Logos are a physical representation of a given organization. Its flag or seal, if you will. It is used to help mark products, events and the like and thus demonstrate that, whatever it is, it is done with the support and endorsement of the given company. It is also used to spread recognition and to help to provide an instantly identifiable mark that is universally known. As such, the design of a logo is a process that can take much time, money and effort to get right.
This is perhaps why people rather enjoy it when a company produces an unintentionally bad logo design. There’s some secret, childish joy at noticing something highly questionable about a design that, perhaps in the wrong way, makes it stick out amongst the others.
In the last decade and a half alone, there have been some genuine, hilarious, bad logos released by various companies and organizations. Here, we’ve gathered up a collection of our favorite since the turn of the millennium.
#1 The 2012 UK Olympics Logo
The announcement that the 2012 Olympics were to be held in London was greeted within the United Kingdom with no small amount of fanfare, marred as it was by the London Bombings the very same week. So naturally, much energy and enthusiasm was invested into it with Britain determined to show how much it has improved and changed since the last Olympic games it held back in 1948. You’d assume that the logo too would be distinctively British, and try to sum up the mood and themes of the British 2012 Olympics as succinctly as it could.
As it turns out, the official logo design released by organizers aroused at best a sense of apathy from the British public at large, and in some cases was outright mocked.
Ignoring the Iranian claim that the logo resembles the word Zion, or other claims that it resembles a swastika, the logo is almost certainly a fairly jazzy representation of 2012. Although what else it represents is lost to the viewer.
One interesting observation though was how the two shapes on the right resemble an abstract Lisa Simpson. What she is doing to the shapes on the left is best left unexplored, however. The Olympics is supposed to be a family event after all.
#2 The British Diamond Jubilee 2012 Logo
To show that the British were not content with not just one, but two hilariously bad logo designs all within the space of a few months, we need look no further than the design chosen for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 70 years on the British throne. Now with this you’d expect the design to be fairly dignified and noble, following in the distinguished airs and graces of the most respected woman on the globe. Something like the Canadian Jubilee logo, for example.
Or the New Zealand one.
So what on Earth were the British thinking here?
If you are wondering whether that is a child’s drawing, then yes. Yes it is. The design was the result of a competition issued by Jubilee organisers to encourage children to get excited about the event, and the winning design was by 10-year-old Katherine Dewar. You’d have thought that the Jubilee organisers would then have neatened off the design and made it more presentable looking. Instead, they seemed to think that it was fine as it was.
We’ll leave you to be the judge of that one. Certainly we imagine that Miss Dewar at least was thrilled to have done her part for the celebrations, and there’s something good in that at least.
#3 Arlington Paediatric Centre Logo
There’s one thing you need to be careful about logos, and that is sending the wrong message with them. Apparently whoever was designing the logo for Arlington’s Paediatric Center didn’t get that memo, as the center decided that this was a suitable representation of how they wanted to be seen as practitioners of children’s medicine. We imagine that they wanted something that suggested professional care, gentleness and trust. What they ended up with was this.
We are just going to leave this one alone. To their credit, Arlington Pediatric Centre has since realised the unintentional implications of this logo design, and have since issued a new one. The new one is not quite as unfortunate in its design.
#4 Kids Exchange Logo
As well as logo design in itself being important, there’s also the importance of grammar if your logo includes any written text. The case in point here: always remember to include spaces.
While we would praise Kids Exchange for their progressive ideas regarding gender identity, we suspect that perhaps they did not really intend to give the impression that this was what they were marketing. Remember, would-be logo designers: punctuation exists for a reason.
#5 Kudawara Pharmacy
Finally, we’ll wrap up with this humorous little gem from across the Pacific. Kudawara Pharmacy decided they needed a new logo design and wanted something fairly snazzy for their Western consumer base. While we understand that the Roman alphabet (romaji) is not very often used in Japan, we would have thought they’d have caught this unintentional design defect.
Let this be a lesson. Always take a step back from your logo and, for just a second, let your mind go to the gutter for a bit. If something about your logo design strikes you as hilarious in a way you were not expecting, perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board.