A blog about life, language, writing, and other trivia.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad Corporate Logos (And Ethos)

Not long after I graduated college, I started an asphalt sealing and striping company with a friend of mine. Neither of us knew much about it at the time. What we knew even less about was good design. We wanted a logo to go with "Permaseal," the name of our little startup. Between the two of us we came up with a seal (go figure) balancing an umbrella on its nose. Obviously, we were trying to convey a sense of impermeability. And cuteness, apparently. But why we needed the umbrella at all is beyond me: isn't sealskin protective enough?

Deluded as we were--oh, that's nice; yeah, looks great!--we somehow had the sense to ask a friend (and business major) for his vision. Here's what he came up with:
As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the right choice, and we just as instantly realized how utterly misguided our own efforts had been. The black and yellow are authoritatively "construction company," and the bold font and checkerboard pattern are simple but strong: We don't give or take bullshit, and we're not going to stop for a mocha on our way to making your driveway blacker than Dick Cheney's heart. There's almost no room for misinterpretation.

We were lucky: we axed our crappy logo before anybody but the two of us saw it. Not everyone can say that. In fact, there is at least one logo out there that defies rational explanation (but I'm betting there are many more). What on God's green earth were they thinking with this one? Clearly, it wasn't about God's green earth. This famous paint company logo has to be the most misguided, utterly clueless, hopelessly off-target logo I have ever seen. It's almost as if they didn't even hire a professional (or at least a stoned intern) to design it. Unless, of course, that professional is Montgomery Burns, and his plan is to literally coat the globe with a life-choking coat of red, eerily blood-like paint.

So, my challenge is this: can you find a more asinine corporate logo than the one belonging to this paint company? It'll be hard, not unlike the 50-mile thick layer of paint some apparently want to see crusted over the polar ice caps.

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At 9:35 AM, Blogger Meagan said...

A few years back, I had a friend that worked for Sherwin Williams-- I recall her telling me that there was a point in time where the company changed their logo for just the reasons you mention, but the change didn't last long. Brand recognition won out. I wonder what the revised (and later scrapped) logo was, anyway.


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