With the splitting of Rupert Murdoch’s company in two — 21st Century Fox for the profitable television and film business and News Corp. for the much weaker publishing unit — comes the opportunity for reinvention. “Passionate. Principled. Purposeful,” as Robert Thompson, CEO of the scandal-marred News Corp., put it while “unveiling a new logo that will be our emblem for this future.” It’s supposed to be homegrown and from the heart: “The name is historic and the script is based on the writing of Rupert and his father, who have provided us all with not only a name, but a remarkable professional platform.” But while Thompson cited the company’s “well-known relentless, restless spirit of invention,” “start-up sensibility,” and “creativity,” handwriting experts see something more conservative, or even fake.
“It has no emotion and no passion,” Sheila Kurtz-Collier, founder and president of Graphology Consulting, told Daily Intelligencer. “It looks filled with stress — probably from the person who was trying to [re-create] it. It’s not very smooth.” The new logo, she said, “is in-your-face heavy and blunt as a blackjack, with little style and zero passion.”
Eileen Page, another handwriting expert, was a bit more generous. “It certainly represents what they say they want it to represent: relentlessness, passion, endurance,” she said. But: “Creative and inspirational? Not sure this signature does it.” The penmanship, Page said, is old-school and traditional. “The dangling s seems to try to give an air of individuality and breaking norms — but other stuff is so powerful, the overall script is still very conservative.”
“Breaks between letters in News means some intuition, the ability to reach conclusions by leaping over the stepping stones of logic,” Kurtz-Collier explained. “The o in Corp is somewhat muddy inside at the top and indicates one can’t always trust what is forthcoming from the source. The top of the r and the continuing line to the p form a rudimentary Greek e (like a backward 3) that rather weakly signals a literary bent. The straight-up line on the left side of the p signals a mildly argumentative nature.”
While that sounds something like the Murdochs we know, Kurtz-Collier also stressed that the amalgamation of Rupert and his father’s writing, probably by an artist, “is not elegant” and reads as false. (Other samples of Rupert’s writing, she said, “are far more interesting, energetic, sophisticated, and ambitious.”)
“Forgery is very easy to detect,” she added. “To copy someone’s handwriting for a logo is a little crazy. It’s not what they’re purporting it to be.”