10 Logos in Dire Need of an Update

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends
10 Logos in Dire Need of an Update

Not all logo redesigns are a good thing, but sometimes, a change is necessary. So, since we’ve already done an article on companies that updated their logos badly, let’s take a look at the ones who chose not to do it at all.

1. Monster Energy

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Originally designed in 2002, it’s aged about as well as the music of Avril Lavigne. The overall concept is solid: it’s meant to look as if the can was slashed open by a... Yeah. The problem is that the execution—between the gradient shadow inside the logo, the odd border around the name, and especially the motion blur that sometimes appears around it—looks straight out of Photoshop Elements 2.0.

...Not to mention the “Papyrus meets high school notebook drawing” font.

2. Capital One

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Capital One’s old logo wasn’t very visually impressive. It was an odd mixture of serif and sans-serif fonts, in mismatched sizes and bland colors, that neither said anything nor communicated much of an image. But thankfully, with their 2008 redesign, they fixed that with a harmonious new logo that made great use of color and—

Nah they just added a swoosh. A swoosh with a gradient. Problem solved.

3. Samsung

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We understand their reluctance to change this one. Samsung is a titan—the company alone makes up a full fifth of South Korea’s GDP. So their brand is obviously working for them.

But on the other hand, it’s a pretty generic logo. White, Helvetica-bold-ish text on a blue oval? What does it mean?

Well, one Thai newspaper has a theory...

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From “TomTam.. Th”

On the other hand, the Samsung logo has quickly become a household symbol, and we understand that your opinion might be different. Do you think it needs an update? Leave your answer in the comments section below.

4. Jacuzzi

No one thinks of Jacuzzi as a trademark anymore, it’s just what we call hot tubs. Unfortunately, judging by their logo, it seems the company itself’s been neglecting their brand, too. The black and white version of it isn’t terrible...

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Stuck in the mid 20th century, perhaps, but could be much worse. But when you see the color version of it they use for a lot of their marketing material...

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Eesh.

Where do we start with this one? The mass of gradients? The drop shadows? The brushed aluminum filter that inexplicably shows up on some versions of it?

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No matter which way you look at it, this could definitely use some simplification.

5. Pier 1 Imports

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Its investor relations website calls the logo “Iconic,” but also describes itself as “ever-original, ever evolving.”

It’s a bit ironic, since the main reason their logo is iconic is because it hasn't evolved. When Logopedia doesn’t even know how long you’ve had your current logo, just that it dates back to the last century, that’s probably a bad sign. It’s not particularly original, either, being basically a condensed Impact with a stencil effect added.

6. Sherwin Williams

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Sherwin Williams has used the same logo for 110 years, and opinions are divided on whether they should have. “It conjures images of blood,” says Rue Tierney, my frequent co-writer. ”It’s a classic logo, but when you think about it for a second, it’s bizarre.”

However, designer Milton Glaser, creator of the I ❤ NY logo, calls it “One of the most persistent and memorable surrealist images of our time. The image of paint entirely covering the Earth is as powerful as anything Magritte or Dali ever produced.”

However, it’s still possible to keep all the elements of the original while creating a new version that doesn’t make it look like you want to splatter the planet in the remains of your enemies. In 2011, graphic artist Rick Barrack took a stab at creating a new image for the company, with impressive results.

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From Fast Company

7. The Office of Basic Energy Sciences

The BES has a logo, but they don’t feature it on their website, choosing instead to use the logo of the US Department of Energy, of which they’re just a part. I wonder why—

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Oh.

I’m not even sure how to describe this: “psychedelic” would be too easy. First of all, we’re given no clue what the map is even supposed to represent. I assume it’s some kind of heat or topographical map of the Earth, but who’s to know? The three blotches look like cells dividing, but that’s the only sense I can make of it. Not to mention the lack-of-effort Aerial title and slogan, both the same size.

8. PriceRite

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From Yelp

It’s probably telling that there are no high-resolution images of the logo itself online, just user-submitted photos of the stores bearing it.

This rivals Samsung for the blandest entry. This is a logo that simply says “We are a grocery store. What else do you expect from us?” Sure, we appreciate their honesty, but we can’t help but wonder if they could use something with a bit more flair, something more unique?

Well, at least the version used on their website lets us know what country they’re from.

9. Atlus Games

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Japanese roleplaying game godheads Atlus redesigned their logo recently, but honestly, we have to wonder why they even bothered.

For a company that’s known for creating colorful fantasy worlds, their logo communicates exactly none of that. And where the old logo, if dull, at least made sense, the new one’s kerning is downright infuriating.

“I love Atlus games, and they should have a strong logo. But the new one... I just don’t get it,” says Tierney. “If you’re going to do slimmer letters, why wouldn’t you put them closer together?”

10.All of the US’s Spy Satellite Logos

You might have seen the mission logos – which end up as patches on the astronauts’ clothing – that NASA creates for each mission into space.

Turns out the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) does the same thing for their spy satellite launches, but since they’re much less famous, they have much more leeway to put whatever they want on them. That’ why some of them seem like rejected fantasy novel covers...

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Others make very little sense...

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And some are downright ominous.

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Images from Smithsonian Magazine

Yes, we know it’s a bit unfair to include these, since so many of them seem to be in-jokes. In fact, since they were (probably) never intended to be serious, these logos fit their purpose perfectly and should never be changed. But I knew I had to write about them somewhere, and a series of logos this goofy deserves a roast. We know they’ll take it in good fun, and are not currently adding Creative Market’s writers to a watchlist.

Right, guys?

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CSJones
C.S. Jones is a freelance writer, artist, and photographer.\r\n\r\nIn the past, he co-founded an art gallery and worked at a product photography studio. These days, he does photo tutorials (and gigs), online copy, and content marketing for a living. He also writes about webcomics at Webcomicry.com…

13 Comments

  1. erroldynamic

    The Sherwin Williams redesign is terribly uninspired. The flat vector version of Monster is fine. Atlus's old logo was better. Pier1 is super iconic and fine. Samsung is fine even though it doesn't really mean anything, or maybe it means something to Koreans.

  2. JArthurM

    Suggesting that the rainbow version of the Sherwin-Williams logo is somehow better invalidates this whole article... that's a branding nightmare.

  3. Jacquelynn

    Yes to the above comments! "Impressive results" for the Sherwin-Williams redesign? A no to that. I will have nightmares of flying rainbow-gradient polygons now.

  4. zacomic

    Sherwin Williams redesign example is not the best option to say "impressive" I just want to change the red color for green and done. "refreshing" hehehe

  5. aambrose

    I was hoping to get some objective information from this but it just seems to be a bashing of styles, fonts, colors, etc. one person views as amateurish with no offering of a "better" version of their own. Let's see a side by side comparison of your "better" version of each logo. Instead of telling us WHY a logo doesn't work, show us your versions that do. Even then it's still subjective.

    We all have different tastes and these blogs that seem to only dump out negative comments by those who for some reason feel they are more knowledgeable about what works and what doesn't work are disappointing to read. I get the "poking fun" aspect, but some of the banter that goes on about how someone used such-and-such font with such-and-such color and gradient-this with texture-that OMG! *big gasp* just seems a bit sophomoric. Who really cares what combinations were used if it looks pleasing to others? It's like saying, "I can't believe she wore those shoes with that outfit!". Come on! Really? These are internationally known logos that obviously work but just happen to use some styles, colors, and/or fonts one person doesn't like. What kind of schmucks do these huge companies hire to create their big dollar logos anyway? Probably those who only know Photoshop Elements.

  6. kdfcreative

    I'll start by quoting the first sentence in this article, "Not all logo redesigns are a good thing." If a company has a strong brand, and brand equity in it's logo - a logo redesign is likely not the best solution. If there is significant equity in the logo, but it is ugly or dated, a refresh/update to the logo is a better direction. Why would a company like Sherwin Williams throw 110 years of brand recognition out the window, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-brand with a new logo? I almost always recommend a logo refresh/update over a complete redesign for existing companies, unless the existing logo has no brand equity, or if the company is in need of completely revamping it's image.

  7. laurabusche
    • Staff

    @Anthony Ambrose Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We open these spaces precisely so that designers can share their opinions (which will always be subjective, by definition) about topics that affect our industry. Differences make the branding conversation richer, and we're glad to have your perspective here.

  8. bobbyreed1

    Someone somewhere, at some point, must have done an article with side-by-side corporate logo redesigns (subjectively successful and not), and logos that could potentially use a brush-up. Perhaps I'll write one. I love before and after images anyway. That's really the only way to see (and feel) the difference. Paul Rand's IBM still looks fresh as a daisy, at least to me. How old is that one? I also often study the sides of Coca-Cola trucks, and how they treat that mark with slight tweaks. Such fun to talk about this stuff.

  9. Bamberg2015

    I thought this look at dated Logo's was fun, light-hearted and not to be taken too seriously. I enjoyed reading it, laughed at certain parts and smirked to myself at others :-)

  10. motionbutter

    To me, the Sherwin-Williams logo is iconic and timeless. I respectfully disagree with the author's idea that the redesign is a step up. It looks like it was created on Windows 95 and reminds me more of aged tech designs rather than paint.

    As much as I like the trendy look of logos nowadays, many current designer's work for brands will likely fall out of favor. Logos for the Yankees, Time Magazine, etc. were made for brands so they can stand the test of time. They weren't made to satiate the hunger of some young art director to fill their portfolio with more common looking work to post on Behance and Dribbble. All of that will fall out of style, but some logos can last forever despite the changing trends in design – Sherwin-Williams being a prime example of that.

  11. sheilalpatterson

    #7...OMG. Cannot unsee these. I slightly disagree on Samsung though, I think there's enough of a type treatment there for it to be unique and still relevant. Overall, great list. Loved the Capital One comments ;)

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