Forty years of yellow

I’ve mentioned Logica in an earlier post, since I worked there in the moderately distant past and have followed developments in the business since.  Today comes the announcement that an acquisition by the Canadian firm CGI is expected to go ahead.  The official line seems to be to stress that the two businesses are complementary in terms of expertise and geographic coverage, and thus to reassure employees in particular that there won’t be swathes of redundancies.  But there is no attempt to gloss this over as a merger of equals: it’s a cash offer by CGI.  Logica did well in the early 2000s – still long after my time there – through services for text messages  and I recall the former chief executive Martin Read berating city analysts for only seeing the text message part of the business, and undervaluing the more established general IT services line of business.  Sadly those general IT services don’t seem to have been enough.

Two stories about Logica’s name and image, which were in circulation in my time there, are worth recounting.  One, which must have been embellished in the retelling, is that the founding managing director, Philip Hughes, had in a previous job been responsible for running a competition to find a new name for the IT company where he worked.  One of the entries was ‘Logica’ – which he deemed to be too good for his existing employer and which he kept for the business that he and some partners set up a few years later.  The other, which is very plausible, is that one of the very first items of outlay when the company started up was payment for the design of a logo.  It wasn’t quite the same as the logo in use today, but it’s recognisably a close variant, and uses the same shade of yellow which became one of the defining characteristics of the company.  It remains to be seen whether CGI will maintain the Logica name and image, or whether this takeover will be the end of forty years of yellow.


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