I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why there are so many bad logos out there, but one or more of the following has to be true of any badly designed logo:
1. It was conceived by the marketing department
2. It was designed by “committee”, meaning a consensus of several corporate members
3. It was designed by the CEO
4. It was designed by a non-pro, possibly a relative of the CEO
In my career, I’ve worked at or closely with over a dozen ad agencies and several design firms. In all cases, I’ve seen concepts dreamed up by people at corporations and small businesses alike. I’ve sat in conference rooms where these concepts were discussed, presented, and revamped countless times.
In all cases, the client had the last word. And that’s completely understandable, given that it’s their money spent on the design. And in almost all cases, the client felt they had the first—and best—word. Not understandable.
I have many stories about dealing with clients’ logos and other designs. One of my first experiences had the client insisting his logo be green because it was his wife’s favorite color. All professional designers have war stories like this.
99.999% of clients are not designers. People who have an ability to design go to design school to become good designers, learning what works in a good design and what does not work in a bad one. One is inventive, the other hokey. One makes you think, the other tries too hard to explain.
A good logo is a simple design. It says what needs to be said eloquently, without the frills added to explain it to a second-grader.
In the example above left, the design is playful. I get that, but it isn’t elite. And if that’s supposed to be a bow and arrow (ref. Cupid), the arrow is pointing the wrong way. It’s cute at best. The example at right has an image of a glove in it that’s completely unnecessary. Somebody thought it was cute.
The amount of money spent on logo design is not the issue. I’ve seen thousands of dollars thrown at already bad designs only to have them look worse. The latitude given to professional designers and design studios to conceive first and foremost is the issue.
I’ll have more installments about logo design in the near future.