When companies redesign logos, they often embrace design trends. Capital One did just that, except they embraced a trend that ended ten years ago

As the economy crumbled around our ears in 2008, many major corporations re-branded in order to reinvent themselves and convince someone, anyone, to purchase their services or products. Over the past year we’ve seen new logos trotted out for Xerox, Anheuser-Busch, Wal-Mart and Best Buy to name but a few. Some have been successful. Others, not so much. The worst logo redesign of the year has to go the new workup for Capital One – a makeover that displayed such a lack of imagination, understanding and branding that it defies description. The major banking player, who are practically giddy over their new logo are completely unaware that the new design is all sorts of nasty. Sure, this kind of swooshy logo may have been all internetty and forward-thinking circa 1998, but at the beginning of 2008, this certainly qualifies for the ‘WTF Were They Thinking?” department. This new brand was forty miles of rough design road and dated long before its official roll-out late Feb. Internally, the new logo is referred to as the boomerang, and was, apparently, selected by the CEO from a wide range of choices. Looks like a design that could have been peeled from one of those $50 logo template sites, missing this particular design trend by oh, eight or nine years.

We get it folks – you have a web site. The bastard son of a Nike logo doesn’t make that point any the logo an improvement over the old logo (above)? No. In fact, it’s step backwards. About ten years worth of backwards, when swoosh logos were all the rage. See, here’s the thing. Financial logos are supposed to be conservative. Indicate trust and reliability. Not some dopey internet design trend that’s been done since Y2K. And a boomerang as an icon for a bank? Don’t think so. It’s not like the swoosh, as inadvisable as the addition is, was even crafted into the new design. Nope, just dumped behind the original font. With a gradient thrown in for good measure. And what’s that? A bevel too? Worst makeover of 2008. new-pepsi-logo-redesign

Dishonorable mention.

And as we’re talking about logos redesigns, and the worst of same, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the new logo for Pepsi that, if we had a runner-up for worst logo re-design, would win hands down. In order to jack up sales in a decreasing marketplace, Pepsi Co. decided to treat their beautifully simple wave icon with a trip to the distortion filter. Ended up with a design that looks something between a smiling whale, and a drunken cartoon character. The new logo is part of a 1.2 billion (yes, billion) dollar brand shake-up.

We could go on, but as the good folks over at Under Consideration have spent the time and effort to list the best and worst logo makeovers of 2008, we’ll just send you there. They also take a look at the Pepsi (and Mountain Dew) rebrands here.