Brand Identity

This Week in Logo Design: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Here is a brief roundup of some notable projects that went public this week.

THE GOOD: Updated logo for Rotten Tomatoes by Pentagram

Firstly, it’s hard to believe that Rotten Tomatoes is 20 years old, and moreso that the identity has remained virtually unchanged since its launch. Pentagram’s update propels the brand into a more mature season while retaining hints of the quirkiness of the original. The integration of the original tomato and splat was handled brilliantly and the modernization and simplification of the icon set is perfect (it’s hard to believe that original gradient splat lasted until now.)

One critique is the failure to use the same tomato profile across the identity, but all things considered, it’s a minor issue.

Images from Underconsideration: Brand New
Pentagram Project Page

THE BAD: Updated logo for Best Buy

The original Best Buy logo had become widely recognizable with the company boasting that “more than 70% of the US population lives within 15 minutes of a Best Buy store.” The original was not necessarily brilliant design with its apparent horizontally stretched type, but it was clearly effective as a storefront element, which carried over into the store branding with the yellow price tag and signature blue (which translated into the “blue shirts” worn by employees.) There was a brief update attempt in 2008 that was rejected before it ever got a foothold.

The new logo and applications are a bit all over the place. The logo seems like the previous version just crumbled into pieces. The most recognizable element—the yellow price tag—has been minimized into a supporting element which doesn’t really relate to the text in a meaningful way. Brand messaging along the lines of “Tech as easy as pizza.” seems incomplete at best, confusing at worst.

The new brand video seen on AdAge  (or on Brand New  if you use a popup blocker) places the viewer at an awkwardly close and uncomfortable angle in relation to the actors, and don’t get me started on the quality of the logo embroidery on the polos or the painful script. To quote American Idol, “No. No. I’m sorry, it’s a no from me also.”

Here are a few parodies based on my initial impressions in discussing the update this week.

THE UGLY: Be Best, First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative

Any time the President or first lady become news, polarizing comments tend to fly. As such, I’m not going to comment on politics or administrations, except where design and content are concerned. That said, this logo is an absolute mess.

Melania allegedly designed the logo herself, “because she likes clean lines and wanted something that would appeal to children.” As much as the design world hates on Comic Sans, it would have been a much better choice for this logo, which contains no clean lines, and although it appears as if a child wrote it, I’m not sure how much appeal to said children it holds.

In full disclosure (and where it gets sticky), former first lady, Michelle Obama’s initiative (along similar lines) was called Be Better, so the right away, the name raises suspicion (and some people’s hackles.) It’s about the least flattering name one could choose if they want to distance themselves meaningfully from the previous administration’s policies. Then comes the fact that the website offered a brochure for download claimed to have been written by Melania, which was proven to have been authored by the Federal Trade Commission (sans the foreword that was written by Melania) during the previous administration. It all adds up to Be Bad, Be Worse, Be Worst, and that’s about all I can say about it, although in parting, it does remind me a bit of this…

About Robert W Williams

Robert is a Brand Alchemist specializing in archetypal analysis and strategy. When he's not blogging for Special Modern Design & Logos With Soul he works his magic at

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