One way to subvert the sleek, unctuous image of corporate greed is to mess shamelessly with company logos–distorting, fragmenting, and distressing the symbols that are synonymous with capitalism. Well, that used to be the case back in the 1990s, before companies decided to stop being square and learn how to do the subverting themselves, in the name of “cool.” (See Thomas Frank’s seminal book, The Conquest of Cool, for more on that phenomenon). Today, even big players like Nike often take risks with their brand mark, enlisting designers to twist their identities to the point of near-illegibility.
Los Logos 6, Gestalten’s latest catalog of brand marks, compiles some of the best offerings of so-called glitch logos from a global roster of type designers. (For our rundown of old-fashioned logos, go here.) Many of them wouldn’t have been made (or even imagined) without the computer, which serves not only as a valuable tool but–through its idiosyncrasies, foul-ups, and pixellated renderings of reality–a source of visual inspiration. “Influenced by the brash look of lo-res JPEGS, the crazy randomness of Google searches and the incredible archive of cultural weirdness that is YouTube, some logos … appear as displaced digital errors, self-cancelling snippets, that celebrate flawedness with a certain post-punky boldness,” the authors write.
The logos we’ve chosen to show here challenge branding conventions while still adhering to baseline readability.