How to Spot a Bad Logo Design? (& Fix It)

Last Updated on September 10th, 2021

You’d mostly find everyone discussing the features of an awesome logo design.

But what about the pathetic ones, the awful creations that ruin a brand?

I thought why not share the bad logos with you all so the good ones can receive the kind of appreciation they deserve.

Do you want to give your brand an awesome logo design representation?

I believe that you must know about all the bad choices that some brands once made so you can learn the lesson that they couldn’t in the first try.

Come, let me share some of the bad logo design options that are either drawn while getting to office or can be called a toddler’s creative venture.

What is Bad Logo Design?

Before I start showing you the really bad logo design examples, let’s understand how a designer ends up ruining the project, below.

A logo design is meant to have certain qualities in it such as correct colors, perfect font option, and most of all ability to represent the brand in its truest form. Consider these qualities a universal standard to rate a logo design and a slight change in the basic rules can prove a catastrophic step.

Similarly, you should not go for logo design trends as they’re short-lived and become outdated with the passage of time. Also, you must ensure that your logo is not out of line and represents your brand objectives correctly.

So, here’s the key points to remember, always!

  • A bad logo has wrong colors.
  • It uses uneven fonts, too.
  • It fails to represent your brand message.

Some Bad Logo Examples

If you want to create better logos, first find out what makes a bad logo design. Because no one improves until he focuses on his mistakes (and you don’t always have to make mistakes when you can learn from other’s).

Here, I’ve grouped the logos that can be associated with different forms of a pathetic design or say a total creative disaster. Read on and discover what kind of bad logos you should avoid in order to keep your brand away from public mockery or negative buzz.

Unnecessarily Detailed Logos

The very first kind of bad logos are the ones that involve so much detail!

Nope, there’s nothing wrong in including small design portions in the logo design in fact it can prove interesting for those consumers who have an interest in art. But don’t forget that a logo is used for branding purposes and not for any creative competition. And if you hide your branding message in that small creative portion, the logo might not be very scalable when imprinted in smaller size.

Bad-Logo-Design

Just look at the Saint Peters Athletics’ very first logo design that they used from 2003 to 2011, above!

The logo features a peacock in the middle, then there’s the team’s name in front of it and I think they tried to create a peacock’s tail or something.

Too much detail in a single frame!

In comparison to this old logo, the new one features the peacock only which is enough to tell it’s them.

Design Fix:

You need to remove unnecessary detail from your logo to remove the tag of a bad logo design!

And if you don’t want to give up on your current logo, try having a logo variant in a different design for smaller spaces such as your website’s header, business card or any other surface where the actual one fails to maintain its awesomeness due to smaller size issues.

Out of Context Logos

One of the reasons to call these logo designs bad is when they fail to introduce the brand in the proper way!

See, a logo’s job is to represent your business and initiate the conversation between the consumer and your brand.

But what if your logo doesn’t even give a clue to your consumers?

This will result in losing that potential consumer who might admire the design but doesn’t get the hint that it represents a brand (which is yours).

Bad-Logo

Look at this logo design above!

What do you think about it? Or should I say if you can guess the brand who owns this logo?

Well, it’s the National Film Board of Canada’s logo design!

It neither looks like a TV, nor a camera or any film reel which is why I’ve added it to the bad logos list. Now, if you separate the brand name from the logo (as I did), no one would be able to guess what it is except it’s either a man placing his hands on head or an eye trying to hide behind a bar.

Design Fix:

You got the design part right!

The logo design gets the attention from viewers but the only problem is relevance between your brand and the logo which makes it a dumb design approach.

So, just fix this issue and turn your bad logo design into a good one. Simple!

You may find it interesting: Worst Logos Ever That Made You Laugh are Finally Fixed

Common Logo Designs

This mostly happens with bakers, real estate agencies and medical brands that they use a common design approach.

You may have seen a realtor using a rooftop’s image as their brand logo or maybe a bread to represent a bakery.

To sum it up, they all are too common objects which makes them a bad logo!

How?

Because they’re too common to be remembered and if you use easily guessable (and forgettable) objects, your brand would lack the memorability aspect.

Bad-Logo-Design

The Cleveland Browns can be a perfect example of how using a common object as a brand logo is not a very good idea.

The logo, above, just shows a helmet which does hint at football sports but doesn’t say much beyond that point.

There are other teams with better logos like Jacksonville Jaguars & Baltimore Ravens which enables them to be the prime option whenever there’s a discussion on football as their logos are memorable.

Design Fix:

The easiest approach to turn your bad logos into good ones and remove the jinx of being too common is to associate one of your business values. Or else, you may think of a promise that you can make with your consumers via your logo design so your common logo design looks uncommon, attractive and memorable.

Unclear Logo Designs

When it comes to branding and logo design, there’s a very fine line between creativity and stupidity!

Sure, a logo must be creative but it shouldn’t give the viewer a tough time cracking the meaning of the logo or the relation with the brand. A logo should be clear in its design approach and hinting at the brand so the consumer can form the right opinion about your company.

If it doesn’t, its simply a poorly drawn bad logo which needs to be changed ASAP!

Bad-Logos

Take these two as an example of a bad logo design!

One is a supermarket brand and the other one deals with health issues but their logos send the viewer in another dimension.

Sure, both manage to seek the viewer’s attention but what happens next is not in favor of these brands. The Bureau of Health Promotion tried to make use of negative space but ended up with a weird typography that fails to do its job.

Pathmark tried to use wordmark logos in their favor but it lacks relevance with the brand’s core operations and becomes a confusing design.

Design Fix:

If your brand has become a victim of an unclear logo design, here’s the solution!

Change the logo ASAP!

Now that’s pretty obvious but you’ve to pay attention to the imagery that you use, the font as well as any icons that will be a part of your new logo design.

The key is to maintain relevance in your logo so it doesn’t get listed in the bad logos again and gives out the right message about your brand.

Out of Fashion Logos

One of the qualities of a bad logo design is that it remains the same after a few decades which impacts badly on the brand’s reputation.

Look at big brands such as Google or Samsung who updated their logos with the passage of time to stay relevant to their consumers. Try not to make this awful mistake that can taint your brand’s reputation and give out a wrong message that your company doesn’t spend on a good designer.

Bad-Logo-Designs

These are the old logos of two famous brands that were doing pretty fine!

But then, the brands decide to audit their logos and update them.

Why did they do so when they already had a logo?

The answer is…these logos weren’t really effective in today’s competitive era where every brand spends a fortune on their logo design to keep the visual identity in the best form.

If they had continued using these two logos, their brands would have been affected due to using a bad logo design approach.

Design Fix:

Have your creative team assess the old logo and see if it can work for your brand with a few artistic tweaks?

Look at Apple that’s been using the same bitten apple for decades but with minor changes in design to prevent the bad logo syndrome.

And just repeat this formula to update your old-fashioned logo and you’re good to go.

Creative Disasters

There’s a kind of bad logo that just cracks you up at first and you can’t hold yourself back from bashing the creator’s stupidity.

I’ve mentioned the out of context logos above but this logo group is on another level and starts a negative buzz about the brand than doing any good.

Remember when a few years back people started to point out offensive similarities between Airbnb’s logo and human body parts?

That’s the kind of bad logos I’m talking about!

Your logo can be anything but a creative disaster that instantly damages your brand’s reputation.

Bad-Logo-Design

Look at these two brands who tried to say something via their logos but the design came out very differently.

Sherwin Williams wanted to say that their paint is the best option to paint everything but the globe cover in red gives a very scary picture that the world took bath in blood or something.

Similarly, Comprehensive Healthcare wanted to give an impression that they care about everyone’s well being but the logo says something else as if someone opened the door while the house was changing. (Very shameful!)

Design Fix:

I don’t think that I need to say anything as you already guessed what to do with bad logos that are more like a creative disaster.

Change them ASAP!

And while you do that, don’t go to the same designer who created them in the first place because he’ll repeat the same mistake and waste your money, energy, and time.

Meaningless Logos

There are some bad logos that are bad because of the absence of meaning!

See, your logo design should have some meaning that connects it with the brand as well as the consumer just like Beats, Baskin Robbins, and Adidas that form some meaning.

Meaning is important because it gives your brand a connection with the ultimate user of your products.

And without meaning, they’re nothing but a bad logo design idea!

Bad-Logo

One of these logos, above, is designed by the creative magician Paul Rand himself and it is an ideal option to take design notes.

And the lesson is…NEVER REPEAT IT!

End-Run was an electricity company in the late 90s which is no longer operational but this pathetic logo design is still discussed in creative being’s circles.

And the other one is from Seattle’s Best Coffee that looks more like a Uvula in someone’s mouth when there should be something to hint at the coffee or coffee beans.

Design Fix:

Sit with your designer and seek out the shortcomings of your logo design that makes it an ugly, a bad logo.

Try adding some perspective in your brand’s logo so it gets the true meaning that connects it with the brand as well as the consumers.

Misleading Logos

Context is a very useful element in design because without this, the whole logo turns out to be a waste of time.

One of the bad logos are those that give a wrong meaning about the brand!

These logos shouldn’t be published or used for brand representations as they can create problems ranging from public humiliation to legal issues.

Bad-Logo-Design

Expressing love via the heart sign is a common practice amongst millennials and GenZ but this Swedish company used this sign in the wrong place and it resulted in such a pathetic logo design.

Then, there’s this logo design from the Office of Government Commerce that became a victim of poor kerning skills. And I don’t even want to go into the details of what it looks like if you rotate it.

Design Fix:

Before you mark the logo design project as complete, form a reviewing committee and analyze the logo.

Ensure that any imagery, font’s placement or another object doesn’t give an offensive vibe that may harm the reputation of your brand. And approve the logo only when it meets the decency criterion instead of initiating a negative debate about your brand’s creative department.

You should give it a read: Is Your Logo Design Good or Bad? Analyze the Logo Quality of Your Brand

Final Words

So, this was all that I had to share in the bad logo design’s list!

These were the ultimate depiction of when a designer creates blunder and the brand had to suffer. And the solution is always to stick with ground rules that include correct typography, accurate color selection, and a sane imagery choice while designing a logo.

And lastly, you need to review the logo before concluding the project in order to avoid such embarrassing situations for your brand.

Folks at Full Stop Inc. are always up to help you fix the bad logo problems for your brand if you’re still struggling to find a suitable design solution. Adios!

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

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