Bad Logos



Ultimately, the choice of how a company displays itself it up to that company. That doesn't always mean that the "correct" marketing choice has been made. A few companies who seek designers can often choose bad concepts; often times fall into the trap of selecting "pretty logos" instead of what matches the company.

In addition, a logo can be spot-on in representing the essence of a company, but can be graphically inferior.

To better understand what makes a great logo, see the logo design page.

The use of the following logos is for critical and educational purposes only. (see terms and conditions)


Minor Issues

Take a look at the logo for "Colonial Penn Life Insurance" . These are minor issues, but any reputable designer that pays attention to these details.

Looking at the red arrow, there are two issues that is being pointed out. The first is a design flaw.


Take the blue arc out and examine the close-up of the design flaw. In the blue arc that contains the stars, there is a slight nick in the top of the curve. Admittedly, this is very picky, but is also very unprofessional.

The other issue is one of context for the name of the company. It is really a non-issue, but to strict designers it would not keep with strict design criteria. Can you find the issue? The name of the company is "Colonial Penn". Obviously taken to represent a time period is our nation's founding. Any flag or representation of the flag must accurately represent the reference. There were 13 stars representing the 13 colonies in the colonial period. The use of 10 stars does not represent anything colonial. Even if the reference was to colonial Pennsylvania, that colony was the 12th colony in order of settlement.

There are also text inconsistencies. Some letters touch and some are separated. Also, to be beyond strict, one would look at the top curve of the letter "P" and say that is must match the angle and arc of the bottom red curve.

To reiterate, these issues are minor, but good designers would have found these errors and produced a much more "clean" logo.


Innappropriate Concepts

Some logos have unintended results. These creators and companies did not scrutinize the results well enough.

This logo obviously represents a dentist working on a patient. The problem is the angle of representation. We all know that the dentist is to the side of the patient, but it can be mistaken for an innapropriate position.


In this logo there are two dancers. One is male and one is female. Each is harmless on its own, but when placed side by side they form the torso of a female body. This is an accidental result that was overlooked.




Bad Logos

This is one of the worst examples of a website header that I have seen in a long time. This is a banner and logo from the website for "Southwest Liposculpture". The logo to the left and the image to the right come together to make an absolute mess.

Soutwest Liposculpture

The television commercial is even worse than this banner. The entire commercial is shot with the left logo superimposed on the the left of the tv screen as the commercial runs underneath and to the right.


Let's critique the logo.

Soutwest Liposuction In order to make this concept work properly, the designer should have tried to incorporate the text of "S" and "W" more closely to the curvature of the body. What has happened is that an interesting idea has turned into nothing short of a scribbled mess. An entirely different concept would be more suitable. The colors are also lifeless and drab.





This next logo made the "bad logo" list because it makes no sense. It is simply confusing.

Bek medical The actual name of the company is "BEK Medical". Yes, that is "BEK". There is an attempt to use the "E" and a figure to make the "E" look like a wheelchair. That is an interesting idea, but the problem is that it makes the name confusing. Is it 'BEKK", "BECK", "BESK", or some other word? If the designers wanted to incorporate a wheelchair into the name the green figure should take the place of the "K". It would make the name easier to identify.




ibc This is a logo from a business college. One would think that a business college could do better than this, either internally or in hiring a quality designer.


Their black and white logo really highlights the problems. This is what we call a "train wreck". The analogy applies here in the way a train wreck has its car piled on top of each other. To have the first letter ("i") inconspicuously place under the second letter ("b") and to have the third letter ("c") incorrectly looped through the letter "b" is second rate designing. Let's get picky with the letter "c". The letters "i" and "b" have a uniform size and thickness. The letter "c" does not hold on to that uniformity. Also, the letter "b" has a uniform "roundness" to it. The letter "c" is elongated vertically and compressed horizontally, especially at the bottom half. The bottom half of the letter "c" looks like it has been smashed in the train wreck.





The Almost Perfect Logos


etrade E*TRADE has one of the best TV commercial ads in the business. Their logo is wonderful as well. One thing puzzles us about the icon, though. When dealing with the stock markets, aren't the concerns about the up and down values of a stock or the markets? Would it not make more sense to have the icon arrows pointing up and down? As seen below.



e trade ....or to be more true to the markets it would be.... etrade



...or ...or ...Just wondering.




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