5 Controversial Brand Logo Designs and their Lessons

Controversial Brand Logo Designs

Controversial Brand Logo Designs. In graphic design, people can quickly form judgments and opinions about a brand by looking at its logo or website

According to a study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology, people spend around 6.48 seconds viewing the icon on a web page. Since it’s the first thing that people are likely to notice and associate with a brand, the design should attract attention across print and digital mediums. 

Now, this can be quite tricky as sometimes, a logo may just fail to connect with the audience or get negative feedback. Over the years, you may find quite a few controversial brand logo designs that did not make a positive impression on the viewers. Let’s take a look at some of the top ones and explore the lessons we can learn from them. 

  1. Slack Logo Redesign 

In 2019, the popular business communication platform introduced its new brand logo. It proved to be quite controversial in the beginning with long-time users criticizing the redesign. The original hashtag which was known for its colorful appearance was replaced with a sleek symbol that only featured four colors. This revamped logo had a lot of people confused as they recognized the application and website by the distinctive hashtag. 

The color palette also became simpler and was changed to blue, hues of yellow, red and green. Presently, you can find variations of the icon against a white or purple background. If you are looking for inspiration to create or revamp your brand symbol, you can always browse through a logo maker for design ideas

 Old Logo


New Logo

Image Source: 1000logos.net

Lesson: Always keep the audience in mind when launching a redesign or new logo. Get feedback from a small group or social media channels if possible and test out the new brand design before launching to a wider audience. Slack received a lot of negative feedback from users who suddenly had to look for the app or website on their devices. 

  • Zara Brand Logo Redesign 

The fashion company changes its brand symbol in 2019 after eight years. While the wordmark remained similar, its typography and font styles were different than the previous version. Despite the negative comments, ZARA has stuck to the brand logo. This new redesign has very less space between the letters which almost merge. 

When the new icon was introduced, it received a lot of criticism for the typography. There were quite a few people who found it overwhelming and difficult to read anywhere. It got negative feedback from designers as well and is one of the most controversial brand logos in recent years. 

Old Logo



Image Source: 1000logos.net

Lesson: A minimalist and clear-cut design can grab attention against various backgrounds or colors. If the elements appear cluttered, it can confuse the audience and make it difficult to recognize the company or brand name. 

  • Sears New Logo 

This department store chain went through a transformation after bankruptcy problems. Its new logo was introduced three years ago and featured a wordmark with an abstract icon. People criticized the symbol for looking similar to Airbnb’s logo. 

Now, the company found the logo suitable for its new brand identity with the icon representing the core values, it received negative feedback from the audience. It’s probably why Sears made a small change to their brand logo in 2020 and revamped the symbol to look like a house. 

Old Logo         

Image Source: Pinterest

New Logo

Image Source: Wikimedia

Lesson: While it’s a good idea to look for inspiration within the industry or check out the competition, you want to avoid anything too similar. A unique brand design that stands out among others can make a lasting impression on the audience. 

  • Volkswagon Minimalist Logo 

The automobile company redesigned its brand logo in 2020 and went from a 3D emblem to a flat, minimalist one. As the corporation introduced its new eco-friendly cars, it rebranded to appeal to a wider consumer base. The design created controversy as some people thought that the company was trying to control the damage from its emissions scandal.

It also got negative feedback from designers for the wide spaces between the letters and ‘thin lines’. Despite that, Volkswagen has continued with the logo and created an effective branding strategy around it. 

  2012 Emblem

Current Emblem

Image Source: 1000logos.net

Lesson: Think about what you want to achieve with a brand logo and how you want the audience to react to it. If people are already familiar with it, you can simply upgrade the elements to create a design that represents the company’s growth. 

  • Career Builder Logo Redesign 

It is a popular job-finding platform with offices in Asia and Europe as well. The company revamped its visual brand identity in 2015 with a new logo that featured the wordmark and the letter ‘C’. However, it did not bring out a positive reaction among the audience. Many people criticized the colors and appearance of the lettermark. 

In 2021, the platform introduced a redesign of the controversial brand logo and have opted for a thick and bold lettermark that highlights the company name. While it has received more attention than the previous design, the style of the letters has been criticized by a few users. 

Old Logo

Image Source: logos-download.com

  New Logo

Image Source: careerbuilder.com

Lesson: Focus on incorporating elements that are relevant to the industry and immediately tell people about the nature of your work. 


These are some of the controversial brand logo designs and the lessons to be learned from them. When creating a symbol, avoid making common mistakes and get feedback from the team, friends or family. This way, you can create a brand design that lasts for a long time and connects with the audience quickly. 

Article by Veronica Scott.

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