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  • Writer's pictureJohn Selzer

No Going Back

What is seen cannot be unseen.

Your logo is your greatest asset. It is your identity - instantly recognizable as the very essence of your company.

A logo goes on business cards, your website, the outside of buildings, billboards and t-shirts that your employees proudly wear out in public. It is everywhere.

But what if your logo sends an unintended message?

During a recent lunch with friends, a scrolling TV in the background caught my eye. Something from the screen just did not seem right. I said nothing, and occasionally glanced that way to see if I could confirm my initial suspicion.

There it was. In all of its glory.

And here it is now:

Wow. Just wow.

I prodded my lunch companions to turn and look at the screen when the image next cycled around. Out of the sea of logos on the screen, they saw it immediately. Both reacted in shock. Well, shock and laughter.

I am certain that our response was not what the company intended. Or, at least I hope not.

(Per a March 2015 blog, the “naughty bits” are really supposed to be an abstraction of a donut, a burrito and a pizza. Don’t believe me? Check out the post here. I hope it was an early April Fool's Joke. Regardless, the joke is on them as the logo is in use out there in the wild.)

Great logos can also contain unexpected surprises. That certain element that when discovered cannot be unseen.

But in a good way.

Amazon has that smile linking “a” to “z”. FedEx the directional arrow. The “31” hidden in Baskin Robbins. These and the countless others like them convey something that is on-brand. They positively reinforce the identity of the company.

Do that. Be intentional. But be aware.

If you are launching a company or going through a brand refresh, I encourage you to take a pause during the logo design exercise. Push back from the table and walk away. Put the working concepts in front of fresh eyes. Ask, “What do you see?” Or better yet, “How does this make you feel?”

If the answer is “A phallus” or “Really uncomfortable”, then back to the drawing board you go.



New month, new era. I have left the 80s behind to now draw from very recent history. No Going Back is fresh, like February 2018 fresh. Still well within the sell by date. Give this song a listen and it will put you in a good mood. A little odd, since it is about breaking up. Enjoy the contradiction. Wonderful, auditory contradiction.

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May 03, 2018

That logo is hilarious... as is their justification blog piece. Oh... but as an annoying "grammar guy" (which is hilarious in it's own right as I'm married to a high school English teacher... and my grammar is much less than stellar....) - you' might want to tweak this line "No Going Backis fresh" - hope you don't mind me pointing that out - and now I am awaiting the deluge of you going to my articles page to say "your grammar sucks Gignac!"

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