Lyin’ Of Sight: Logos I Got Completely Wrong
May 8, 2023 | For Fun, Industry, Opinion
You’d expect a graphic designer to see a logo as well as they can design one, right?
Confession time: I don’t. Not always, anyway.
Here’s my big, shiny example: the iconic Batman logo from 1989 has always been a set of nasty, broken, yellow teeth. I don’t think I’m alone here. I get that it’s a bat, but its oval frame suggests a mouth around a strange set of chompers. And now I associate Batman with poor oral hygiene.
Here are a few logos, icons, and symbols my eyes have gotten wrong, shown just as my eyes interpret them.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Colonel Sanders’ head has always been a part of the KFC logo. In all cases, he is sporting his signature western-style tie which happens to look like arms and legs. A branding evolution in 1997 added more of his form with shoulders and a collar; today, we’re back to bobbleheads.
Major League Baseball
Save for minor palette swaps, the MLB logo has remained largely unchanged since its 1969 debut. While I know the logo features a subtracted silhouette of a batter, it’s a bird I see first. Tail pointed to the sky, wings folded, and beak open ready to catch a round seed…travelling at 150 kilometres per hour. You see it now. You cannot un-see Baseball Bird.
The Toblerone logo was clever with a hidden bear standing on its hindquarters (I’ve browned in the bear for you to see). Now, blame it on years of watching paranormal shows, but it wasn’t a bear I saw until it was pointed out to me; no, I see the silhouette of a fiery alien. Don’t worry, they come in piece of chocolate.
Whether I have you thinking about a Toblerone for the logo or the chocolate, hurry: Toblerone is removing the Swiss Matterhorn mountain. With production moving from Switzerland to Slovakia, a strict rule surrounding authentic “Swissness” prohibits the mountain—and with it the bear and the alien—from being used outside of Switzerland.
While we’re on the topic of mountains, I never guessed them to be the strange shapes in the Evian logo. Maybe they’re chunky, low-polygon water monsters instead.
Ya-hoo! I’m sure I’ve seen those angled slabs before—what do you think, Super Mario World fans? Adidas actually has four logos, each featuring three stripes; The Mountain Logo (pictured above) applies to their performance line. Maybe Mario would wear them.
London Symphony Orchestra
Now, I feel this logo is supposed to be what I see: a conductor made out of the letters LSO. Pretty clever, however without the written-out context of it being the London Symphony Orchestra, I think I’d see the corner edge of a jigsaw puzzle piece.
I’m convinced there is a yellow-eyed creature living inside the bell portion of the Taco Bell logo. It probably feasts after hours on packets of fire sauce. I almost feel the logo could do without the shading and highlight; until then, taco lizard will continue to eye everyone pulling into the drive-thru.
The process of a brand or logo refresh is always exciting—and sometimes it takes the examination and critique of an outside eye to to make it successful. One thing each of the above logos has succeeded in is standing the test of time. They are instantly recognizable; but ultimately, the image is in the eye of the beholder.