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GoDaddy’s new logo is a flattening of the personality-driven days of the early web

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GoDaddy via FastCompany

Web services company GoDaddy has unveiled its new logo: a generic, sans-serif type accompanied by a heart shape that looks like an upside-down version of the Airbnb logo. At first glance, I thought the other half of the heart opposite of the “G” was a poorly shaped “D” as initials for GoDaddy, but it’s actually supposed to be an “O” so the logo spells out “GO.” That’s very confusing, but the company says the logo, designed in collaboration with branding firms Lippincott and Codo, is supposed to evoke a sense of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Aman Bhutani, the company’s CEO, told Fast Company that he sees the logo as “a young girl who’s a little bit of a bandit—with a ponytail and a patch over her eye—who wants to grow up and be somebody.” To each their own! But what’s most upsetting about this change is that it’s yet another example of the way tech companies are becoming homogenized in their design. Without the hot dog-haired Daddy mascot who exudes a reassuring sense of chill, there’s not much to distinguish the new GoDaddy logo from the sterile, generic logos among the likes of Google, Spotify, and Pinterest.

Along with the logo, GoDaddy has also redesigned its homepage to appeal to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Though it’s mainly been known for domain registration (the company has 19 million customers and has 77 million registered domains, which is over 20 percent of the world’s total), the company now offers website-building services and templates to compete with hosting and design services like Squarespace and Wix. While the templates are clean, attractive, and do exactly what they set out to do, I still can’t help but feel a little sad that it’s just more of the same designs that already exist. I mourn for websites with the zany energy of the GoDaddy man, like the official site for the 1996 movie Space Jam, which is miraculously still up.

To be fair, GoDaddy is in a bit of a conundrum because it wants to be taken seriously as a company that can help small businesses, but unfortunately, it’s a company with the word “Daddy” in its name. But the service has been around since 1997, and it’s built a name for itself that’s synonymous with domain registration. So the best the company can do is stick the objectively bad — but recognizable — “GoDaddy” name in a sans-serif font.

GoDaddy actually ditched the “Daddy” mascot from its logo in 2018 when it rebranded, but didn’t replace it with anything. They should have kept it that way, because the new, heart-shaped “GO” logo is a slap in the face to Daddy. He’s smiling, but behind those green-tinted sunglasses, I know he’s got tears in his eyes. It’s no way to treat one of the last iconic vestiges of the early web. Just ask Jeeves, who was tossed aside when the company rebranded as Ask in 2006. I can only hope Jeeves and Daddy are now chilling in logo heaven together.