Your Logo is Stupid. Love, Chad

By Chad Gordon | July 30, 2014

Stupid Logo

Yes, your logo is stupid. And the fact that it is ugly isn’t what is making it stupid. It’s stupid because it gives me no sense of what you do, how you do it and why you do it. And it looks like a million other logos that I forgot about years ago. Did you even know that your logo uses four different typefaces? Do you know how stupid that is? I understand that your 17-year old cousin with an interest in “graphics” did it for you in photoshop during study hall. I admit, he shows some promise but… ahh, who am I kidding, this is just an abomination (and you NEVER design a logo in Photoshop). C’mon, you run a business. At least TRY to look professional. I promise you, it will make a big difference.

Sigh. There are days when I would love to write an identity review like that. Do you know why I won’t?

  1. Because it’s rude. I won’t be that ego-maniacal designer. I hate those kind of designers, actually. They’re stupid.
  2. It’s just my opinion without context. Granted, having been an identity designer for over 20 years and my opinion does carry some weight. But, there are tangible reasons why your logo may not be working for you.

You may be thinking, “Well, Chad, you are a logo designer, of course you are going to give my logo a bad review so you can justify your expensive brand redesign.”

That is not true.

I have written countless brand reviews over the years and many have been ok, even good. I actually love when we land a client that has solid branding in place. Believe it or not, it is actually fun to work with well-designed brands, even in the unlikely event that we didn’t design it (lol). It allows us to shift focus to helping a brand grow, and we aren’t fighting a bad logo the entire time. Even if your logo needs some help, it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Sometimes just a tweak will do. Or your brand standards might need to be updated to infuse some life into your brand – a secondary color palette or an image strategy.

My gut feel does play a role when writing a review. But it plays a small role. There is a long list of criteria that I use to formulate a review. Here are a few:

What is it:

The first impression anyone ever gets when looking at your logo. What do you do? Can I tell what you do just by looking at the logo? I’m not saying it is always necessary to know exactly what you do, but there should be some inclination as to what industry you are in. If not, is there a tagline or describer line that supports the logo? This is an oversimplified explanation; but If I can’t at least get a sense of what you do by the name, logo or tagline, you have some problems.

Who is your audience:

Does the tone of your logo reflect the desires of your audience? I’ve seen so many logos that do not connect in any way with the audience it’s appealing to.

Who are you:

Does your logo accurately reflect who you are as a company? Does it capture your company’s personality? Culture? Does it reflect how you do business? It’s all about positioning. Positioning. Positioning.

State of the industry:

What does the competition look like? What are they saying? Do all your competitors use blue lighthouses in their logos? Then why the heck are you using a blue lighthouse too? What makes you different? Are you showing it?

Reproduction:

Can your logo be reproduced with quality at any size? Is it being reproduced consistently? Will you be able to read it on a golf ball? Will it hold its own on a billboard?

Timeliness:

Is your logo dated? Is it too trendy, using fad colors, typefaces or techniques? Will it still be relevant in a year? Five years? Ten years?

These are just a few of the criteria that I look into when reviewing a logo. And some of what I employ to not ever make a stupid logo.

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Author

Chad Gordon

Chad is the Creative Director, overseeing the development of virtually every original design. Chad studied photography in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has a degree in photo illustration from Ohio University. In 1991 he worked with Reuben and Company as a photo assistant before joining designRoom as a designer the following year. Chad has received numerous national awards, has shared in his team’s many Addy Awards, and has had his work published in several international design publications. Chad is experienced in all phases of creative design, including concept development, art direction, photography, typography, print production, and website design. Chad’s specialties are photo illustration and identity development. His unique infrared photography has been shown in numerous galleries around northeast Ohio. He is an avid baseball man, a crafty pitcher with speed and movement on his fastball, and played on championship teams in the Roy Hobbs League.

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