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The world’s most disastrous logo re-brands


The key to creating a successful and sustainable business is to turn it into an instantly recognizable brand. This means that potential customers will recognize its name and packaging and come to associate that with quality products they can trust, and this in turn leads to increased sales. Having a strong logo is an essential component of brand building, but many businesses feel that refreshing, updating or changing logos from time to time can help to increase interest in a brand and its visibility. This re-branding has to be done carefully and expertly or else corporate disaster can ensue, as these examples show:

1. GAP
GAP has been a leading clothing brand for nearly half a century, and one of the things it’s most recognizable for is its simple yet striking logo, with its three capitalized letters sitting within a dark blue square background. In 2010, they decided to freshen up their logo by doing away with the capitalization and moving the blue square to a remote corner of the letter ‘p’. It not only lost the visual impact; it also alienated its core customers; they wanted their clothing to be associated with something cool, but now found their favorite brand represented by something far from accomplished. There was a social media outcry and GAP were forced to revert to their old logo after just one week.

2. Leeds United
Leeds United were one of England’s most successful soccer clubs in the last three decades of the twentieth century, with supporters all over the world and a string of trophies to their name. Unfortunately, the twenty-first century was less kind to the team from Yorkshire’s biggest city, and in 2018, a new board decided that a new club badge could be a step towards changing their fortunes again. It didn’t go as they had hoped. The new badge showed a man’s torso thumping his chest with the words ‘Leeds United’ in big type above it. The badge was widely ridiculed across social media and fans soon pointed out that the image looked fascist and that the whole thing was crude and redolent of something from a video game. Breaking GAP’s record by six days, this new logo was dumped within a day of it being announced.

3. Airbnb
Perhaps one of the most notorious logo re-brands in recent years was made by Airbnb, the company which allows homeowners with spare rooms to rent them out to holidaymakers. They had a perfectly fine brand based upon blue outlined lettering but decided that as their company had expanded hugely in recent years, they needed a new stylish and meaningful logo. After much deliberation, they decided to use the ‘belo’, an ancient symbol which is said to represent belonging. Alas, nobody at the company noticed that this sign looks very much look a stylized representation of male genitalia. Crowds of social media users were happy to point this out to the company after its launch, and it’s been attracting widespread mockery and schoolboy giggles ever since.

4. Cleveland Browns
We return to the sporting arena to look at the strange case of the new Cleveland Browns logo. In February 2015, feeling that their old logo was looking a little tired, the NFL team spent a significant amount of time and money creating a new design that, well, looked exactly the same as the previous one. The only discernible difference is that the helmet is now a slightly brighter shade of orange, with a brown guard instead of a silver one. Fans were less than impressed and left wishing that the money spent on the pointless revamp had been invested in their team instead.

5. Pizza Hut
Since 1958, Pizza Hut has grown from a single restaurant in Wichita, Kansas to a globally loved chain with more than 13,000 restaurants. It’s famous for its tasty pizzas, of course, but also for its uniquely distinctive house-shaped logo resplendent in colors of red, yellow, and green. These colors created a sunny, Mediterranean feel, which perfectly matched the food the chain offers, but in 2014, they changed to a predominantly red design that has a rather abstract feel to it. This one act changed the logo from exciting to bland, which wasn’t the best way to launch a new menu. On April 1 2008, the company made an even bolder re-branding move by changing their name to ‘Pasta Hut’ and announcing a move away from pizza to other Italian food. Pizza lovers were in uproar, particularly as many of them failed to spot that it was an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke.

6. MySpace
We all remember MySpace, right? It seems not. In a salutary lesson for the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, this was for many years the social media giant of choice, with around 76 million registered users. Between 2004 and 2009, it was officially the world’s most visited social network, and at one point had more visitors per day than Google, but the arrival of Facebook saw its popularity plummet. The only surprising thing to most people today is that MySpace is actually still struggling on rather than being consigned to the ashes of history. A new logo was announced to try to recapture the public imagination, with the word ‘My’ followed by a literal space. It seems a futile change, however, and a case of too little, far too late.
Logo changes can transform the fortunes of a business in a positive manner, but MySpace waited too long before making a change that could have reversed their fortunes. As we’ve seen, others in the world of business and sport simply created logos that backfired by being too simplistic or not connected to their heritage and fan base. Choosing a new logo is one of the most important things a business can do, whether it’s a startup enterprise or a multinational organization. By selecting expert help from the internet, DIY logo sports logos or corporate logos can build or strengthen a brand and increase customer loyalty.

Think carefully before launching a logo and talk to potential or existing customers before making a final decision; in this way, you can have a logo delight instead of a logo disaster.



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