Choosing to go through with a logo makeover is a serious decision for any brand. Those that are better established run the risk of alienating once-loyal customers. Less-established brands might be cutting things off before they have had enough time to take effect. But that doesn’t mean that the change isn’t sometimes necessary.
Most large companies have marketing teams that have been hired to oversee logo makeovers, and they are often the best in the business. Sometimes even they slip up, however. The results are the examples below, showing off the worse logo design changes in the past several years.
When people think of Wisconsin they tend to think of two things: cheese and “That 70’s Show.” Perhaps the state wanted to get away from that image and so it decided to put a guy doing a cartwheel on the logo. Or is that a handstand? Maybe it’s some kind of acrobatic feat not suited for a grown man who doesn’t fight crime by night. The slogan is also incredibly cheesy (pardon the pun) and makes me less likely to ever visit Wisconsin.
I liked the old iTunes logo. It showed a simple CD with a shining musical note ahead of it. It got the point across, it was easily recognizable and related to the product, and it just looked good. But then the switch was made to the odd, flat-looking blue bubble with the note inside of it. The whole thing looks unoriginal and boring. It’s more like the Mac logos of the past, without the sleek and modern appeal.
You probably know about Blackwater thanks to the major controversy of its involvement in hiring mercenaries out to businesses in Iraq. It gained a worldwide reputation for violence against civilians and is one of the most hatred corporations around the globe. So its image change was totally necessary. But it changed its name to Xe (pronounced “zee”), which makes no sense on a vocal or visual level. Plus, the logo looks more like it applies to a Xerox company.
The old Animal Planet logo was close to perfect, if a little bulky. There was an animal (the elephant). There was a planet (the earth). It was done all in white and green for a nice, natural look. So there is some question as to why it chose to change it in the first place, much less to ugly green letters with a pointless, sideways "M." It looks like it was made by a junior high student in the Paint program in a computer studies class.
Tropicana has been famous for its quirky logo for generations. Featuring an orange with a straw shoved in, the image is great and iconic. So what pushed the company to make the stupid choice to modernize the container with a picture of a glass of orange juice and a sideways logo? We may never know, but it admits it was a mistake. While most consumers don’t care that much when a container or logo changes, this time sales actually took a hit. That is what drove the company to go back to the classic design just months after releasing the new one.
The swish art used in logos hasn’t been cool since the ’80s, and some might say it wasn’t even cool then. But that didn’t stop Capital One from using it in its new logo design, which is still being plastered on everything today. It looks corny, like it slapped on a boomerang and made it shiny in a desperate attempt to look more modern – like a middle-aged uncle who turns his baseball cap backwards as he jokes with your friends about being "hip."
The original logo for this TV network wasn’t good. It looked slapped together and boring, and the colors were bland. While the makeover was definitely needed, did it have to replace it with something that looked like it had been yanked from the 1960s logo for "Dark Shadows"? It is creepy and irrelevant – unless you apply it to the slogan, which is "TV You Can’t Ignore." That is, at least, true. It is impossible to ignore that stupid logo.
I liked the old logo. It is a slightly overdone concept for European news networks, but it works. The colors could have been changed and the font updated, and it would have been fine. But what did it do instead? Put a white dot on a dull, gray background with the name of the network oddly spaced in a strange typographic setting below it. This is beyond bad, especially if it was going for a nice, minimalist logo design. It looks like an unfinished concept drawing, as though the designer stopped half way through and just said, "You know what? Screw it – good enough. It’s happy hour at the bar down the street."
I don’t know how to describe this, but I can happily say I am not the only one. No one seems to know what this is supposed to be, and it will surely go down in history as one of the absolute worst logos in history. Not only are the colors horrendous, but the shapes are incomprehensible. What are those supposed to be – random geometrics? It looks like someone has put their shot on a bench, and a woman representing the Olympics has bent down to shine it. Or maybe kiss it.
MasterCard had a classic logo that everyone knew. It was easy to recognize, was well made and utilized colors that are really difficult to correctly place to great effect. Its new attempt was not so good. The same colors are provided in bubbles at the top, with shades in between melding and making an ugly, faded look. The gray and prominence of the font is weak and looks kind of stupid. Also, does it matter that it is worldwide? If it is available in your country, you will get a "preapproved" notice at least three times a week. It will know you are global.
So, what lessons can be gleaned from the 10 examples above?
There you have it: 10 of the worst logo redesigns ever and what we can learn from them. What other logo changes do you think went in the wrong direction? Let us know in the comments.