Home » Big Publishing » Randy Penguin Logo

Randy Penguin Logo

3 June 2014

Penguin Random House has a new logo.

Oops, PG should have reminded you to sit down before dropping such astounding news on your now-fluttering heart.

Here’s a video to show the new logo to you and remind you how many formerly distinguished and independent publishers have been sucked into Randy Penguin and homogenized there.


Big Publishing

70 Comments to “Randy Penguin Logo”

  1. I will miss the rambling old mansion, haunted by the many authors who died there. I will also miss the wild-eyed bird that looked ready to attack some poor wanna-be writer’s wallet, stealing all of his money to line its nest.

    Oh well, the new look is very…. corporate-like.

  2. What the h*** is that first creature that pops up after the penguin? I watched the video twice, and I still can’t figure out what it’s supposed to be.

    • Oh, that’s one of the hounds of hell sent to drag off another victim…um… to rescue another poor author and lovingly bring her back to the warm embrace of PRH.

    • It’s a borzoi, Suzan, symbol of one of the many departed independent publishers.

      • Thanks, PG!

      • I love Borzois. I liked the little penguin. But I hate the name PRH. I still think they should have kept the fun with “Random Penguin”–and made a new penguin-y logo–but, oh well.

      • Yep. Wasn’t the borzoi the imprint of Knopf? Or am I getting all the eaten-and-digested presses confused?

        Did Randy Penguin intend this to be inspiring or horrifying? Because when it panned out and there were ALL THOSE BRANDS BEING CONSUMED, I just kind of gaped in silent disbelief.


      • I remember Borzoi, from used book sales and such.

        It’s kinda fun to try and identify the other logos. DK’s easy, since their books are scattered all over Schloß Red and the Redquarters. A few I didn’t quite catch. (Hmm, you know, this could be a fun drinking game for the next writers’ group meeting.)

  3. Such a nice generic logo.
    Very creative. 😉

    • Wait. Wait. So there was a logo? I saw the words Penguin Random House between two orange lines. That was the logo? Someone was paid for this? I could have done that!

  4. They nurtured the holy Hell out of that logo. No indie could come up with something so amazing.

    In my opinion, it should have been a heavily-armed penguin standing in front of a portcullis, keeping the riffraff out.

    • I’d vote for a more modern image, Dan, a penguin with an M16 blasting away at the Amazon logo.

    • I can picture a heavily-armored penguin brandishing a sword and snarling “NONE SHALL PAHSS!” at any interlopers. Then Jeff Bezos, wearing a leopard seal disguise, lunges from the shadows. The penguin shrieks, flings his sword, and flees like a mother. 😀

      • I kinda liked this one, but apparently Penguin didn’t: http://www.27bslash6.com/covers.html

        • A penguin giving everyone a one-fingered salute offended the big P? I can’t see why, shooting everyone “the bird” is kinda their raison d’être, isn’t it?

          • I honestly don’t know my Penguin history well enough to answer that, but I think it’s the email conversation around it that I loved. The whole:
            Okay, I’ll change it to a cat.
            Yes. A cat would be acceptable.
            What about if it’s a penguin riding a cat?
            NO, that would be a violation of our trademark!

            I really wanted to see the image of a penguin riding a cat after that.

        • Thank you so much. I was thinking about this site the other day and wondering how I would ever find it again… And here it is, yay 🙂

  5. Oh my god, that’s it? I had to watch it twice, I thought I missed it.

    • I watched it 3 times because, not having had coffee yet, I was sure I blinked and missed it. But I guess not. :-/

      That there’s some wild creativity.

    • *sigh* Yeah, that was my thought at the end, too. Wait, that’s a logo? Grrr… head throbbing…


      • I showed it to hubby who said it was the trend nowadays to have this sort of minimalismand he’d seen it in companies in his field, too.

        I said, “No. There’s minimalism and then there’s ‘ We did squat but type our name.'”

        Maybe it was a choice between a luxury logo or a luxury expense account, and the meals on the company dime won out.

  6. I had to watch it twice to figure out what the new logo was.

    Wait, they put a vertical rule next to a three-line version of their name? Seriously? That’s it?

  7. That’s a “logo”?

    Someone needs to show the intern how to download GIMP or Inkscape, rather than relying on “WordArt”. 🙂


    Oh, wait. It doesn’t.

  9. That logo is GOLD, folks! Don’t you realize that just having that perfect logo on the spine of your book will bring millions of readers to your novel?

    Oh, if only I had been so creative to think of orange lines. What an idea! Just looking at it causes an irresistible urge to buy-buy-buy. That is why they deserve the lion’s share of the profits. I so want that logo on my books.

    • I wanna know how many thousands they paid some graphic genius for that.

      Wait. Maybe they hired a Japanese firm and it’s actually some 21st evolution of haiku? I might have to ponder the new logo at the Japanese gardens where the clacking of the bamboo forest in the summer wind will reveal to me the true subtleties and wonders.

    • “I only buy books with that orange line with text logo thing on the spine because I know that logo stands for Quality Reading Experiences.”

      Said no reader ever.

      • No, but readers did say, “Oh, it’s DAW Books? I love their authors!”

        When publishing houses were smaller, they did have a noticeable style. You might even call it a personality. I look at my bookshelves and I see a lot of Ace, a lot of DAW, and a lot of Del Rey books. In fact, Lester Del Rey’s ghostwritten “The Runaway Robot” was my first SF book. I bought it from the Scholastic Book Club, and my fate was sealed.

        All those publishers are now Random House Penguin imprints.

        • Suburbanbanshee

          When publishing houses were smaller, they tried to make you say to yourself, “Oh, the last three books I bought with this logo/cover were good, so I bet this one will also be good! They are good pickers, whoever they are!”

          Sf publishing was heavily given to publishing lists of every single book in its line. Ace Doubles were numbered so you could collect them all, and so are DAW Books. You can tell the Ace Fantasy line of classic reprint from the 70’s at a hundred paces, even though the covers are all different.

          You can tell a Penguin Mystery from the old days by all the green and orange blocks of color.

          It’s a trust thing. If you care about your reputation, and you’re willing to put that reputation out there, you make your books look distinctive from all others. (And of course, there are a fair number of indie authors who give their books or series a distinct look.)

    • The orange trash compactor, squeezing out quality fiction since 2013. I really need to have this logo on the spine of my novels. Please take most of my money; I gotta have that logo so that people know my writing has been validated and squeezed like a fine wine in the PRH press of culture. Please

  10. So basically, no one in marketing could decide on anything so they just went with nothing.

  11. I was really expecting something better than a three line css element with left and right borders activated. I seriously hope nobody made bank on designing that. It would take me about 15 seconds to code it into a website. Not design it, code it. That’s how “artistic” this thing is.

  12. That’s it? Just the name?
    I was expecting to see a penguin going all Mississippi-Leg-Hound on the mansion.

    • I thought the penguin would be peeping out of a random door on the house.

      • Yes, I thought it would be a Penguin in a house. Was that too difficult to draw? My parents have a drawing on their fridge that my brother did in preschool; it has him and me flanking an improperly scaled house. Just swap out the kids for a penguin and they would have had something. Just saying.

  13. I love the messaging of that video.

    “We are larger and more powerful than ever before. We will take everything. You (the author or employee or competitor) are tiny and we will crush you.” — cue orange lines and dramatic music.

  14. I wonder how many millions of dollars they paid to have that done? Seriously, a 6th grader could have done it.

  15. Everything about that video is generic. But okay.

  16. I would have gone with a penguin rolling dice.

  17. The zoom out reminds me of that scene in Coma where the camera pulls back to show all the bodies.

  18. The best thing about that logo’s video are comments on PG’s blog about it. Thank you for writing them.

  19. Bennett Cerf twirling in his grave faster than a carousel gone berserk.

  20. Just think–those could be the same people designing your book cover!

  21. It’s sad, I remember long ago when that little penguin meant books I could afford and wanted to read.

    It’s appropriate that he’s been ditched by the modern Random Penguin – for something so boring I didn’t even realize that it was the logo.

  22. that’s not a logo. That’s like, er straight lines. Lexi, I’m with you. I kept waiting for the logo. It was like waiting for a bus that never came. lol

    Wouldnt it be interesting to hear the convo. Let’s ditch symbols, after all, they arent literarah… let’s ditch imaginative logo, after all it’s not literarah. Let’s keep the three words, that’s literarah. Let’s use a skinny font to be obscure, that’s literarah.. Let’s take up ⅓ of every spine with this forgettable long logo that must be read sideways as well as horizontally.

    There’s a reason we fly the wings and the stars and the eagle instead of wearing a sign with words on it to ID ourselves. Symbols have meaning beyond the surface meaning. Re former RH logo: Who lived in that little set of houses, who built them, Bluebeard? Andrew Carnegie? Hobbits just out of architechture school… is there a princess in one of the windows there? Re logo of Penguin: The penguin, is that like THE Penguin in cute disguise just to throw us off from his dastardly plans, is that one of the loyalist penguins from the wingless flight party in the icelands, penguin dancing… Logo is supposed to be MEMORABLE, have symbolic meaning, be an unusual take on the brand… those are memorable features.

    Knopf’s borzoi was very cool even though Knopf is no longer the top of the rock; it’s just another holding now. The borzio had many many incarnations, leaping, turned left, turned right, jumping, line drawing, painted, you name it.

    Surely each imprint [that’s essentially what each pub house in the conglom is now] will retain its distinctive logo. So I wonder where will the other bargain basement one be placed…

  23. Just wondering, cuz I couldn’t tell, but when this poor, downtrodden, victimized publisher showed all the logos from other companies they’ve sucked up over the years, did anyone see the Author Solutions logo?

    I would think they want the one brand that’s synonymous with the curation and nurturing of literary culture right up front and center.

    Wouldn’t they???

  24. So let’s come up with some slogans to accompany the logo.

    “Imagination you can see.” (accidentally ironic)

    “Tightfisted with our authors and artists!” (accidentally truthful)

    • “We are so huge, we don’t need no stinkin’ logo.”
      “Keeping it simple since 2013.”
      “Minimal…with our logo and with our royalties.”
      “Visual art is so 20th century.”
      “Making Decisions over Too Many Bottles of Wine for Decades.”

  25. good ones Mir…. reallyl laughed at this one: “Making Decisions over Too Many Bottles of Wine for Decades.” More true than most might think. lol

  26. From Publishers Lunch today: “For a little more background on the new Penguin Random House wordmark, Business Week spoke to Michael Beirut at design firm Pentagram: “Although Pentagram explored different ways to merge the penguin and house—including one of a penguin stepping out from behind a door—the hybrid logo fell flat with the stakeholders. ‘Instead of satisfying to both sides,’ Bierut says, ‘we found it to be insulting to both sides.'”

    Shouldn’t the predominant concern be readers’ impressions?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.