All work and no play makes graphic design a dull world. Since logos are a powerful representation of brands, it is a risky move to design one that will elicit extremely strong reactions. Given how fast news spreads nowadays, the repercussion elicited has become even stronger.
Creative Bloq has combed through the logo design sphere and shortlisted 14 of the most controversial moments that have occurred in logo and brand design. While many of these were the result of blindsided work, you can’t help but wonder if some were cheekily created on purpose.
Take a look at highlights from some of the most contentious logo designs and see if you’d like to take this route for brand recognition.
Check out Creative Bloq’s article for more.
Airbnb’s new logo is a rorschach test where the only correct answer is vagina. pic.twitter.com/7thtD0KlbH
— S E A M U S (@SeamusCondron) July 16, 2014
Image via Seamus Condron
— DΞRΞK BROWN (@shoelacegraphic) July 17, 2014
Image via shoelacegraphic
When Airbnb rebranded in 2014, its new ‘Bêlo’ logo was an attempt to mark fresh, successful beginnings. Instead, the revamp sparked inspiration for witty and naughty gags set to tickle your funny bone.
The logo left so much room for playful antics that a Tumblr account was created exclusively to poke fun at it. The hilariously explicit remixes have been taken down, but you can still check out some of them here.
Jokes aside, Airbnb’s logo also looks remarkably alike to an old logo from 1975.
This fried chicken company’s motto could very well be, “Go hard or go home.” Infamously known for its phallic-like logo, one might suspect it was created deliberately.
The brand’s designer Mark James explained, “We were given the name ‘Dirty Bird’ as the brief, and started working on ideas. We looked at the initials, ‘DB’. Then worked with the lowercase ‘db’ linking them to form the shape of a rooster. It’s a graphic representation of a rooster incorporating the initials. It depends on how you look at it.”
Probably to take a jab at the logo’s infamy, the designer even created campaign posters encouraging customers to “Get some cock in”, “Touch My Breast”, and “Touch My Thigh”.
— Jared Borislow (@JaredBorislow) August 21, 2016
Image via JaredBorislow
Designed by Wolff Olins, the £400,000 (US$517,000) logo sparked a great amount of furor and was even given the lowest score in a BBC poll. Some highly imaginative netizens likened the logo to an obscene image of ‘Lisa’—from The Simpsons—giving her brother ‘Bart’ fellatio, and it snowballed from there.
University of California
— Sarah Kavassalis (@sc_k) December 12, 2012
Image via sc_k
Minimalism doesn’t always work, as shown in this stripped down version of this university’s logo. Designed by an in-house team, the symbol was intended solely for use in communication collaterals, but was later withdrawn due to the uproar.
Click here for 10 more controversial brand and logo designs.
[via Creative Bloq, images via various sources]