Learning from “Your Logo Makes Me Barf”

logosIt’s pretty much common knowledge that if you want to become better at design then you should spend time studying the works made by professionals. But in addition to that, studying the truly amazing, jaw-dropping and head-scratching design flops can offer just as much insight (as well as possibly boosting your own ego: “My designs aren’t THAT bad!”)

The blog Your Logo Makes Me Barf is a wonderful place to gander at some of the world’s worst logo designs. I came across this the other day and decided to pull some valuable design lessons out of the garbage heap of logos.

Let’s begin today’s “what not to do” lesson:

No-no #1: Confusing acronyms

If you’re going to take your company name and make it an acronym, please, PLEASE, make sure that it doesn’t look like some other common acronyms.


No-no #2: Bad letter substitution

Substituting a letter (or letters) in your logo for an image can be quite effective — when done correctly. Just make sure that the image actually looks like the letter it’s replacing or that the non-image letters don’t spell out something else!

(The Eiffel Tower makes a bad letter “h”.)

Yes, I know that “arousel” is correctly spelled “arousal”. But at first glance you might not pick up on that.)

(Is that “St. Rage” or “storage”? Don’t confuse people!)

(C’mon! A cat’s hind end makes a truly disgusting letter “A”! And why is it for a women’s clothing store?)

No-no #3: Art unrelated to your industry

Yeah, I know. “Swooshes” are cool and “interstellar globes” are hip. But please don’t use them when they have no relation to your industry! (They are already overused to begin with.)



(In addition, the upper case “D” overlaps the lower case “a” making it difficult to read the photographer’s name.)

No-no #4: Bordering on indecent

Be careful of how you place people and animals in your designs. One mistake and you might give people the wrong image about your company! Also, please be careful when you choose the artwork… it could be taken the wrong way.

(That dog is getting just a little too friendly with the cat.)

(It might be a logo for a physical therapist…)

(Nothing says “Family Dentistry” like a tooth flashing his privates…)

No-no #5: Choose a color scheme, please!

Do I really need to say anything about this?


Wanna see more?

If you’d like to see more of the “best of the worst” then check out Your Logo Makes Me Barf.

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5 Responses:

  1. Henry

    It truly does make one wonder what some designers are thinking when they make such logos…

    Thanks for the list!

  2. Amanda

    Truly terrible… I also hate the overused swooshes and spheres. And that logo with the cat’s rear end as a letter “A”. GROSS!

  3. Mike

    Great post — made me laugh. In WTF’s defense, they were probably around before “WTF” became a thing. Still, they need to change it :)

  4. David R - Admin


    According to their website, the Wisconsin Tourism Federation (WTF) was established in 1979 — long before “WTF” became a common acronym on the Internet. (Google is my best friend ;) )

    Who knows, maybe now their logo gets a closer look more than before. It certainly made me look twice when I first saw it.


  5. Viceroy

    Fun article! Wanted to drop a line to your readers and let you know we’re BACK! Site was down for a quite a while but we’re back in action and posting new content as of tomorrow.

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