When a brand is performing well, its logo is the ultimate symbol of success. When a brand fails and ceases to exist, the poor logo becomes an eternal reminder, haunting its previous owners who once were so proud to show it off. Businesses fail every day, even more so in the current economic climate, with even multi-national companies being threatened with the possibility of bankruptcy. Some of the larger well-known brands that ceased trading have logos that will allow some of us, possibly as former users of the products or services, to reminisce about times gone by as we were once used to seeing them on a daily basis. Below is a collection of logos from defunct brands that you will no longer see in use:
When SeaFrance, one of the biggest ferry operators between France and England, was liquidated at the start of 2012, this logo sank to the seabed quicker than you can shout ‘TITANIC!’.
Unbelievably, Royal Mail spent a whopping £2m trying to send this rebrand to the four corners of the UK as the new identity for The Post Office Group. That’s one very expensive stamp, and I can’t imagine that much of that budget was set aside for the design of logo due to it’s uninspiring spiral mark. This logo was eventually cosigned as ‘Return to Sender’ in 2002 due to a very strong public backlash, just over a year since the rebrand was officially put into practice.. It goes to show that rebranding a company that is over 500 years old is a very sensitive project.
At it’s height, Borders had over 500 bookstores worldwide but eventually turned the page on it’s final chapter in 2011.
Not Twitter. Tweeter, an electronics retailer giant founded in Boston, finally pulled the plug on operations in 2008. I think it would be hard for a brand with such a name to survive in the current social-media reliant age we live in today so it was probably for the best.
This logo (or should I say these logos), probably reminds people of misery more than most. They also mark the end of an era. MG Rover was the last British owned car manufacturer to operate on British shores, just a few miles away from the down with design office. After the company became defunct in 2005, the value of existing MG or Rover vehicles plummeted.
News Of The World
We all know how this headline story finished so I’ll just say that the majority will be glad to never see this logo in print again.
Another vehicle manufacturer based in Birmingham, United Kingdom (can you notice a pattern?). Aston Villa supporters will probably either love or loath this logo as it adorned their official kit between 1998 and 2000.
World Championship Wrestling
80’s babies will remember this logo as the alternative to the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, which finally elbow dropped it’s main competitor, WCW in 2001.
Another classic tale which doesn’t need much emphasis, though it is probably the biggest disaster on this list. Employing over 20,000 people, Enron, also became defunct in 2001. You may be surprised to know that it’s logo was designed by Paul Rand.
You may be confused in thinking that this company still flies the airways today but Swissair and Swiss International Air Lines are two different companies. Here is an interesting article on the evolution of the Swissair logo.
Pan Am World Airways
If you are lucky to be young enough not to remember this brand then you could be forgiven for thinking that it could have connections with basketball. Pan Am World Airways was the largest airline in the US up until its demise in 1991.
Another logo that you may not be familiar with but have probably seen many times before. Orion Pictures, a movie production company which went under in 1998 was responsible for big screen hits such as Robocop, Silence of the Lambs & Dances With Wolves.
Factory Records was an independent record label responsible for releases by recording artists such as Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays. The label eventually ceased in 2007 when its founder, Tony Wilson died of a heart attack. I think this has to be one of my all time favourite logos due to it’s sheer simplicity.
Trying to remember the brand name of a major worldwide company based in South Korea that ceased operations in 1999? That’ll be the Daewoo. You can be forgiven for not remembering it as it’s quite forgettable, though the type does remind me of the Kenwood logo, possibly due to the treatment on the ‘W’.
Pay ‘n Save
The Washington based retail chain, Pay ‘n Save finally cleared it’s shelves in 1992 after recording huge losses.
If you enjoy looking at old logos you may be interested in this flickr account which has the largest collection I have seen online. I am unsure whether any are still in use but they are fun to look at anyway.