Johnson & Johnson unleashes power of the ampersand as it follows Sanofi, GSK in major rebrand

Sanofi tapped tech and GSK took out the scissors during their rebrands, but Johnson & Johnson is changing up its iconic logo and name for the “next chapter” in its corporate story.

Following many other Big Pharmas, J&J is looking to tighten up the branding across its business units and, “over time,” according to a press release, will lose the iconic (though likely not that broadly known) Janssen name for its pharma and R&D business as well as the medical technology unit.

In their places will come Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine and Johnson & Johnson MedTech, respectively, both now more firmly placed under the company’s brand umbrella.

And given the spotlight on the Johnson & Johnson name, its logo and branding style are also getting an update. This includes the dropping of the calligraphic Johnson & Johnson we’ve been so used to over the decades to a bolder and more blocky font type, which would not feel out of place in the tech industry.

The new logo is “modernized” for J&J’s “next chapter.” Each letter is drawn in one pen stroke, which the pharma giant said shows “unexpectedness and humanity.”

“The company will embrace both the long- and short-form versions of the logo, expanding and building more equity around a short-form ‘J&J’ to show up in a more personable, contemporary way—especially in digital interfaces,” the drugmaker continued. “The brand will also show up in motion and respond to different environments.”

While keeping its famous red coloring, J&J will across its branding be “leaning into a refreshed, bright, and contemporary color that speaks to the ability to urgently respond to health challenges, evolve with the times and set the pace.”

There’s also change afoot for the ampersand that, despite being rather old-fashioned these days, will not only be staying but enlarged in the new logo and has been designed to capture “a caring, human nature.”

J&J said in a statement that the updated ampersand “now presents itself as a more globally recognizable symbol and represents the openness of the brand, as well as the connections that bring the company’s purpose to life.” It did not elaborate on how it does that.

Finally, there is a new corporate art direction that has “been crafted to spark energy, optimism and inclusivity, all while offering a unique and distinctive approach in healthcare,” though, again, full details on exactly how it will do this were not shared.

These changes are deeply reminiscent of what both French Big Pharma Sanofi and Britain’s GSK did with their rebranding last year. Sanofi too culled its extraneous brands as Sanofi Pasteur, its much heralded and historic vaccines unit, as well as its rare disease biz Genzyme, which were both brought under the Sanofi umbrella.

Sanofi’s logo also changed, moving from the legacy graphic of a bird forming a circle to lowercase text that was purposefully more techlike in its look.

GlaxoSmithKline, meanwhile, simply became GSK last year and also came with a new logo. The company opted to keep its traditional orange coloring but to make it bolder and darker as well as more pronounced.