Smart Companies with Stupid Logos

By December 30, 2015Branding, Design, Logos

Stupid Logo

Some companies go boldly about their business despite having an embarrassingly bad logo, like the investment bank that looks like a fast food restaurant or the law firm that looks like a feminine hygiene product. You have to wonder, do they not know how ridiculous they look? Or do they know, but just not care?

Back before business migrated online and our attention spans shrank to nanoseconds, snap judgments based on appearance were perhaps a little less likely. But now, an ugly, outdated or inappropriate company logo makes many people mentally swipe left.

A stupid logo is a business liability. Gone are the days when business was conducted by referrals and handshakes and it didn’t matter if your logo looked like wet noodles shaped into company initials. Now more than ever, the company logo is the foundation for persuasive communications. It affects how everyone feels about your company, external and internal: from new business prospects to prospective hires, sales teams, acquisition targets, buyers, and on and on.

The fastest way to improve your company’s competitive performance is to improve your image, starting with your logo. That signals confidence to your team, competence to your prospects, and leadership to your industry.

8 ways to tell if your company has a stupid logo:

  1. Was it created by a professional designer?
    Or an intern? Or someone’s roommate? Or the printing company? Does anyone even know where it came from? Our favorite stupid logo origin story was the one drawn by a neighbor of Charles Schulz, the Peanuts guy. Was it coincidence that the logo letterforms looked like Snoopy’s nose? We don’t think so.
  2. How much did it cost?
    Free? In trade? $100 to the Eastern European winner of an online logo contest? Stupid logos can be expensive, but often they’re cheap and look it.
  3. Is it a startup logo?
    See #1. Also add: art student, founder’s girlfriend’s cousin. Startup logos should be replaced or upgraded quickly unless you’ve got unlimited funding, distracted investors and no competitors.
  4. Does your company logo look appropriate for your industry?
    Or would it look better on a garbage truck, household cleaner, porta potty or perfume bottle?
  5. Do you ever feel embarrassed handing out your business card?
    Or do you “forget” to carry business cards with you?
  6. Does your company logo make you feel old or insecure?
  7. Are you secretly envious of a competitor’s logo?
    Do other companies in your industry look stronger, more dynamic, or just better?
  8. Have you ever had the urge to apologize for your company’s image?

You can handle the truth. It’s never too late. Smart companies don’t let stupid logos drive them into the ground.