Rarely is there a company whose logo is not as equally famous as its name. While the public may be surprised to learn how much time and consideration go into perfecting an iconic emblem, designers know better. A logo is the result of days (or months) spent conceiving dozens of different concepts; fine-tuning the smallest […]
It is increasingly frustrating as a web designer to see… (pardon my french) CRAPPY logos that seem to be so incredibly successful. As a designer I am constantly trying to find the balance between clients’ preferences on their logo design, while still trying to create a logo that is marketable, applicable, and simply, usable. Often, my client’s proposals break ALL the rules outlined for a “good” logo, and the struggle to appease them while still creating something of value is very, very real. Good logos work, they’re proven to work, and I try to educate and inform my clients by giving them as many articles and websites on rules and tips to help them make wise logo choices.
Often, as I walk down the office steps after a long days work, I think I have made my point, been successful, truly given my clients the best chance in creating a successful and potent logo, but still, as I hop in my car and drive home I am bombarded my countless logos that are extremely powerful, but non-the-less, terrible. Why are there so many bad logos? And how in the world are they working?
Let’s Look at Some Bad Logos With Great Success:
Google is undoubtedly one of the most successful companies in today’s world and they keep gaining traction. But, based on the rules, they’re logo is terrible! Who on earth decided that blue, yellow, red and green together was a good idea. I often reference this color wheel while settling on a colour scheme, and trust me, this colour combo will NEVER come up for you. Ever.
Yes, they may produce one of the most sought after and renowned vehicles on the market, but the logo? It might be a nice little symbol on the side of a car, but where else could you use this logo? The colours are putrid. The letters are almost illegible. Is that “SF”, “ST” or “SJ”? Not to mention, horses do not stand on one leg. Realistically, that leg would snap in half. A broken leg? Not something I’m looking for in my next car.
Third: Burger King.
Are you hungry yet? How about now? Does this look like the King of Burgers? It doesn’t even look like the squire of burgers. Nothing about this logo says “Burger King” well… except the actual text. But, the shape and design reference something more like, “Burger World” or “Burger Planet”. I want a burger, I want it to be king, and I want it to have a crown. This simply isn’t cutting it.
So What Are They Doing Right?
These logos, although hideous for all intents and purposes, are obviously doing something right. At least their business is. These logos are all instantly recognizable. I could flash anyone of these images on a screen for half a second, and chances are, you’d be able to tell me where it came from. Simply, they are familiar, and people like that. It’s comfortable, it feels safe and often that simple visual cue creates a feeling of nostalgia, something we humans can’t seem to get enough of.
Earlier this year Olive Garden decided to get a facelift, the company was ready to relook at their brand and their product, and create something that seemed more cohesive. In an attempt to revamp their business they created a new logo, assuming it would only be beneficial, but instead, they received some terrible backlash from their customers.
The product was the same; the food tasted exactly the same, but what happened to the world’s beloved Olive Garden? How could they have done away with something so integral and important in people’s lives? Honestly, nothing of “real” importance changed. Consumers are receiving the same product. So, what’s all the fuss about? A brand and logo can mean so much to a consumer. Olive Garden could have been a place where their family used to dine for every birthday, and that simple visual cue, created an incredible feeling of nostalgia. The change of a logo created a feeling of loss amongst its consumers, it no longer resonated with them, and it created a backlash that Olive Garden could never have predicted.
Let’s return to Ferrari. Despite the demonic stallion that looks like it’s about to break its leg, there are a few other key reasons I would label this as a bad logo. Most importantly its level of versatility. Yes, like I said, it fits perfectly right in front of the driver side door, but where else could you effectively place our gallivanting friend. Nowhere. It was designed with the car in mind, and I’m pretty sure that’s all they considered. But as business owners and marketers we know that branding is key. We need our brand to appear anywhere it can in the world. We want it to look clean on a letterhead, which little detail is almost crucial in marketing, but still this car and its logo is recognized worldwide. How? I have come to the conclusion that a logo can only take you so far. Ferrari is known to be a respected; top of the line sports vehicle and no one is ever going to deny that. This company will not easily be forgotten and therefore it’s logo is beloved. I dislike the logo with every cell in my being, but would I ever ask them to change it? No. In doing so I would be wishing the same ill-fate Olive Garden experienced. People like the product, so they like the branding. They like it so much that they will put the ugly thing in a frame on their wall, they’ll wear it like a badge of honour on the front of their shirt. Some will even go as far as permanently etching it into their skin as a tattoo. It’s loved, it’s recognizable, and despite every ounce of my aesthetic judgment, they should keep it.
Now let’s look at one more logo that I disdain. McDonalds. It’s big, it’s ugly. For goodness sake, it’s just two humps! Definitely not something I would call “aesthetically pleasing”. But once again it’s recognizable, people love the familiarity, and it probably creates an immense feeling of nostalgia in regards to one’s childhood. But, despite it’s unsightly appearance, McDonalds and many other fast food companies have capitalized on something very key. The psychology of colour. Whether people realize it or not, colour changes the way that we feel, and red and yellow is perfect for fast food. Red is a colour of action, its exciting and even stimulates hunger. Yellow is friendly, inviting and comforting. These two combined creates the perfect atmosphere for fast food chains.
As a designer many of these logos may appal me. They may break all the rules, but taking a closer look into them we open a door to things that are more important than just the aesthetic appeal. They touch on human nature. They capitalize on how the brain works on the unconscious level. So, maybe they aren’t “crappy” logos. Maybe I just have a “crappy” outlook.