[Logo inspiration] Examples of Good, Bad, and Ugly Logos

Sep 11, 2019

A logo is more than just a pretty design. It is the main symbol of your brand. Your logo should translate your brand identity and differentiate you from the competition. The last thing you want is for the logo to send the wrong message to the public. A misinterpreted, or poorly designed logo could easily ruin your reputation. We have made a selection of 10 cleverly designed logos and 10 logo designs gone wrong.

We will also share 5 principles of great logo design, so your logo never ends up in the “gone wrong” selection.

Examples of good logos

1. Heineken

heineken logo new and old




Notice any differences between the two Heineken logos? The second one feels kind of off, doesn’t it? That’s because it’s an earlier version of the famous Heineken logo. Heineken redesigned the logo by changing the letter font and rotating E letters, making it seem like they’re smiling.

Interestingly enough, when Google altered their logo design, they also rotated letter E in the same way:

google logo smiling e

2. Fedex

fed ex arrow

Fedex found a clever way to communicate the core of their business by adding an arrow between the E and the X. The arrow symbolizes the motion of goods being shipped from point A to point B.

3. Tour de France

tour de france logo

Tour the France subtly incorporated a cyclist in their logo. Letter O, letter U and the orange circle are part of a bicycle, while letter R is shaped like a cyclist. Also, doesn’t the orange circle remind you of warm and sunny France in the summertime?

4. Amazon

amazon a to z logo

With an arrow going from A to Z, Amazon highlights their great assortment. Afterall, they sell everything from A to Z. The arrow is shaped like a smile, associating the brand with positive emotions. The arrow also represents the movement of goods from the warehouse to your doorstep.

5. My Indian Closet

indian closet logo

My Indian Closet is a great example of a simple logo design that manages to communicate the core of the business as well as its cultural heritage.

6. NBC

nbc peacock logo

NBC’s multi-color peacock dates back to the 50’s when NBC wanted to highlight the network’s color programming. Peacock stands for NBC’s pride (“proud as a peacock”) and the 6 colors represent the 6 divisions of NBC. The peacock is facing right, indicating that the company is future-centric.

7. Chad 2010

chad 2010 logo

The logo represents a charity mission to the Republic of Chad, a country in north-central Africa. The main goal of the mission was to promote education and buy books for local schools. The logo cleverly incorporates the core elements of the mission, namely the African continent, a child’s face and books.

8. Toblerone

toblerone bear logo

Toblerone’s logo pays a tribute to the confectionery’s birthplace, Bern. If you look closely, you will see a bear in the mountain. The bear has been the symbol of Bern since the 13th century and it is also incorporated in the city’s coat of arms.

9. ED

ed electric plug logo

Elettro Domestic, translated as electrical appliances, makes great use of negative space to spell out ED in the shape of an electric plug.

10. Yoga Australia

yoga australia logo

Notice how the white space formed by the hand and the leg is shaped like Australia.

Examples of bad and the Ugly logos

1. Megaflicks

megafucks megaflicks logo

You had to look twice, didn’t you? Megaflicks didn’t leave much space between the L and the I, making it look like a curse word we all know.

2. Archdiocesan Youth Commission

bad logo Archdiocesan Youth Commission child pastor

Following some very public scandals involving catholic priests and minors, this logo definitely doesn’t help shake off the nasty stereotype.

3. Safe Place

safe place logo unsafe

Does this logo make you feel safe? Safe Place opted for colors often used in warning signs making it look anything but safe.

4. Office of Government Commerce

ogc logo middlefinger

According to the Office of Government Commerce, the logo was meant to signify their commitment to “improve value for money by driving up standards and capability in procurement”. However, when rotated 90 degrees, the logo resembles a person giving the middle finger.

5. Institudo de Estudos Orientas

Institudo de Estudos Orientas logo ass

This center for oriental studies intended to portray an oriental house with a rising sun behind it. Are dirty minds to blame, or does the logo really scream something else entirely?

6. Arlington Pediatric Center

Arlington Pediatric Center bad logo

Would you feel comfortable bringing your kids to this pediatric center. Similarly to Archdiocesan Youth Commission, Arlington Pediatric Center did not thoroughly think through the positioning of the child in their logo.

7. Mama's Baking

mama's baking logo on fire

Get the fire extinguisher! This mama is on fire. We are not sure what’s baking in this kitchen.

8. The Computer Doctors

computer doctors logo

It’s hard to believe that whoever designed this logo intended for the letter U to look like a computer mouse.

9. Junior Dance Class

Junior Dance Class logo

At first glance, the logo appears to be completely innocent. However, once you notice a body part (or 2), you will have a hard time unseeing it.

10. Resident Evil 6

Is it just the number 6, or do you see a giraffe and a person? Even the game producer Capcom acknowledged later on that the Resident Evil 6 logo looks like a giraffe.

The 5 principles of great logo design

1. Simple

A recognizable logo is simple in design and does not confuse the audience. Over-complicated logo designs are not easy to remember which brings us to the next point…

2. Memorable

In today’s world, people are constantly confronted with information. An average person sees anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements a day! How do you make your brand stand out amongst other brands? Sharp colors, unique graphics and consistency are key.

3. Timeless

Fashion comes and goes. Today’s trends will be replaced by tomorrow’s trends. Keep this in mind when designing your logo. Will it stand the test of time? 

4. Multi-purposeful

Your logo will be used on your website, social media, business cards, marketing materials etc. It should be effective in any size and format. When designing your logo, imagine what it would look like printed on different materials, surfaces, in different formats and what it would look like when viewed on big screens or mobile devices.

5. Unambiguous

Keep in mind our “gone wrong” logo selection. Do not leave room for inappropriate ambiguity when designing your logo.

Protecting your brand identity and ensuring brand consistency across all channels isn’t easy. At Lytho, we offer an easy solution that enables you to manage, store, create and share your digital assets in accordance with your brand identity in a Brand Management Solution.

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