Looking for a great way to waste your company’s time and money? A really fast way to blow a lot of cash and human capital is to ignore best practices and learn how to design a bad logo.
No seriously, you can blow through tons of cash, consume many hundreds of man hours and come away with something so hideous, so unidentifiably mundane, so singularly uncommunicative, you be hugely successful in the endeavour.
Of course, you might lose your job and blow your reputation, but hey— you’ll have a lot of fun!
Here’s where you begin.
1. Completely Ignore the Purpose of The Company
This is one of the fundamental aspects of designing a bad logo. You must make sure anyone viewing the logo comes away with no idea whatsoever of what the company does, offers, or how it does it. If you can successfully avoid communicating anything at all about the company, you’ll have mastered the first step. Let’s move on to step two.
2. Make it as Forgettable as Possible
OK, so you want to come up with something so bland, so mundane, so benign it literally erases itself from the memory of the viewer. Like the “Neuralyzer” Will Smith uses in the Men In Black movies, your logo should be capable of inciting amnesia when viewed. To do this, make it soft rather than crisp; then infuse it with confusion, murkiness, over complexity and our personal favorite, zero recognition value.
3. Give it No Visual Appeal — Whatsoever
Viewers should recoil in disgust at the very sight of it. Hot pinks, bold yellows, pale magentas work well for this purpose. Look through your color files and choose the most jarringly un-complementary hues you can find (this part is key) and combine them. If you feel a gag reflex the first time you see these colors together, you’re definitely on the right track. Ignore any suggestions offered by your logo generator—it’s trying to do achieve the exact opposite effect. Next, you want to endow your creation with poor spacing between the text and the overabundance of symbols to create disturbing textures. The more complicated you can make it by combining ideas that don’t fit, the better off you’ll be.
4. Frilly Fonts Work Best — The More the Better
When you’re choosing a type style, don’t settle for just one. Uncoordinated font choices are a key attribute of the bad logo—employ them liberally. Go through your list of fonts, select all the frilliest ones you can find and use every one of them in the logo. For the best effect, employ a different font to form each individual letter in the logo. You’re going for an effect like that of a ransom note. The busier you can make it, the more horrible it will be. If the eye can find a place to land and rest, get rid of that element and replace it with something more disturbing. A particularly useful technique is to combine cursive letters will small upper- and lowercase letters in random patterns. Also, wherever possible, make a letter blend into one of the other design elements of the logo. Oh, by the way; it’s always good to throw in some misspellings just for good measure.
5. Employ Irrelevant Symbols
If your company sells electronics, use water in your logo. If you sell airplane parts, go with something like a Conestoga wagon. In other words, whatever your company does, use a diametrically opposed symbol. Here though, you must be cautious. If you make it somehow ironic, you might come up with something clever and memorable—which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Be careful to avoid venturing into anything that could be considered even remotely creative. Another great way to go is with something so abstract the viewer has no frame of reference whatsoever.
So, if you’re truly wondering how to design a bad logo, these five tips will set you well on the path toward outright repulsion. Of course, if your goal is the opposite, simply do the reverse and you’ll have well-crafted logo that communicates well for your company.
But why on earth would you ever want to do that?