The year is almost over and as we look back at what 2022 has left us, there are a few logo designs that stand out. And not for the right reasons. There were plenty of great logo designs in 2022, but what we’re most likely to remember are the logo mistakes that made us laugh or scratch our heads—or both.
It perhaps raises the question of whether a bad logo design can actually create more brand recognition than a good one. We’re certainly not going to forget these designs anytime soon, so there could be an argument that abandoning logic, readability and aesthetics and even including inappropriate innuendo might win the brand attention, but it probably won’t the right impression.
In general, we’d recommend sticking to our tips on how to design a logo – and you might want to make sure you have the best graphic design software to ensure you implement the design correctly (and don’t come second on our list). In the meantime, here are the worst logo mistakes of 2022 in all their glory.
This plastic surgery logo
This year we also saw a logo that was perhaps not only the worst logo we saw in 2022, but perhaps the worst logo ever. This frankly terrifying design was shared on Reddit’s r/crappydesign channel by a user named Phedericus (opens in a new tab), who said only that it was for a plastic surgery company. We don’t know the name or location of the company or whether the logo has since been operated on itself – we sure hope so.
The design features a huge simple eye hovering over a huge mouth that melts into what looks like a cheap carving knife. Every decision just seems wrong, from the colors to the lack of symmetry and different thicknesses, all of which give the design an even more monstrously skewed feel. Surely someone would only go to this clinic if they want to come out looking like Frankenstein’s monster.
Users on Reddit couldn’t believe what they saw. “I hope the surgeon is better than the designer,” said one person. “This is bad in such a bizarre way. So many specific unfortunate choices were made,” said another, and we have to agree.
SpaceX’s NASA logo
Wait…what…what happened to Crew-5’s meatballs? pic.twitter.com/JiXJuYRFgE6 October 2022
Sometimes a logo flaw is not in the design itself, but in the execution. NASA’s “meatball” logo has its fans (although others prefer the “worm” logo, but that’s another story). But when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 sent a Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit in October, sharp-eyed viewers noted that while the rocket was happily following its course, something else seemed a little off.
Something seemed to have gone wrong with the use of NASA’s iconic starburst blue logo with its red swoop. The logo was way off center. “Wait… what… what happened to Crew-5’s meatballs?” tweeted Florida Today space reporter Emre Kelly. “That’s what happens when your logo doesn’t have a comprehensive manual detailing its proper usage.” someone else suggested (for comprehensive logo manuals, just check out the pretty epic new Olympic branding).
It was all the more hilarious knowing how much SpaceX’s Elon Musk loves logos (although the Tesla logo has also been ridiculed for its hilarious resemblance to something that was completely unintentional). Amusingly, several people took to Twitter to offer their own images of the logo, and homemade creations of the SpaceX logo as well.
The city logo of Barnstaple
One of the basic rules of logo design is to keep it simple. A simple logo is usually much more memorable, meaning people are more likely to remember the brand. And limiting the number of colors and the amount of detail also makes a logo easier to use in different sizes and applications (just look at the Apple logo history to see how it went from a fussy logo that would be impossible to put on the back of an iPhone to something super streamlined but instantly recognisable).
So what exactly is going on in this logo for the town of Barnstaple in Devon? The confusing jumble of colored lines looks like it might be meant to show a half-demolished house on the bank of a river. But it turns out that there is a clue in the slogan, “the streets ahead”. Of course there is a map of Barnstaple town centre.
Now, a logo design must be appropriate for the audience and use. Then this seemingly random design can be instantly recognizable and meaningful to the people of Barnstaple. “Lots of cr*p. The two year old could have done that for a free Farley’s Rusk,” one resident wrote on Facebook. On the upside, if you’re lost in the center of Barnstaple and Google maps is on, look for the logo and it should help you find your way out. May be.
Australian Government Women’s Network logo
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The last thing you want a women’s network logo to look like is a male genitalia, but somehow the Australian Government’s Women’s Network managed to do just that. Now, we’ve seen quite a few rude logos in our time, but this one was perhaps the most inappropriate.
The curly “w” and an outline look so much like a teenage sketch of a penis that people couldn’t believe that no one on the network even noticed. The purple color makes things worse, reminiscent of the eggplant emoji. “I thought this was satire but it’s either thoughtless or an insult,” one person tweeted, while Yumi Lee of the Older Women’s Network was outraged at “how little they’ve thought about women”.
Some suggested that it could only have been on purpose. “Looking at this logo as a graphic designer, I can tell you that the designer knew EXACTLY what they were doing from the choice of font to the layout to the color. This is not a mistake. It reeks of evil with teenage boy mentality,” one designer wrote on Twitter (opens in a new tab).
In reality, the ill-fated logo copied the shape of a series of other government logos. However, it has been replaced after an outcry. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia said in a statement in March: “The rebrand was completed in-house, using existing resources, and the design was widely consulted. No external suppliers were engaged for this work. The logo has been removed from the department’s website, pending of consultation with staff.”
In order not to end the year on a negative note, we should point out that there were many good logo designs in 2022 that we liked. We loved the sleek new Aston Martin logo, the NBC logo, the Citroen logo and the Toblerone logo. See our guide to the best logos of all time for more inspiration.