They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes in the case of business logo design, the visual image can just lead to disaster. Nothing is worse for one’s reputation than a design that sends an offensive, sexually explicit, or confusing message to potential customers. Here are some logo design failures that can teach us a few key lessons about the basics of marketing.
Sexually Suggestive Catastrophes
Locum, a Swedish property management company, inadvertently created a sexually explicit logo reminiscent of I ♥ NY slogan when they replaced an O with a red heart in this logo design. The moral of the story here is: sometimes, clear text is worth far more than a picture.
This one has been circulating around the internet for ages now – sometimes even the most innocent symbols can come together to form an offensive image.
One might think that incorporating the initials of a company name is the perfect way to make a logo memorable – but this Doughboys corporate logo is memorable for all the wrong reasons.
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Kerning – the presence of small spaces between letters that can alter character alignment for purposes of clarity – can make all the difference in getting across the right message. Megaflicks is movie store that unfortunately comes across offensively to potential customers because of the lack of proper kerning between the letters L and I. Surely, this was not the company’s intention.
Here’s another instance in which a tiny space can completely change the understanding of a logo. This children’s store, Kids Exchange, might be completely misinterpreted because of the lack of proper space between the two words.
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Blows to Business Reputation
If it isn’t broken, why fix it? In 2010, international clothing company Gap changed its logo for only a few weeks before shifting back to its original logo design. The original blue box logo was known around the world as a fashion icon, and the new logo design was not recognizable, even by its regular customers. The entire project was not only a waste of financial resources, but it truly confused customers until the blue box logo made its triumphant return.
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What do you get when you pair a catchphrase suggestive of corporate global domination with an image of poisonous red paint covering the globe? An advertisement that symbolizes environmental crisis! Of course, Sherwin Williams did not mean to send out such an offensive message, but the marketing was not clear enough and cause a lot of confusion. As this example shows, careful consideration has to be taken before pairing certain texts with particular images, especially if both of them are bold in nature.
Besides providing us with a good laugh, these logo mistakes remind us to be extremely careful when choosing texts and images to represent a company. Sometimes, it takes a colleague or friend to point out potentially troublesome design flaws. To avoid such disasters that might send the wrong image to clients, it is generally better to keep textual and visual designs as simple and professional as possible.
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About the author:
Samantha Priest, a part time freelance writer and full time student at the University of Sydney. Samantha is a keen marketing enthusiast and often gets her inspiration from all forms of marketing, whether it is unique banner printing or catchy internet marketing campaigns.