In the world of business and marketing, image is everything. Logos are a way for customers to recall your company with a mental image, which is why it's important to avoid these common mistakes.

Just The Facts

  1. Those are all real logos used by real institutions trying to sell a real product.
  2. They represent only a small sampling of the most ridiculous logos ever put next to a company's name.
  3. Any logo designers not yet aware that you're being made fun of, read on as we take your through your most baffling mistakes.
  4. Who are we kidding, you probably started drawing boobs on your monitor with magic marker when you noticed institution has the word tit in it.

5. Familiarize Yourself With the Human Anatomy

In art schools everywhere, one of the basic lessons is on learning how to draw the human figure. That applies here as well, except on more of the genital level (we're talking about dongs here). You'd be surprised how many designers out there apparently have no idea what a penis looks like. Take, for example, the Atherton Car Centre:

Seriously? That looks like something we used to doodle on our math notes in the fifth grade. Or here's one from The Computer Doctors:

That's one happy mouse.

This one also falls under the "Know What Your Letters Look Like" category. Ignore for a second how satisfied the mouse is. Why even put it there, in that position? It's taking the place of the U, except for the fact that it looks nothing like a U.

While it's easy to inadvertantly design your logo to look like a phallus, it's also easy design a vagina without realizing it:

While we love the call out to Diamond Dallas Page, we question the whispering eye in the center. And further, why are it and the O the only red things in the logo? Add to that the slogan, "Sink Into Deep Relaxation," and either you have a terrific spot to get a massage or a lot of disappointed businessmen in the Houston area.

4. Remember the Gestalt Effect...

...or, more accurately, the concept of multistability. Multistability is the notion that, using Rubin's Vase as an example, what one person construes as a vase, another will see as two dudes totally about kiss.

Let's look at some examples where logo-designers proved they've never picked up a psychology book in their life.

While we too are confused by the "Boys Only Hip Hop," let's focus on the dancing figures. Some unfortunate symmetry instead turned out to be a naked female torso with a pair Ds on an ad for children's dancing. Speaking of boobs and children:

Oldham's "pride," evidently, is its owls. Or maybe their pride is that it's a town full of well-endowed women. But boobs aren't the only things that can be picked from logos. The University of Santa Catarina, Brazil's Institute for Oriental Studies drew up a logo to accurately reflect, in their mind's eye, Asian society:

Specifically, the perverted part.

3. Know Your Offensive Organizations

Avoiding offending people should be relatively easy. Just read up on what sends the masses into a rage-fueled frenzy and avoid it. Easy right? For instance, no one would ever think to put three K's in success-

Huh. Well, how about that. It's understandable that having a company named after yourself--especially when your initials are KKK--requires careful planning on the logo end, but with a name like Kingston, perhaps it was safer to go the king route instead of, say, embarassing your initials to an offensive extreme.

But that's childsplay compared to the China Top Brand. Perhaps bitter over Nazi Germany taking the swastika and forever tainting its symbolism, they sent one back at the Third Reich by stealing one of their logos:

Still not seeing it? Here:

That's the emblem for the Reich's Schutzstaffel, an organization that started out protecting the party's leaders. As the Nazi chokehold on Europe tightened,the group became more known for their underhanded and despicable deeds.


has stated that those shapes are simply four arrowheads that represent economy, yet we can't quite picture parallelgram-shaped arrowhead being all that accurate.

2. Use Proper Spacing

Spacing is important in all aspects of life. Successful relationships require space, as do successful sentences. Improper spacing can be the difference between Kids Exchange and:

A place called Kids Exchange is already dealing with tough questions like "What the fuck is this place?"; "What's the exchange rate on American to Canadian children?"; "Can I get a better kid for my broken one?"; or "Can I trade my older model child for a newer one?" With unfortunate spacing, we're sure the unwanted customer rate is at least double the norm.

Speaking of unwanted customers, the ones most major movie chains look to avoid are the perverts looking to add stains to the backroom. Mega Flicks never even gave itself a chance:

With deals like that, how can the other brothels even compete?

1. Avoid Counterintuitiveness

While making your logo look like a dick might not drive away your customer base, making it look like something you don't want advertised (see Mega Flicks above) is a way to do just that or even attract unsavory characters. For instance:

Three arms and one leg? That's certainly some special surgery right there. But even the HSS's logo doesn't compare to the early Catholic church's:

This was from the 70s. Why were we surprised by all those terrible allegations again?

Find more from Fitzgerald at Mr. Smith Goes to the Internet or follow him on Twitter.