Have you ever heard of soap made from beer? What would convince you to give it a try? Sometimes all it really takes is well-brewed branding to sell an unusual product. This month we’re diving into creative contest hub 99designs’ logo competition for company Commander Flex’s new logo. Commander Flex is —you guessed it— a one-of-a-kind business that makes soap from beer (plus other ingredients.)

The soap company expressed the need for an ultra-masculine logo, but with a playful sense of humor. 12 designers showered the company with logo designs and ideas, but only one wrestled its way to the finish line! Looking at three of the top designs below on custom full-color rally towels, who do you think was the champion?

The winner: Design #1

Why is Design #1 the Winning Logo?

Although Design #1 is honestly not the best logo from a designer’s perspective, this was the only logo where the designer listened to the brand’s request of keeping the logo humorous. Next, I’ll tap into how the winning design could be visually improved, and how the other logos didn’t size up!

Design #1 (Winning Logo)

Flex Your Funny Bone

The takeaway here is that if a client is looking for a humorous and playful take on their brand, they aren’t likely to change their mind. Selling beer soap with a good laugh was the company’s goal, and this logo accomplishes that before all else! The logo also gives a direct nod to the beer that is used in the soap by having the buff mascot chug a tall pint—both well-delivered and giggle-worthy. The mascot himself is a cool, rugged wilderness dude, and likely a great reflection of how Commander Flex wants customers to feel when using their product.

There are a number of ways this design could be improved to work even better for the company! There are over 11 colors in this logo, not to mention a very busy background on some of the letters. A limited palette will prevent your logo from getting muddy, where colors blend together with little contrast. If you squint at this logo, the whole background in the circle turns to a single dark color. The same sensation takes place with the camouflage in the letters and any “shadow” colors on the design. This will cause undue trouble down the road when printing- and not just because soap labels are small!

Design #2

Silver Strongman Wins Second Place

Design #2 has a lot of strong points- it is well-rendered, has a dynamic and exciting design, and even boasts a great limited palette for printing and versatility. Despite all this, the design still couldn’t steal the gold! It just goes to show how essential it is to acknowledge the spirit of a brand and the overall voice it has.

Without any context, it would be easy to assume that this logo could be for a gym, a new protein powder, or even a tough new training camp! It doesn’t quite make the reach all the way to “beer soap” and that’s something to keep in mind! No matter how good you are at flexing your design skills, your logo needs to communicate to your audience and make memorable first impressions.

Design #3

Your Logo Should Complement Your Brand, Not Dictate It

Design #3 takes most of Design #2’s faux paus a step further. Once again featuring a fierce color scheme and some cool art and design, the fallback here is that our focus becomes this mascot’s physique… and just how much of his torso is included in this logo! This Commander Flex design might as well be selling male vitality supplements.

The design, boasting strong reds and blacks, combined with the astute posing of the mascot, immediately and forcibly calls to mind Russian Propaganda posters from the 1920’s and 1930’s. When working with potential design ideas, get them reviewed by a variety of audiences to be better aware of what your design is actively saying or contributing to your brand. After all, you don’t want your brand to end up on a list of logo perspectives you can’t unsee!

Final Thoughts

Although Design #1 wasn’t the most pleasing on the eyes, it hung the competition out to dry as a result of paying close attention to the company’s core concept of humorous branding. Commander Flex can improve their winning logo even further by implementing the design strategies discussed above, including limiting the logo’s color palette! The other two logos, despite featuring adept designs, just couldn’t crack a smile against the competition.

Feel like you’re ready to clean up your own logo? Or maybe you still want to scour for more pointers from Quality Logo Product®’s ongoing design tips articles! Whether you’re a soap company, a shoe store, or anything in between, I’ve got your back when it comes to great logo design.

About the author

Bridgette Wilhelmi

Bridgette is an honors graduate of Illustration from Grand Valley State University. While she's worked in promotional products for over four years, she's also had work published in a number of art journals and featured in juried exhibitions throughout the United States.