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Logos: What Makes a Good Design? - Part I

happy-logoLogo Design Isn’t Always Easy
Designing a logo can sometimes be mystifying, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. At times a logo design just works, even though it may seem rather unremarkable. Other designs should work but they don’t.

When Things Go Terribly Wrong
The examples in this article demonstrate what can happen when attention to detail,  presentation or judgment becomes hazy during the creative process.

Some of the logo designs are outright funny, while others make you scratch your head and say, “What happened?”

The truth of the matter is that logo design is done by humans, and humans can make mistakes. Being a professional graphic designer doesn’t mean you’ll be immune to mistakes, but being a professional means you can keep them at a minimum.

The following examples show some weaknesses in execution and concept. But as it is in all things art, this is entirely open for debate.

Instituto de Estudos Orientais
temple-and-sun1 This is a logo created for the Institute of Oriental Studies in Brazil. The first time you view this logo, your mind will probably be struggling to decode and process what you see.

This is a classic example of how a perfectly legitimate idea for a logo, in this case an Asian pagoda in front of a rising sun, can turn into a nightmare or hilarious mistake because the design wasn’t carefully critiqued.

This logo has become somewhat of a legend on the Internet. The site where this logo was discovered is currently “under construction.” Our guess is that it probably crashed due to the overload of sudden traffic on the website.

To understand what happened in the design of this logo, view the individual parts:
final-pogoda-and-sun

After seeing the logo elements separately, it sort of makes sense why this mistake happened. The mind gets attuned to what it wants to see, not necessarily what really appears.
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http://www.london2012.com/
london-olympics1.
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The next Summer Olympics takes place in London, 2012. The logo for this special occasion is baffling to many people in graphic design.

If it is supposed to depict the Summer Olympics, why are the elements so disconnected from the theme?
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Remove the text from the graphic and it resembles Asian calligraphy or pieces of a puzzle rather than a clear symbol representing the Olympic Games:

olympics-london-no-text
This logo for the summer Olympic Games has drawn some controversy. Some find the logo entirely lacking as far as proper design elements, while others see it as a bold departure from traditional design.

The bottom line will probably be this: Is the logo marketable?
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http://www.sherwin-williams.com/
sherwin-williams
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The logo for Sherwin-Williams paints is unpleasant at best and quite scary at worst. The concept behind the logo is to depict its products as covering the world’s needs for paint.

But the use of the Earth-graphic with red liquid oozing over the surface seems to send an unintentional message that may be subliminally disturbing.

The flowing viscous liquid motif is usually used in connection with horror movies, detective novels, or science-fiction stories.
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This logo is an example of how popular icons in a logo’s design can be deadly, so to speak, if used improperly.

If the Sherwin-Williams paint logo makes you feel uneasy, it is probably due to the how this sort of graphic has traditionally been used:

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blood

Next Time…
We’ll show three more examples of logo designs that may have missed the mark and hopefully, they will give you enough ideas on what not to do on your next projects. ;)

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One Comment

  1. sarah A.
    Posted February 28, 2011 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    that series is really helpful & gorgeous:D tnnnx^^^^

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