Can Bad Logo Design Hurt Your Brand?
It’s been a rough week for me. My beloved alma mater, Appalachian State, is getting a lot of media hate for flipping their secondary logo—a rendering of the mascot, Yosef—from the bad-ass, stoic Yosef to the weird, silly, cartoony Yosef.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the hate is a little overblown. “Victory Yosef” is fantastic. Unfortunately, I love it because it scores a 10/10 on the “unintentional comedy” scale. It’s rather silly—not something you want associated with your athletic department. Old Yosef looked tough, serious, and strong. Victory Yosef looks like he’s this close to shooting you in the face if you take one more step towards his moonshine hut. Ok, so maybe it’s a better embodiment of my alma mater than I originally thought.
But anyway, with all the heat App State has gotten, it got me thinking—can having a really terrible logo hurt your brand? Because I mean, some logos just totally miss the point, and have been ridiculed because of it. Keep in mind, this entire blog is just heaving stones through all the walls in our glass house. Blue Corona’s logo kind of looks like a nipple.
How Not To Mess Up Your Logo
Listen, design is hard. But there are three things you can do to make sure your logo doesn’t end up hurting your brand:
1.) Think Through Your Design: I mean, there are hundreds of blog entries on the internet giving crap to logos for unfortunate sexual acts. My favorite is the 2012 Olympic Games logo:
I’m sure this person got paid a lot of money for this logo. Which is a shame. Also, little things that you never would think of will draw ridicule, like the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame logo that looks like a dude getting caught in a fire:
Somebody please help that man. So keep in mind, get tons of people to look at your logo before you launch it, from the most cynical person you know to children, and ask them what they see. It could save you from future embarrassment.
2.) No Matter What, Don’t Steal A Logo: There’s no bigger design crime than stealing a logo from another company. The internet will catch you, publicly shame you, and you might even get sued. Just don’t do it. Bad logos hurt, but stolen logos might kill your company’s reputation.
3.) Be Mindful of What Customers Think of Your Logo: Yahoo! and GAP both received massive backlash. I don’t get the Yahoo! backlash, but apparently people were super attached to the bouncy letters and the smiley face. But regardless, Yahoo! got raked over the coals, and GAP actually had to change their logo back to the original after just a week with their new logo.
To be fair, it’s pretty bad. So if you’re not in love with your logo, take the temperature of your customers. A logo change could help you, but it could also cause uproar from your customers.
Google doesn’t take your logo into account when they rank your website. But users will certainly get turned off by your company if it’s something bad. So investing in a really good logo is essential to your brand. And while it won’t help you rank higher (we can do that though!) maybe it should.
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