Deadly Sin of Logo Design #4 Fixed: Removing Wayward Parts (Parts Out of Harmony)

A. Michael Shumate

A. Michael Shumate

The Problem with Badges
The biggest issue with a badge style logo is that the corporate name must be subordinated within a shape. In many respects, this is the same as Containment (Chapter 30).

A worse issue with badges is the tendency to wrap text around the shape, which significantly decreases the ease of reading the text.

Through bitter experience, many companies have abandoned the badge approach in favor of a separate logo and “liberated” type, which also gives the options of having the text below, to the side and at different sizes to fit varying design constraints.

Harley-Davidson’s badge logo is an exception because its type is legible, having kept the company name text flat and big enough to read with excellent contrast.

1. Peace Coffee’s multi-color badge logo had sloppier type; its new signature is much easier to read while still keeping a hand-rendered look. 2. Highland Brewing’s logo had too many different elements, many of which are quite illegible. Their new one is an improvement, but still has parts that are hard to read. 3. Juventus have a recognizable monogram now but insist on keeping their name small. 4. Stanley Park’s badge had micro-type that can’t be read. It’s new identity is much easier to read, although its containing shape is rather random. 5. Right to Dream had very abused type. Their clean logo and type are a huge improvement. 6. Starbucks is one of the few companies on the planet that can forego having a signature at all. Even though their badge was one of the cleanest and easiest to read, they saw the benefit of converting it to a logo without the wraparound type. 7. League of Legends has a separate logo now, but the words “League of Legends” is smaller than it needs to be. 8. There is no denying the longevity of the Harley-Davidson badge logo. If only all badges could be as clean.

The Wrong Mood or Feeling
Designers must cultivate the ability to see how their creations will be perceived by the client’s customers. Even if the concept of the logo is Corporate Activity, Corporate Name or even Abstract, the manner in which it is executed needs to feel harmonious with the corporate ideals the company’s ideals. which also gives the options

There are many subtleties that come into play in identity design. Shapes and fonts carry stylistic subliminal messages that must be appropriate for your client.

In most of the samples shown here, a more appropriate mood is achieved for the company in question. One identity might look too casual and not formal enough, while another might look too straightlaced and “corporate,” lacking refinement. It depends on the client’s needs and the desired perception on the part of the client’s customers.

1. Infotech’s check mark logo looked sloppy, a bad quality for a technology company.
2. Hilton’s old logo looked like a poor 1950s design as did its unkerned signature; inappropriate for a higher class hotel chain. 3. Frontier’s old logo joined a serif italic “f” with a sans serif wordmark, topped off with a hackneyed swoosh. The new identity is so much better.
4. Khan Academy’s logo looked a little too casual and juvenile; the new one is more credible.
5. Lendingtree’s signature used a dated looking font; they fixed it along with a stylish logo.
6. Pinterest switched its signature to look more business-like. A good move. 7. Sotheby’s sans serif signature may have looked a little too corporate and so they switched to a serif font.
8. Instagram shifted from a more random script to a more uniform script, making it more business-like. 9. The former Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau wordmark looked casual and they changed it to have a more business oriented look. 10. Logitech’s old logo was very casual, the wrong mood for a technology company; the new wordmark with it’s innovative “g” is much more appropriate. 11. Michael’s old signature used the Bookman font, very popular in the 60s and 70s. Their new hand-rendered script wordmark is more contemporary and more feminine, as are the majority of their customers. 12. NASA’s logo, designed in 1958 and has a hokey old “Star Trek” feeling. In 1975 they switched to a very modern looking monogram that still looks good now. Why did they abandon that and go back to the retro identity in 1992? Why would such a leading tech organization wish to look old fashioned?

Adapted from Logo Design Theory: How Branding Design Really Works

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