Logos: What Makes a Good Design? - Part II

good-logos-bad-logos-signThe Logo Journey Continues
In our last article, we examined several logo designs that were, by most conventional standards, unsuccessful. Your art education is a continuing process and understanding the basics of graphic design can help you to be more effective in creativity and to avoid mistakes.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll take a look at concepts that aren’t necessarily bad, but have missed hitting the target. We’ll investigate these logo designs and see what could have been done to improve them.
And now, let’s bring on the logos:


When Max was 9 years-old, he scribbled a logo on a piece of paper. It was a design for an imaginary company he made up. It formed the word “Zedomax” and was done in a very stylized way. If you use your imagination, it almost looks like a mountain range or peak.

When Max grew up and started a website named Zedomax, he decided that his old scribble would be an excellent basis for the company logo.

Here’s the original logo produced by Max when he was just a kid:
Is it bad logo design or a cool way to incorporate the name “Zedomax” into an interesting form? The idea is actually a good one, but perhaps the logo could have been less stylized and a little more readable.

But in a way, the logo fits the website and the character of its editor/writer. It’s a fun website full of articles on “how to” projects, DIY articles, stories about gadgets, science, toys and lots of neat stuff. I like the website. The logo? I can live with it.

sunkist-logoSunkist is a company that has made its reputation for producing fresh fruit products, juices, and soft drinks.

The brand labeling for its fruit products is pretty straightforward. The name “Sunkist” is emblazoned upon the package, usually with a photo of fruit behind the easy to read Sunkist font.

When Sunkist decided to remake its logo for its soft drinks, the type was stylized so much that the logo seemed to read “Sinkist.” The fault was in the design of the font. The “u” and the “n” run into each other and seem to form the letter “i.”

Many companies try to incorporate a distinctive font into their logos. Some work, some do not. But in the case of the Sunkist soft drink logo, the graphic designers who created it may have to confess their “sins” as in “Sinkist.”
animal-planet-logoAnimal Planet is a Discovery Channel television show. It features everything an animal fan could wish for.

Animal lovers are typically warm and fuzzy types that enjoy the world around them. The new logo that was designed for the television show seems to go in the opposite direction– it’s stodgier and less friendly.

In this iteration, it’s about as warm and fuzzy as a cold winter’s day. The design is totally made up of text, which isn’t necessarily wrong — the logo seems to fail in its concept – animal planet.

Where are the animals? Where is the planet? It is understood that the people behind this logo probably wanted to mature the image of Animal Planet, but the direction they took is questionable.

Consider the original logo for Animal Planet:
Yes, it’s a bit too literal, but it did put the message across.

What We’ve Learned So Far
Learning from your mistakes is good, but learning from the mistakes of others can be better because it can save you a lot of heartache and wasted effort in trying to reinvent the wheel.

The examples we’ve seen so far are flawed in their design, but they have served as our teachers. So in the long run, we can be grateful that we have learned some valuable lessons. While education through observation is an important element in understanding design, your graphic design education can also be advanced through classes at a graphic design college or online learning center.

Next Week…
We’ll pick some logo designs that represent some of the best out there. Also, we’ll have a special surprise for next week. Stay tuned for more information!

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  1. Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    These series make for great reading… can’t wait for the breakdown of the next ones (the successful logos).

  2. admin
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mary,
    Thanks for the kind words. We really had a fun time tracking down these logos. Next week’s examples should be fun too!
    Take care and thanks for dropping by. :D

  3. mompati
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    i like the way you emphasis the fact of criticism in all the posts,,,,thanks for your super comments thyey help us move on the world of creativity

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