We take a look back at some unfinished stories from our legacy blog and correct the record.
As part of our site update and redesign a while back, we had to move our blog from it’s old place (you can find it in the links at right under “archived posts”) and put it here. That meant culling over ten years worth of news, opinions, tutorials and what-not, updating them to the new format and generally cleaning stuff up. It’s been a low priority and ongoing effort (that’s just about getting done now) but required some ruthless editing. Some of our older drivel posts, we deleted. Others we’ve left where they are, until we figure out what to do with them. Trouble is many of the posts that were interesting enough to move over and clean up for the new format, are also historical in nature, so I was editing news pieces that were years old as if they were current. Unless we do a follow up, the piece remains unfinished, and if there’s changes or updates, they might not get written about. People often grumble that when a newspaper gets a page one story wrong, the retraction is printed on page 50. We don’t want to be like that, so we’re going to revisit some of the bigger and more interesting stories and update them over a few posts. Ready? Let’s begin.
Dumb logos update.
I’ve grumbled about a lot of bad logos over the years, but there’s two in particular that always stood out as my particularly dumb favorites. The first, Hip Hop for HIV (2008) was among the worst – check that, it was the worst. Sure, it was a worthy cause and all, but the brand identity for the (now) annual event was awful, earning it the “worst logo of 2008” honors. Seems event coordinators continued using the blood splattered mess for a couple of years after that but at some point the design was streamlined, and the Dexter-esque blood splatter removed. Still not sure about the blood red color mind you, and it’s weird they lost the red ribbon that tied “HIP” and “HOP” together visually, but still, a more appropriate design for the subject matter. No longer a dumb logo. Still not great.
Then there was the “sperm shoes” logo (it’s true.) Anyone remember that unmitigated disaster? The logo – a definite reference to swimming tadpoles, hit the media back in 2011 when catalog stores and online sites refused to carry the Gravity Defyer shoes because of what everyone thought the logo looked like. That didn’t come as a surprise to company owners who doubled down – saying that was exactly what the logo was supposed to look like. That doubling down didn’t last too long though, and the company quietly rebranded with a much more consumer friendly brand mark.Apparently the shoes turned out to be excellent and if the company’s website is any indication, they’ve really taken off.
The name’s still dumb but the logo is less so, and we can safely scratch the name “sperm shoes” from our vernacular.
Capital One. Still dumb.
Back when Capital One Bank changed their nice wordmark into what I referred to at the time as “a bastard son of Nike” swoosh logo, it earned one of the top spots in dumb redesign hall-of-famers. Here’s the change when it originally went down:
The logo embraced a “swoosh” phenomenon that had died on the vine at least ten years prior – it was a “lemming thing” – and there was no rhyme or reason to why the ‘O’ didn’t have a hole in it. And did we mention the bevel? Anyhoo, here’s the logo today: Still dumb after all these years, though the bevel seems to have become less of a “must have” to more of a “put in on the logo if you feel like it.” If that’s the case, the logo is slightly less dumb. About 5% give or take.
Marketing, ahm, cock-up?
One of the biggest fear a designer (and one supposes, their clients) have is that a new logo gets interpreted as a sex organ. Don’t laugh – it happens all the time. Anyhoo, a few years back, a fried chicken joint in Wales called Dirty Bird ended up getting oodles and oodles of buzz over their logo that looked like.. ahm, don’t know how to say it politely, but you can probably figure it out all on yer own.Now when I say a lot of buzz, I mean a lot. Newspapers, websites, blogs and TV. The owners oscillated back-and-forth between admitting they meant it to look like what it does, to claiming they had no idea that people could possibly see naughty overtures in their cocky design. It got so weird that some websites started flagging the logo as “adult content” and you had to click on a box testifying that you were of age, just to see the damn thing (though if anything, the line of type that issued the “adult warning” just made matters worse.) It was the stuff of Internet legends, a massive marketing opportunity for a small upstart outfit in Cardiff to make big, big bank, so figured I’d look ’em up to see what’s what. Lo and behold, looks like they actually have a website now (they didn’t at the time.) Good start. According to their website they’re selling T-shirts. Excellent. When you click on the buy a T-shirt link you get this:Not exactly striking while the iron is hot, guys. Your boat sailed three years ago.