When a company decides to completely rebrand itself, it often comes from a place of hope or desperation.
A failing company might scramble to dispel negative feelings associated with its current look. Or a company that thinks it could be doing better in its market might try to refresh itself for a wider consumer base.
And of course, sometimes executives make horrible decisions for seemingly no reason.
Bad logo changes can alienate the brand’s loyal consumers and confuse potential ones.
In 2013, there were plenty of these bad rebranding decisions to choose from.
This isn't an endorsement of retailer JCPenney's former logo, but rather a denunciation of the company's three-year-long rebranding nightmare. In 2011, a mildly different logo was supposed to spark a revolution, and then in 2012, the stores re-opened with an entirely new, square logo and an attempt at a hipper feel. After losing almost a billion dollars, the company made lots of personnel changes, reverted to its pre-2011 logo, and issued an apologetic commercial in April that may have been the brand's swan song (note that the video used an entirely different logo).
In September, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled her company's logo after 29 days of fun but rejected logos. The new logo, with its weird chisel-effect, isn't necessarily awful, but it just seemed so much worse after a month of hype. And then Marissa Mayer explained that she co-created it with the company's design team using Adobe Illustrator. As she put it:
'I'm not a pro, but I know enough to be dangerous :)'
Internet radio service Pandora updated its look in preparation for a bigger online presence. The new look is certainly bolder, but when viewed on screens and combined with its ugly app icons, it looks bland and boring.
The vintage bulls-eye logo for cigarette brand Lucky Strike looked as good 100 years ago as it did today, but for some reason the company's German branch decided to throw dated shading techniques all over it. As a reviewer on the branding blog Under Consideration said, 'Well, this blows, doesn't it?'
Billboard, the music industry magazine famous for its sales charts, relaunched its print publication in January with a new logo. Some in the design community loved the bold font and strong colours, but we just find it clunky.
The Vitamin Shoppe logo, while highly recognisable, could have understandably used an update. But its new incarnation is focused on such a bright yellow that the interiors of its rebranded stores are blinding.
Radio Shack's logo was easily recognisable in malls across America, but the electronics store decided to update its brand to compete with online retailers and hipper destinations like the Apple Store. They stuck with an R in a circle and made it a little fatter, which may have worked despite being unnecessary. What is really questionable is the God-awful colour scheme they settled on.
The Shopping Channel, which is like a Canadian QVC, had a decent, modern logo. But it decided to 'update' it with a horrible assault of purple and tacky gradients.
Ernst & Young is a professional services firm considered one of the 'Big Four' in the accounting industry. But its rebranding as 'EY,' with 'cool' new offices and a bright logo makes it look like some offbeat ad agency or tech startup.
Before its merger with U.S. Airways, American Airlines was bankrupt and stuck with a fleet of old planes. So it decided that changing its iconic logo from 1968 could help breathe new life into the brand.
To the airline's credit, part of the rebranding included a much-improved website and mobile app experience, but the new logo falls flat. The red, white, and blue slash with a hint of an eagle head doesn't carry much weight on a phone's screen, let alone on a large scale. The redesign came with white and red stripes on some planes' tail fins, which are so ugly that the company's new CEO Doug Parker has asked employees to vote on whether the change should stay.
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