Lee, Capital One Bank
While my colleagues laud the aesthetic and symbolic effectiveness of their favorite logos, I wanted to use this forum to express my distaste, nay, unbridled rage, for what I consider to be the worst logo in the history of logos: Capital One Bank, aka “Cruddy Fonts + High School Corel Draw Swoop Bank.”
First, the cruddy fonts. Neither the blocky sans serif font nor the italic Times font on its own is particularly offensive, but put together, they constitute an absolute trainwreck. The heavy-light-heavy jump kills the continuity of the name, which is already weak to begin with.
Capital. Ok, banks are supposed to have capital, and given the insolvency of most major national banks these days, maybe it’s a good thing that “Capital” is in the name, and maybe it’s ok to put it in a chunky, 90′s-esque sans serif font to give it some heft. This bank as a lot of capital. I’m with it so far.
One. We’ve gone from heavy to light, nay, virtually weightless in the space of one word. This is the way you write “one” in the context of things you want to feel airy and ephemeral:
Just one calorie!
Just one minute for a light and tasteless snack!
Just one easy step to making your own crystal meth!
None of these sentiments are things you want to communicate to customers about a bank. Banks are supposed to convey stability, security, and largess, not “One calorie light yogurt” airiness and insubstantiality.
By the time we get back to the chunky, heavy “Bank,” it’s already too late. I’ve been thrown way too far off course to come back now.
But let’s pretend for the moment that this slight of hand worked and that I like the feeling of a solid, stable bank being chopped in the middle by an ephemeral piece of fabric softener. What’s this? A SWOOP? A LOPSIDED SWOOP with a CHEESY RED GRADIENT?
The swoop. Where do I begin? I could start with how it looks like a high school student just discovered the gradient tool and applies it indiscriminately to make things look “cool.” But even worse than the awful gradient fill is the whole damn shape. The dark red smudge at the bottom of the swoop awkwardly makes the swoop the only 3-D object in the logo. Two sharp points at the ends of the swoop seem to menacingly threaten to stab anything that comes close while also creating a gaping area of empty white space between the swoop and the words. A killing field for good taste.
Worst. Logo. Ever. ‘Nuff said.
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