Good logos communicate a brand’s identity and what it stands for. Great logos set brands apart from competitors and make them friendly, marketable, and immediately recognizable. And bad logos confuse, offend, and make people even cringe at how ugly and awful they are.
Have you ever seen a logo so bad that it actually made you cringe? In this article, we’ll cover 5 famous logo fails and why they ended up being such bad logos.
5 Famously Bad Logos
For every great logo, there are a few tremendously awful ones that confuse, disappoint, and even offend consumers. Here are 5 famously bad logos:
Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission
When it comes to bad logos, the one for the Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission can’t be beat. The logo, which is supposed to look like a priest protecting a child, looks like the opposite of that. And given the church’s sordid past with child sexual abuse, the last thing they needed was a bad logo that would quickly remind people of that controversy.
Gap’s logo redesign in 2010 is proof that if something’s broke you shouldn’t fix it. The company, which had the same logo for 20 years, released a new logo that was so ugly and uninspired it had customers up in arms. Just six days after launching the new logo, they reverted to their original design, proving that sometimes new isn’t always better.
Pepsi has changed its logo many times over the year, and most recently, they decided to do away with the brand name altogether and rely on their ball image. Not the best move considering many people think it looks like a fat belly, which is the last message you want to be communicating as consumers are becoming more health conscious. And when your brand has a competitor like Coca-Cola, which has a rather elegant logo, you have to make sure you’re offering the same inspiration and appeal to customers.
A bad logo is one that takes away the context needed to understand what the brand is. That’s what Animal Planet did when they stripped the elephant from their logo and randomly positioned the letter “M” on its side. Not only did this eliminate the immediate animal connection, but it left customers wondering why the “M” was randomly on its side.
For many years, Starbucks logo with a twin-tailed mermaid accompanied by the text “Starbucks Coffee.” But in 2011, they decided to redesign their logo and get rid of the text, leaving just the mermaid. Which would be fine if customers had any idea why there was a mermaid there in the first place.
Turns out most people didn’t know the mermaid was supposed to be an ode to the company’s Pacific Northwest origins, So, instead of providing immediate brand recognition, it ultimately confused customers and forced them to find a new way to identify Starbucks.
Final Thoughts on Bad Logos
If you’re making a logo for your business, you should take some notes on these bad logos. Here are some common key elements of the logos you should avoid:
- Too many fonts
- Predictable or cliched fonts
- Too many colors
- Too abstract or complex
- Relying on visual cliches
- Copying other brand designs
By avoiding these terrible logo practices, you can keep yourself from ending up with an ugly logo like the brands above.
Are you looking to update your logo? Have questions about best practices? Let us know in the comments!