Opinion: 5 Logo Disasters

Photo credit: mighuera on Flickr.

Most of the time on Retail Radar, we show the best of the design and copy disciplines. Today, however, we’ve gone into the realms of Bad Design – and with a line-up that includes London 2012, Hershey’s and airbnb, it appears that no company is safe from scrutiny.

1. LONDON 2012


The Olympic world waited with bated breath for the unveiling of the 2012 logo – and were greeted with a floating jigsaw in an acid-trip colour palette (often drawing an unfortunate comparison to Lisa Simpson). It’s our crowning example of design gone wrong, as it’s a logo that’s memorable for all the wrong reasons – whether it’s the criticism it faced from Iran for its resemblance to the word ‘Zion’, the internet petition that tried to have it scrapped, or the assertion that an animated version could cause epileptic fits across the globe. Not even the slogan of ‘Inspire a generation’ could save it from disaster when it emerged that 70% of 11-20 year olds polled ‘disliked’ the design.



When airbnb unveiled their new-look logo this summer, they probably didn’t anticipate the wave of outrage that followed. Many compared it to various body parts, while one website tried to calm the gathering storm by suggesting some alternative uses for the logo (with comedic implications). It wouldn’t be so bad if the company acknowledged their mistake and switched back to their former, far better logo – but instead, they proclaimed their new effort ‘iconic’, claimed it drew inspiration from the Olympic rings and Batman symbol, and (for good measure) added that it represented ‘human stories’.



Hershey are another brand that came under fire recently when they decided to change their iconic Kisses logo into a silhouette – a logo which many agree ‘stinks’. That doesn’t stop the company being popular, however; Kisses made $100million in China last year. If only their design was something else we could get our teeth into…



Tropicana learnt their lesson the hard way when they changed their logo from an orange with a straw in it (signifying fresh), to a glass of orange juice (signifying…a glass of orange juice). After 2 months of change, and with little sales impact, they reverted back.



Sony doesn’t quite make the list for the simple reason that it (thankfully) changed its mind. The Japanese electronics giant has barely changed its logo in its almost-70-year history, but at one point in the ’80s, it encouraged designers to send in submissions for a redesign. After whittling down nearly 30,000 entries from across the globe, it decided to offer prize money instead, hinting that a change could happen further in the future. Since the submissions were very much of their time – slanty, futuristic-looking and, in all honesty, approaching illegibility – we can safely say that a design disaster was averted.

One thought on “Opinion: 5 Logo Disasters

  1. As much as we may laugh at the airbnb logo, I would stil count it as a stonking success just because it rose a ton of awareness about the company. The guys there have a very intelligent and creative content team, so I do wonder if its controversial nature was done on purpose…



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