Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Anti-Logo

I've written about a lot of bad logos over the years, and logos that don't "read," but this one may be the worst of all. (As seen on the Twitter account of Sean Hayford Oleary.) It's not just a bad design, it exists for a terrible purpose, so that makes it all the worse.

Essentially, from a design standpoint, it's not a logo at all. Logos are about reducing elements to create visual impact and memorableness. The creator of this mess kept adding elements and words so there's nothing to focus on. Some of the words are almost unreadable. Imagine them at any size smaller than this! It's already bad enough as is, and this is probably 3" tall.

Of course, it uses one of my least favorite typefaces, Algerian, which was part of the Microsoft Office font set from the mid-1990s and became extremely over-used. Originally designed in the early 20th century as part of the Orientalist craze of the time, it has since taken on Latino connotations from its use by a popular tequila brand, so I think that's part of what this logo is referring to.

The type is arranged in a circular fashion, which makes it almost unreadable given how many many words are involved and the complexity of the name. Is it Cannon River Drug Violent Offender Task Force? (Isn't the term usually "Violent Drug Offender"?) It's not helped by the questionable use of black on red (usually a bad contrast choice), with a secondary set of motto words inside the circle, because why not! And then the two counties' names and the years their task forces were established, since those are so important.

And then there's that pile of clip art. Eightballs in the side pockets? Death-heads? Crossed pistol-grip shotguns? A syringe? Oh, and handcuffs. It's hard to tell which side of the law enforcement / criminal divide each of these is meant to represent, since they're all splayed around within the kindergarten concept of symmetrical arrangement. Are the crossed guns over the syringe supposed to mean the guns are preventing the evil death-head syringe, or are the guns supposed to be in the hands of the criminals? I'm not sure.

Who is this logo for? I don't think it's the public, since the public would have no idea what the eightballs, at least, mean. Do the handcuffs signify integrity, since they're right above that word, or is that a coincidence? 

I'm sure I've missed something else that's wrong with it. I can think of one good thing to say, though:

Good printing on the cup!

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