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6 Bad Logos and where the designers went so wrong

Bad logo design… You know it when you see it, even if you don’t know how or why it’s true… Bad logos are something that plague every industry. Not that many of them can be blamed, not every company can afford to hire a brand specialist or a graphic designer for their business. However, maybe as you scroll through the logos below, you can avoid some of the mistakes that these logo disasters have made...


   1. It’s too complicated!

A lot of times, it seems like the designer is just too detailed when they are putting together a logo. It’s like they want to put EVERYTHING the company does into their logo, but that is not really what a logo is all about. The logo is supposed to visually represent what the company is about, not tell the consumer everything that they do.

Take Ashley’s Learning Center for example. While they get full points for creativity, the logo itself is just too busy for the purposes of a logo. There are not only too many colors, but also too many elements. My eye darts around the design constantly. Between the circle with the words that are hard to read to the blue blobby shapes (which takes me a minute to understand that they are hands) to the yellow child outline, it’s all just too much!

Ashley's

Correct Tree also incorporated the circle of words within their design, but their words don’t stop there! They not only want you to know that they do all kinds of services centered around trees (which their name could have clued us in on), but they also want us to know that they were established in 2003… and that they are professionals. Don’t worry, no novice is going to come to your house to chop your tree down! (Which is a GREAT thing to know, don’t get me wrong, but the logo is not the place to display this information.)

Correct Tree

 

   2. The gradients! Oh! They hurt my eyes!

While there certainly are successful logos that use gradients, as a general rule, they should not be an essential part of the design. If the gradient can be easily removed and still be effective, then by all means gradient to your heart’s desire! However, when a designer puts a gradient in their logo, they need to be careful because it really limits the possibilities. The logo becomes less versatile and often harder to read.

That is certainly the case with the two examples below. The purple gradient in the Riverside Construction logo makes it hard to read the words beneath the initials and without the description, we really don’t know what the company is. The gradient that Auto Smart uses only serves to make it hard to read.

RCAuto Smart

 

   3. Clip art? Wait… Did we time warp to the ‘90s?

I really think some of the worst logos come in the form of cheesy clip art trying to pass itself off as a logo. There is a place for clip art (like on a kindergarten bulletin board), but not on a logo.

Crazy Jay’s wins the prize for most clip art used in a logo! They managed to cram 2 of them into the small confines of the logo. And while they did make the design nicely centered, they are putting way too many elements into it, making it way too complicated for the purposes of the logo.

Crazy Jay's

The Kid’s College logo not only uses clip art, but they have complicated the logo with way too many colors. It may be cute and fun (which is appropriate for a childcare center), but it makes the words pretty hard to read, especially at a glance!

Kid's College

 

If you study logos long enough you’ll be able to see at a glance which ones “work” and which ones really… really don’t! If you missed the post where I wrote about what makes a good logo, click this link to check it out!

You can also download the FREE pdf list of short graphic design project ideas that goes along with this little logo design series by clicking the button below and entering your email!

(There is a short video that explains how do the research project. Just click here and scroll down to the first few videos.)