The 20 Most Controversial Logos of All Time (Ranked)

The 20 Most Controversial Logos of All Time Ranked


Whenever you rent graphic designers to create your organization’s brand, what do you count on? Skilled designs, culturally delicate icons, creativity, and originality do not sound like too large an ask. Sadly, these manufacturers bought greater than they bargained for.

The 20 Most Controversial Logos of All Time (Ranked).

From graphic designer oversights and unprompted rebrands to conspiracy theories and racial overtones, we have seen a number of bizarre, wacky, and downright disastrous logos in current instances. On this rating, we will condense down eight of essentially the most controversial. Let’s get into the checklist.

20) Junior Jazz Dance Courses – When you see it…

Junior Jazz Dance Classes logo
This college of dance is providing greater than Jazz classes (Credit score: Junior Jazz Dance Courses)

This notorious advert is without doubt one of the few on this checklist that got here from a comparatively unknown model, however it’s just too hilarious to not embody.

When you’re one of many fortunate ones who see a pair of high-spirited jazz fanatics performing a energetic dance, we envy you. Examine this brand carefully, nevertheless, and you might simply see one thing else solely. Do not imagine me? Concentrate on the white area between the dancers. When you see it, you may wrestle to look away.

If there have been a dictionary definition for design tunnel imaginative and prescient, this might be the accompanying illustration. The one purpose this is not ranked increased is that Junior Jazz Dance Courses are small-scale in comparison with lots of the different disastrous rebrands on this checklist.

Ah, nicely, not less than this brand probably secured them some publicity. For higher or for worse, it’s going to be burned into our recollections without end.

19) Arlington Pediatric Heart – No elaboration wanted

Arlington Pediatric Center logo
Would you go to the Arlington Pediatric Heart for a routine examination? (Credit score: Arlington Pediatric Heart)

Okay, I’m taking all of it again. Earlier, I mentioned that Junior Jazz Dance Courses’ rebrand was the last word instance of design tunnel imaginative and prescient. Now, I’m recanting that assertion.

When Arlington Pediatric Heart displayed their new brand on public signage again in 2009, it didn’t take lengthy for commuters to level out that their ‘family-friendly’ icon could possibly be taken the incorrect method.

There’s no details about whether or not the corporate nonetheless makes use of the brand immediately, however contemplating each Google search of ‘Arlington Pediatric Heart’ instantly leads you to pictures of the brand, I’m unsure a rebrand might save them.

18) The Institute of Oriental Research – Critically?

Institute of Oriental Studies logo
Does this one really want a caption? (Credit score: The Institute of Oriental Research)

Right here we go once more.

This one is supposed to be a pagoda in entrance of the solar, however most customers see one thing solely totally different. Want I say extra?

The Brazilian College of Santa Catarina shortly realized its mistake and axed the brand earlier than struggling any additional ridicule.

17) Workplace of Authorities Commerce – Please make it cease

OGC logo
The Workplace of Authorities Commerce has a agency grip on the financial system (Credit score: OGC)

The UK’s Workplace of Authorities Commerce spent over £14,000 on its grand brand redesign again in 2008. Shoppers have been fast to level out its shortcomings.

The rebrand appears to be like effective when considered on the regular angle, however rotate the brand 90 levels, and it is a completely totally different story. Add this one to the ‘unintendedly sexual’ class of horrible logos.

The federal government physique stood by its new look, arguing that, whereas the brand could possibly be misinterpreted, it isn’t inappropriate for a company “trying to have a agency grip on Authorities spend”. Interpret that as you want.

The OGC was closed in 2011. Sadly, their newfound hands-on strategy to management did little to avoid wasting them from finances cuts.

16) Hillary Clinton – Hospital: First exit in your proper

Hilary logo

Hillary makes a transfer in the fitting path (Credit score: Hillary for America)

Hillary Clinton’s 2015 marketing campaign brand was alleged to symbolize progress. Sadly, web customers did not see it that method.

Some instructed the ‘purple arrow’ brand was a veiled announcement that Clinton was making an unprecedented shift to the political proper wing. Others merely thought it appeared like instructions to a close-by hospital.

Both method, the brand didn’t do Hillary any favors, with most agreeing the design was something however inspiring.

15) College of California – Emblem design pending

University of California logo
The brand new brand (pictured left) actually captures what makes the College of California distinctive (Credit score: UoC)

The College of California unveiled its new look brand in 2012. Sadly, this one didn’t obtain high marks.

Whether or not you suppose it appears to be like like a bathroom seat or a loading icon (maybe the actual brand merely hasn’t loaded in but), there is no denying this redesign is abysmal.

Admittedly, this brand was solely meant for communications supplies, which means it was by no means really set to interchange the trademark seal. Regardless, it was a lot too late. The college was embarrassed, and the brand was promptly axed.

14) BP – An oil titan goes ‘inexperienced’

BP logo
A brand doesn’t make you any extra eco-friendly, BP (Credit score: British Petroleum)

When British Petroleum spent $200 million on its rebrand again in 2000, customers might barely conceal their laughter.

The redesign was a part of the oil firm’s efforts to seem as an eco-conscious model. However it might take greater than a classy new sun-shaped brand to tug the wool over anybody’s eyes.

BP’s historical past of horrendous local weather disasters is well-storied. From disastrous oil spills to fossil gasoline fiascos, the oil big has been doing its bit to make local weather reversal as difficult as doable for over a century. Solution to go!

With this in thoughts, it appeared virtually destiny that their new ‘inexperienced’ brand would come again to chew them. And it did, with 1000’s creating parodies to mock the model’s efforts. Awful luck, BP.

13) Corsair – Gaming brand or regrettable tattoo?

Corsair Gaming logo
Corsair creates a brand that appears like a tattoo (Credit score: Corsair)

Gaming model Corsair launched its new brand to the general public in 2014, eradicating the popular six flags icon within the course of.

The corporate’s grand new concept featured two curved scimitars joined on the hilt. Sadly, most customers thought the redesign appeared extra like a tattoo than a pair of interlocked swords.

Understandably, Corsair did not publicly acknowledge that the brand carefully resembled a feminine decrease again tattoo. They did, nevertheless, quietly discontinue the design in 2016.

12) The Premier League – Customers roar about axed lion

Premier League logo
Sorry, Premier League. We’d have gotten this one incorrect (Credit score: The Premier League)

Okay, I admit. That is the one redesign on this checklist that did not really occur. However the controversy was real.

The Premier League’s iconic lion has been the model’s much-loved mascot since 1992. Naturally, when passionate followers discovered that the league deliberate to kill the nation’s favourite feline, they responded with livid anger.

After all, everybody was incorrect. The league unveiled its rebrand, and the lion remained entrance and middle. It seems the ‘information’ was faux all alongside. Oops. Terribly sorry concerning the unhealthy publicity. Can I nonetheless get a season ticket for subsequent 12 months?

11) BT – Emblem oversimplification at its worst

BT logo
And the award for ‘least impressed redesign of the last decade’ goes to… (Credit score: BT)

After years of improvement and numerous delays, BT lastly unveiled its monumental new brand again in 2019.

The consequence? A circle with the letters’ BT’ written inside—all one shade. Generic, a lot?

Followers understandably mocked the rebrand, which changed BT’s colourful globe icon.

However let’s take a distinct stance. Maybe BT was really an innovator, paving the way in which for inspiring manufacturers like Elon Musk’s ‘X’ to hop on the one-color brand bandwagon.

Okay, in all probability not. However we’re looking for some type of silver lining right here.

10) P&G – Deliver out the tinfoil hats

P&G logo
P&G fuels the Satanic Panic with their vastly controversial ‘Devil’ brand.

What would an inventory of controversial logos be with out a wholesome dose of conspiracy?

Proctor and Gamble have been ruthlessly attacked for years over their brand design, with some arguing that the picture contained references to the Satan.

Conspirators identified what seemed to be an inverted ‘666’ within the beard of the corporate’s mascot. In addition they argued that the satan’s horns have been seen on the higher and decrease edges of the design.

I am not one to level fingers, particularly on the subject of the Antichrist, however this one appears somewhat tenuous.

Even so, P&G finally eliminated the brand in 1991 amidst the Satanic Panic, changing it with a a lot tougher to misread typographic brand. Phew. Higher luck subsequent time, Devil.

9) eBay – From 90s playfulness to company bore

ebay logo
Easy methods to suck the enjoyable out of a web site in a single easy step (Credit score: eBay)

When eBay gained recognition within the late 90s, a part of the web site’s attraction was its rough-around-the-edges aesthetic. This was a consumer-driven market, in any case. Utilizing the public sale felt enjoyable, if somewhat wild west, and the brand on the time was the perfect advocate for this.

eBay’s rebrand in 2012 launched a brand new, slimmer model of the brand, turning what was as soon as a playful reflection of 90s tradition into a company trademark. The redesign was a painful reminder to early web customers that the enjoyable days of the online have been nicely and really behind them.

Hey, not less than they did not take notes from BT. An all-black eBay brand can be a horrible concept, proper? That mentioned, it has been eleven years for the reason that website’s final rebrand. By no means say by no means.

8) Soiled Hen – They knew what they have been doing

DirtyBird logo
Soiled Hen knew what they have been doing when designing this mascot (Credit score: DirtyBird)

Soiled Hen’s catering firm delivers meals and drinks to music festivals in Wales. Sadly, the standard of the corporate’s refreshments is solely overshadowed by their hilariously phallic brand.

The meals van claims the brand is only a intelligent approach to hyperlink collectively the ‘d’ and ‘b’ initials of the enterprise title, with the 2 conveniently positioned loops forming the feathery wings.

Naturally, customers aren’t satisfied, with many saying the brand is pornographic and completely not what you need to take into consideration earlier than you tuck into some scrumptious fried rooster. Controversy apart, props to Soiled Hen for maintaining the gag. Even immediately, the ‘rooster’ icon nonetheless stands tall as the corporate’s cocksure mascot.

7) Starbucks – Since you do not want a reputation to be recognizable

Starbucks logo
Starbucks put off their trademark brand in favor of an oversimplified siren (Credit score: Starbucks)

When Starbucks realized how recognizable its model had turn out to be by 2011, it unveiled an enormous brand redesign, eradicating lots of the parts customers had grown to know and love.

The ‘Starbucks’ title was dropped, and the enduring siren was delivered to the forefront. The brand shed its black highlights in favor of a simplified inexperienced and white duotone. Starbucks loyalists have been extremely pissed off, with many taking to Fb to precise how a lot they hated the brand new look.

Starbucks refused to cave beneath shopper stress. The espresso big nonetheless proudly stands behind its simplified siren immediately.

6) IHOP – Smiling face or mascot getting ready to madness?

Ihop logo
The brand new IHOP brand (left). Completely satisfied, or creepy? (Credit score: IHOP)

In 2015, IHOP modified its brand for the primary time in over 20 years, introducing an odd purple curve beneath the ‘o’ and ‘p’.

The brand new look brand was meant to resemble a smile, maybe representing a shopper’s unshakeable happiness when biting right into a stack of Authentic Buttermilk Pancakes.

Sadly, nevertheless, followers did not see it that method. Other than being one other instance of pointless brand simplification, many remarked that the brand new icon extra carefully resembled a clown smiling by way of the ache than a contented shopper tucking into an IHOP lunch.

Sadly, the road made by the ‘p’ makes the mascot seem like shedding a solitary tear. Maybe that is precisely how IHOP’s graphic design group reacted when studying the horrendous critiques of their rebrand. Ouch.

5) Airbnb – It is a sexual organ… It is Peter Griffin’s chin… It is Airbnb’s new brand!

Airbnb logo
Customers can’t make up their minds about Airbnb’s unusual new brand (Credit score: Airbnb)

This Airbnb brand took some critical warmth from the general public when it was launched again in 2014, a lot so {that a} Tumblr webpage was arrange with the precise aim of mocking the disastrous redesign.

The insults have been wide-ranging and various. Some customers claimed the brand was a ripoff of Automation Anyplace’s brand. One Twitter person claimed the brand was a tremendous feat of “how one can resemble as many sexual organs directly as doable”. Some uniquely inventive members of the design group even Photoshopped the new logo onto Peter Griffin’s iconic butt-chin.

Regardless of the backlash, Airbnb caught by its brand, saying that the corporate was ready for the social media response and that controversy wasn’t new to them. They nonetheless use the brand to this present day.

4) London 2012 – This one is not taking house the gold

London 2012 logo
London 2012 win a gold star for ‘too easy’ but ‘too summary’ (Credit score: London 2012)

When Wolff Olins unveiled its $400,000 Olympic brand in 2007, it did not take lengthy for the unfavorable critiques to roll in.

Many conspired that the brand was laden with hidden messages. Some claimed it resembled a swastika. Others labeled it as sexually suggestive (let’s hope they weren’t regulars at Arlington Pediatric Heart).

Iran even threatened to boycott the Olympics, claiming the brand was a thinly-veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy as a result of it spelled the phrase ‘Zion’, which, by the way, appears to be like considerably just like ‘2012’ while you rotate sure letters and stretch your creativeness to its limits.

Naturally, the Olympic Committee caught to their weapons (you’d hope this have been the case after the $400k price ticket). And, because the Olympics lastly rolled round in 2012, it appears most had forgotten concerning the cataclysmic brand unveiling simply 5 years prior. I am sure Wolff Olins’ design group breathed a collective sigh of aid.

3) Aunt Jemima – When small modifications aren’t adequate

Aunt Jemima logo
Aunt Jemima’s controversial brand was based on a racial stereotype (Credit score: The Pearl Miller Firm)

Missouri newspaper editor Chris L. Rutt unveiled his self-rising flour model again within the late 1800s, naming his product after “Aunt Jemima”, a ballad carried out by minstrel songwriters.

Over time, the model’s identification grew to become synonymous with the racist “mammy” stereotype, a caricature that depicts black feminine slaves as cheerful housekeepers for white households.

Quaker Oats, the proprietor of the model, made dozens of modifications to the brand through the years in an try to minimize the controversy surrounding the brand. However nothing might detract from the truth that the corporate was based on racial stereotypes.

Following many years of controversy, the Aunt Jemima model was renamed to Pearl Milling Firm again in 2021. Rejoice!

2) Hole – A lesson in pointless modifications

Gap logo
Hole spots a niche available in the market and misses by a rustic mile (Credit score: Hole)

When US clothes retailer Hole launched its new million-dollar brand design again in 2010, the world was fast to remind them why unprompted, soulless firm modifications are poor enterprise etiquette.

The brand new look Hole brand did away with the corporate’s iconic blue field in favor of an all-black font and unusual vivid blue gradient sq. subsequent to the ‘p’. All of it appeared very vanilla, made infinitely worse by the questionable ‘Helvetica’ typeface, which does not precisely scream ‘younger goal demographic’.

1000’s of customers flocked to social media to tear the disastrous brand aside. Unsurprisingly, Hole shortly reversed the change. The brand new look brand lasted a grand whole of six days earlier than resigning. Hole CEO Marka Hansen promptly adopted go well with, leaving the corporate simply 4 months later.

1) Cleveland Indians – Chief Wa-how might this one not take the highest spot?

Cleveland Indians logo
Might it actually have been every other brand? Credit score: Cleveland Guardians

Beating out the competitors by a slender margin, the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo brand takes first prize.

Advocates have spoken out in opposition to the mascot for many years, arguing that the brand depicts an offensive caricature of a Native American character and, subsequently, contributes to the mockery of American Indians.

Supporters of the Mascot, nevertheless, retorted that the character is solely a cartoon and never meant to offend anybody.

The Cleveland Indians finally eliminated the brand design from all of their branding, altering their title to the Cleveland Guardians within the course of.

Whether or not you are for or in opposition to it, it is plain the previous Cleveland Indians brand was divisive. The truth that over 50 US senators and President Barack Obama voiced their assist for the model change tells the entire story. This brand has rightfully earned its place on the high of our checklist. It could simply be essentially the most controversial brand of all time.

Robert Reeve

Robert is an skilled advertising and marketing skilled with in depth expertise working with manufacturers to refine go-to-market plans, website positioning campaigns, and content material advertising and marketing methods. A dedicated author with a eager eye on the newest developments, Robert specialises in producing content material throughout all issues tech and advertising and marketing.

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