Perhaps nothing is more important in branding than a good logo. After all, you use it on billboards, social media posts, and marketing items like t-shirts and coffee mugs. A step in the wrong direction and that design you choose to represent your company can turn into a giant joke. It might even become a hilarious meme.
Out there in the wild, people are free to interpret those images however they see them, and sometimes, that can have some pretty interesting results.
Take for example the unfortunate logo perspectives seen here:
If you turn Pepsi’s logo into a person, you’ve got a guy with a too small shirt and a too big gut. I guess that’s what you get from drinking all that soda…
Branding Lesson: Expect people to add arms and legs to your logo at some point.
For more than 25 years, a teddy with tatas has unintentionally been this jewelry store’s logo. Their website claims the bear embodies one of their most important values: tenderness.
Branding Lesson: The eyes are drawn to things that are big and voluptuous.
#3: 2012 London Olympics
People bashed this logo for the 2012 London Olympics, claiming it looked too close to a Swastika. They also found the geometric shapes were too difficult to read.
Branding Lesson: Don’t forget that some images have a terrible history.
#4: Dirty Bird
The Dirty Bird food truck, which can be found in both Mississippi and NYC, ruffled a lot of feathers with their extra phallic logo.
Branding Lesson: Your logo shouldn’t look like a drawing from the movie Superbad.
Walmart’s “spark” did nothing but fuel the imagination of Star Wars fans all over the world. Darth Vader and his crew probably weren’t exactly thinking about low prices on milk when they created their Galactic Empire emblem.
Branding Lesson: Nerds are looking at your logo, too.
#6: Google Chrome
Google is innovative in many ways, but it looks like they ripped off the classic “Simon Says” memory game for their Chrome logo. At least, that’s how it appears at first glance.
Branding Lesson: A certain color scheme may have already been used once before.
LG stands for “Life’s Good” – a slogan the electronics company wanted to reflect in their logo. Unfortunately, all that comes across is the Pac-Man guy.
Branding Lesson: The ghost of other designs may haunt your brand.
Adidas must have sunk a lot of money into their logo, because it looks an awful lot like the Titanic when you add a shadow to the bottom. Hopefully their brand won’t crash into that Nike iceberg!
Branding Lesson: Your logo needs to be strong enough to stay afloat no matter what.
Here’s a math problem that’s unsolvable: the square root of ANS. That’s unfortunately one way to see Vans’ distinct logo, even though I’m sure they didn’t have math or algebra on the brain. So what is the square root of ans? My guess is a really comfy pair of kicks.
Branding Lesson: Follow the right formula to ensure your design is successful.
#10: Dodge Viper
If you’re so inclined, flip the Dodge Viper logo upside down. You’ll now see Daffy Duck in all his feathered, loony-tuned glory.
Branding Lesson: Look at your logo’s design from a whole new angle.
Airbnb introduced their new logo in 2014, and according to BBC News, it had immediate backlash on social media. People on Twitter in particular said it reminded them of “certain sexual organs.”
Branding Lesson: Assume everybody has a dirty mind.
#12: Sunrise Sushi
This Japanese restaurant put it where the sun doesn’t shine with their wildly inappropriate logo. It’s no surprise that the company no longer uses this image to market their cuisine.
Branding Lesson: You never want your logo to be the butt of the joke.
#13: Kids Exchange
A “Kids Exchange” is a place where you go when your kid’s clothes stop fitting so they can be resold at a cheaper price. A “Kid Sex Change” is an entirely different service and probably not one they offer.
Branding Lesson: A mistake with spacing can drastically change your logo’s message.
#14: Sherwin Williams
Sherwin Williams made a bit of a mess when they chose red as the paint color in their logo. Many naysayers believed it looked like blood getting poured onto Mother Earth.
Branding Lesson: Be careful not to imply any violence.
From the Vans square root to the fat Pepsi man, there are a ton of strange logo interpretations out there. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Sorry if that ruined anything for you.
The crazy thing is the logos on this list only scratch the surface. Case in point, some people think that you’ll get a KFC stick figure if you look at the logo from a certain angle – giant head but a little body. Others swear that the Tesla logo looks like a uterus. People are weird.
There are so many people looking at your logo, and they come from all different walks of life. While you can’t help what they see, you can make sure your brand’s strong enough to overcome all memes and social media comments.
And remember – try not to make your logo look like a butt or any other body part. It’s for the best.