Branding Agency; Design, Communications, Web

Seven Types of Branding Horrors for Hallowe’en

SCREEEEAM!!! We love Hallowe’en at InnerVisions ID so we thought we’d do another themed post this year about horror-inducing branding (last year’s was about how not to be a nightmare client).

Having children is the BEST excuse to dress up, go ‘Trick or Treating’, scoff too many sweets (to save the kids from over-indulging of course…*cough*) and anyone who knows me knows how much I love a themed party ūüôā

However, horror is NOT something we want in our corporate identities!

WARNING: Content is not safe for kids or the easily offended. If you are made of sturdier stuff though, dive in…

In researching this article, we came across countless design disasters and horror stories – some famous and some less so. Here are seven branding pitfalls to avoid…

  1. The expensive high-profile mistake

Whilst you are unlikely to be spending billions or even millions on your branding as an entrepreneur, it is still a significant and important investment in your company’s future.

So it’s somewhat reassuring (in a schadenfreude kind of way) to know that even the biggest organisations can get it wrong.

One of the most high-profile recent branding gaffes was for the 2012¬†Olympics – a much-derided¬†logo which got comparisons to Nazi symbolism, but more usually, Lisa Simpson in a compromising position…

London 2012 logo

 

And let’s not forget the GAP debacle of 2010. They launched a $4billion worldwide rebrand which subsequently got ripped to shreds by the design community (largely over the use of the too-common-and-not-very-imaginative Helvetica typeface and the gradient square, being likened to clip art) and GAP customers alike (who rather liked the old one, left).

Gap rebrand before and after imageGAP’s reaction to the backlash made it even worse, where they tried to pretend it was a ‘test’ logo and invited the public to send in their own suggestions, bringing yet more ridicule plus contempt as they were asking for free work.

Within a matter of days, GAP had gone back to its old logo and the marketing director had left the building.

2. The dodgy and highly-inappropriate imagery

Lisa Simpson aside, other brands should have just taken a step back to squint at the image they’d just commissioned.

WHO signed these off?!

For the Catholic Church Archdiocesan Youth Commission…

Catholic Church Archdiocesan Youth Commission Logo

and the Arlington Pediatric Centre…

Arlington Pediatric Center logo

We do have to wonder, is the proliferation of phallic symbolism something to do with the dominance of men in the design industry…?

Market Place and Cafe Logo

I’m kind of glad I have a trackpad instead…

Computer Doctors logo

And who would want their kids to take these dance classes?!

Junior Jazz Dance Classes logo

A pagoda in front of a setting sun for the Brazilian Institute for Oriental Studies. It was hastily…ummm…withdrawn after launch.

Brazilian Institute for Oriental Studies logo

3. The dodgy and highly-inappropriate lettering

Sometimes putting letters together makes unfortunate combinations of shapes. Be sure to look at your logo from all angles (even upside down) and from far away when you have something designed.

More phallic imagery with typography…we can’t help but wonder why no one said anything?!

Dick Busch LogoDoughboys Logo

Anthony Byrne Logo

An interesting interpretation of health promotion…

Bureau of Health Promotion Logo

and another one for a chemist chain in Japan…

Kudawara Logo

This cost the Office of Government Commerce £14,000 in 2008 yet no-one noticed what happened when the logo was rotated until its, er, unveiling.

OGC logo

 

4. Bad typography giving your brand a whole new meaning

These first two need no explaining…oh, except maybe to the designer and the client.

A lesson to properly space and punctuate your brand name…

Kidsexchange shop front logo

And to choose a legible typeface…

Megaflicks Store Front

This was one we were delighted to spot in Dubai last year. We’re not sure if we want lice (or even mice!) in our ice-cream though…

The Lice or Mice Factory logo

 

5. Things getting somewhat lost (or found) in translation

Yes, there are many crazy overseas food brands out there (Pocari Sweat and Soup for Sluts are personal favourites) but I tried to find¬† some slightly more ‘corporate’ examples for you.

This logo (thankfully, now redesigned) is for Locum, a Swedish real estate company. They seem to get¬†really excited by their work…

LOCUM Swedish paper company logo

We were amazed to find out that the classic branding cautionary tale about the Vauxhall NOVA failing to sell in Spanish-speaking countries (“No Va” means “It’s not working”) is actually untrue. Shame!

Vauxhall NOVA car

But the point remains: if you have any intention of taking your brand overseas (and with the internet, why not?), you’d do well to check out its meaning in other languages.

This satellite company had to make the list for a Hallowe’en post. Do you think they only screen scary movies?

SatAn satellite company

 

6. Not checking what your website address spells out…

We have no words…
Therapist.com

For all your pen and pencil needs!

Penisland logo

Say “Cheese!”…

nobrace logo

We’ll leave you to click this one if you dare¬†www.whorepresents.com

There was also a nursery in Australia which really didn’t think things through. Sadly the site,¬†www.molestationnursery.com¬†no longer exists although some wag has preserved it, for hilarity’s sake.

If you enjoyed those, here’s a list which includes more unfortunately-named business websites, many of which are now, of course dead.

Finally…

7. The accidental insult…

Screw the Community

Another one we found all by ourselves. With a thoughtless bit of ‘crossing out’, the intended message actually reads very differently.

Are they really wanting to do that to all their loyal followers?!

Hopefully, we’ve given you a few laughs, but do take heed – if you want to avoid your own branding nightmares,¬†get in touch.

Happy Hallowe’en!

© 2017 InnerVisions ID