13 Famous Logo Fails (And How to Avoid Making the Same Mistakes)

logo fails

A failed logo cost one company $35 million dollars. Designing the right logo the first time will save you time and money. To successfully design a logo, there are some key things to remember.

These 13 logo fails will teach you what not to do when designing your company’s logo.

The companies on this list decided their logos needed an update. Sadly they forgot the rules and ended up with logo fails.

1. Tropicana

In 2009, Pepsico tried to bring Tropicana into the modern age with a new logo and rebrand. Except people hated it. The company aimed for modern and succeeded in making Tropicana look cheap.

Don’t change your logo, packaging, message, and font all at the same time. People will struggle to recognize your brand and product.

Don’t underestimate the emotional investment people have with your brand. This tops the logo fails on this list, causing Pepsico to lose $35 million.

2. Pepsi

Don’t overpay for logo services. Pepsi paid one million dollars to have an agency change the shape of the swoop on their logo. There is a serious debate as to whether or not the large investment was necessary.

Without looking at the old and new logo next to each other, you wouldn’t notice the change. Tropicana’s change was too sudden and drastic, Pepsi’s was too subtle.

3. Syfy

Syfy used to be known as scifi. Problem was, they couldn’t own their name. So a change had to be made. The lesson here is to always do your research before you choose a name.

Unfortunately, Syfy didn’t do their’s, or just didn’t care. In many parts of the world, syfy is slang for syphilis. So the TV network will always be associated with an STD.

4. London 2012 Olympics

Make sure your logo represents your brand and company. The logo for the 2012 Olympics confused people. The logo was urban, young, and angular.

The logo wasn’t representative of the Olympics or London. Many people spent time trying to find further imagery and meaning in the logo. Don’t pick a logo people find confusing.

5. RadioShack/TheShack

Would you want to buy your high-quality electronics from a shack? Me neither. RadioShack had the right idea by wanting to rebrand into a more modern company.

They are competing with the likes of Apple and Amazon. Unfortunately, they were too focused on branding themselves TheShack, to match Shaquille O’Neal “Shaq.”

Take a lesson from RadioShack and ask an outside party their thoughts. They will have a different point of view. They can point out things you are too close to see.

6. Comcast/Xfinity

Reputation is everything. Customer reviews can make or break a company. Comcast thought they would be slick and change their name and logo.

The problem was the company didn’t make any other changes. The bad reputation from Comcast followed Xfinity. If you want to change your reputation, you have to change more than your name and logo.

7. The Gap

Gap shrunk their iconic large blue square and customers hated it. Within 6 days the square was back to its original size.

When you realize the logo you’ve chosen isn’t working, act fast. A logo may fail despite the best of intentions. If your logo fails, act fast to fix it.

8. BP

In 2000, BP decided to update their 70-year-old design. The problem was the only thing retained from their old logo was the color palette. It was smart of them to keep the colors.

They succeeded in making their logo take up a larger, awkward footprint.

9. Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn needed an update, so they took their logo and simplified it. The problem is their logo is only a few years old and already looks old again.

If you are going to update your logo, don’t go for super trendy. You will end up having to update your logo every few years.

This will cause your customers to constantly have to learn your new logo. You will lose brand recognition, something you don’t want to do.

10. Kraft Foods

In 2009 Kraft Foods thought they would redesign their logo. Within six months they reverted back to their original logo.

Their first sin was to use an overused, generic font. A font that is universally disliked by the graphic design world.

The rest of the logo was bland, generic, and not related to the company in any way. The company seemed to just wing it and pick a free generic logo template.

Don’t just wing it. Put some thought into your logo.

11. Microsoft

Microsoft rebranded their whole family of brands, and at least they succeeded in creating a cohesive look across all brands. The problem is they went boring.

Unfortunately, one of the rebranding proposals was leaked, and when you see what they could have chosen, it makes their actual choice look quite boring.

Andrew Kim brought Microsoft into modern times while still keeping true to their roots. Unfortunately, Microsoft wasn’t ready to be that cool.

12. Royal Mail

Royal Mail was the UK’s largest mail carrier. In 2001, they decided to change their name to Consignia and create a new logo. No one knew what the new name meant.

In terms of the dictionary, the name fits perfectly. In terms of people, it’s too long, fussy, and hard to say. After about a year the company went back to Royal Mail and everyone was happy again.

13. Cardiff City

The Premier League football team are the Bluebirds. Their original logo made sense. They are the Bluebirds, their logo was blue, with a bluebird on it.

When they got a new owner, he decided to change things up. The logo is now red with a big dragon. They are still the bluebirds though.

The lesson here is to not let one person control. This should be a group effort. Sometimes you need someone to speak up and say, this idea doesn’t make sense.

Design Your Logo

You’ve learned what not to do with these epic logo fails. Go create your logo! You don’t have to spend a fortune. Get an outside opinion when you think you’re done. Embrace change, but don’t go for broke and change everything.

Protect your logo by trademarking it, read our blog to learn how.