt talk about how Gannetts' "Miss a Day, Miss A Lot" slogan (or one of the other great marketing slogans) was going to be similar to the Nike Swoosh in visibility, reach and branding. It was good for a laugh except for the part where she was serious. It's nice to see Gannett has finally come up with something completely unique they cab build a brand from- A circle.

  22. The Blue Ball is a disappointment, but that's only one shortcoming I see in the new USAT. Decades ago, I knew how to design a newspaper, transitioning from hot metal to cold type to pagination. All I've seen in recent redesigns is backsliding, and it all comes together in the mess behind the Big Blue Ball.
    I thought we had long ago decided that all caps text or headlines were a problem, but they're back -- big, black and bold.
    There's nothing elegant about any of the fonts or how they are being used -- or overused.
    Blue is my favorite color and I'm already sick of it. Blue headlines, blue text, blue pullout quotes, blue state names and blue sketches and graphs. Someone try magenta, please! Once!
    Most of it is color for color's sake, which would/should irritate Edmund Arnold (yeah, I'm an old fart!), Mario Garcia, J. Ford Huffman and any other designer worth his pica pole.
    There's newshole to burn in a lot of pages, yet they are deadly boring. The sketches in the states pages really add nothing and I for one didn't need a 1-col. cut of a pan pizza with the Domino's story.
    Most of the inside art is ordinary at best and the few good images are played too small. I'm not sure where my metro New York copies are printed, but every inside image is flat.
    Please pick a strong image and make it command a page, even if it means a few less "handles" for readers to grasp onto. Most of them, I don't want to touch!
    And cutlines! The type is way too small -- so small in fact that typos are slipping through, which really looks stupid. And the caption writing sucks as bad as the images. And who decided that three staffers' photo sigs needed to be displayed among the photos of Emmy celebrity dresses? Two of the logos fells between the photos and their cutlines. A photo sig for a cutline? Really?
    As for the Beta website, there are some rough edges, links that lead to blind alleys and a few other issues, but it's lightyears better than the printed paper. Perhaps that was the plan -- make the paper f-ugly enough to drive readers to digital. I hope not, but the new USAT, blue balls and all, just doesn't have the crisp, beautiful, sophisticated presentation, with powerful, well-displayed images and classy typography I want to see each day in a national newspaper.
    That's enough to make the point. This could have been better -- so much better. Some of us who used to know how to do our jobs could have hit a higher note if only we were still around and someone asked.

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. Actually the if the logos are in letters means it looks good. and plus image, there are so many ways to design logo. the logo is the main attractive of the website as well as card, there are lots of options. i read the article, the ball designs seems to be good , the white combination makes attractive.

  25. Bangalore makes more sense than the doublespeak in the latest surveymonkey push-poll we just got from Gracia.

  26. 7:35

    LOVE the idea!!!!!!

  27. Add Microsoft, Volkswagen, GE, Motorola, Westinghouse, Onstar, HP, Allstate, Bell Telephone.

    There's a blog posting on them from 2010:

  28. ING uses an Orange ball.

  29. Hey 6:46, where I worked the lobby ‘art’ is a fiberglass person-sized velociraptor. I don’t think it was planned that way but as an a symbol for the company what could be better than an extinct cold-blooded creature decorated by an out of state ‘artist’ with what looks to be meeting doodles?

  30. Sorry, but I LIKE the blue ball. You people are so mired in negativity that you can't admit when USAT/Gannett does something right. The relaunch was well done. The paywall is working. Try and be positive for once. Things are on the upswing.

  31. Add (Atlanta Journal Constitution) to the list of blue ball logos.
    And the USAToday page running in the dailies, the font has gotten very small and headline fonts are all over the place. As negative a reaction as it would likely get, why don't all the papers have the same fonts?


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