This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Without much further introduction — since now you know what to expect from our end of year round-ups — here are The Worst Identities of 2011. Enjoy! Part II: The Best will come next Monday.
For clarification: The choices are solely at my discretion. Original comments and voting results do not really influence my selections.
No. 12: Swiss International Air Lines
It’s not that the new one is that bad but the overly literal interpretation of “airline” through a tailfin defeats the simplicity of the previous one. I guess I just expected more (or, well, less) from the Swiss.
No. 11: Edmonton Valley Zoo
As far as zoos go, this one isn’t one of the biggest nor most visited but it did have a magnificent logo previously, depicting their old mascot, Elsie the elephant, through a lowercase “e” for Edmonton. What does the new one have going for it? Animals with eyes bloated and crazy as if they just had a Four Loko and Red Bull cocktail.
No. 10: Eurostar
I am a big fan of SomeOne and this identity had the right ambitious undertone of their work, but the result is a confusing 3D logo that tries to pass as interesting with some wild texturing. There is also a custom typeface with some of the most annoying flourishes ever bespoken.
No. 9: Sportsnet
When I first saw this redesign I had to make sure the new logo was actually the new one as it looks like it could have been crafted in the early 1980s. The typography is heavy and boring. The swooshy icon unappealing. A TV sports network in the twenty-first century should not look like something out of Anchorman. The on-air graphics, unfortunately, don’t save the logo either.
No. 8: Petco
I unleashed most of my ire on the tagline, which added the keyword “healthy” in it, to make sure no sad sack dog or cat dare enter their store — it’s as if Target changed its tagline to “Where the HEALTHY people go; the rest of you can go to Walmart”. The typography didn’t do much to ingratiate the redesign with me.
No. 7: Brand USA
The best thing I can say about this identity is that it could have been worse. It could have been stars and stripes blowing out of stars and stripes and gradients of white, red, and blue until you were blue in the face. Instead of that we got a ton of unimaginative dots that are meant to “represent the diversity of people and experiences that can be found in the United States”. I bet you didn’t see that rationalization coming!
No. 6: Masters
Close-up of a drill bit or claws of a polar bear? I would much rather have the latter so that I could scratch my eyes out after seeing that bold, extended version of Verdana in the wordmark.
No. 5: SiriusXM
The only two satellite radio companies in the US with a commanding 20-million-subscriber base and a groundbreaking reputation come up with a pathetically boring logo. With no competition and such a hardcore following, SiriusXM could have done anything it wanted. I guess it wanted to suck.
No. 4: The Comedy Network
With a previous logo as bad as this was you would think that anything would be an improvement. Think again. Using the typographic equivalent of a laugh track, Gill Sans Ultra, the Comedy Network probably thinks it took the high road with a simple and sophisticated logo. We are laughing at you, not with you.
No. 3: JCPenney
On the surface this doesn’t look that bad and it isn’t. The problem was how they got there: JCPenney, a company with $17.8 billion in revenue in 2010, had a logo bake-off between some of its employees, several design agencies, and two art schools that collectively submitted over 200 designs for consideration. Infuriating and pathetic. The winning design was by Luke Langhus, a third-year graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Power to the dude but, man, JCPenney F U.
No. 2: Netflix/Qwikster
No company shot itself more times in the foot, arm, and head than Netflix, going from media and customer darling to punchline. The apogee of Netflix’s blunders came when they announced that their recent separation of streaming content and mail-in DVDs would create a new company called Qwkister focusing on the DVD by mail business. Not only were the name and logo tragic but Netflix decided to hit undo faster than you could watch a Lawrence of Arabia and put it back in the mail. Netflix: get it together.
No. 1: Miami Marlins
Baseball, with all its tradition and Americana values, is fertile ground for great identity design. Paired with the local flavor of each city, all of the MLB’s teams should have winning identities. But sometimes things go wrong. Very very wrong. Every single element of this identity — from the marlin to the color palette to the secondary typography — is botched in more ways than one. For a city like Miami, with such rich visual culture, it’s a shame they ended up with this. I would have preferred clichéd palm trees and white suits with pink t-shirts underneath than this.