the graphic design blog that speaks the truth

Perhaps one of my favourite subjects related to graphic design is Semiotics. For those not familiar with the term here’s a quick definition from Wikipedia:

Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of sign processes (semiosis), or signification and communication, signs and symbols, both individually and grouped into sign systems. It includes the study of how meaning is constructed and understood.

It’s important to consider Semiotics when developing corporate identities. Does it have any negative meanings? Is there any unwanted hidden imagery included in the design? The aptly titled “The Worst Logo Ever” is an example of what happens when the designer failed to look hard enough.

Whilst writing a recent post I made on the new Pepsi Logo called “The New Pepsi Logo Loves Fat Guys”; I got thinking about the semiotics of recent online brands, in particular those of crowdsourcing design websites. Here are my findings:

99 Designs

Take a look at the 99designs logo. At first glance it’s pretty innocent, but what exactly does it stand for? I hazard a guess that it can only resemble the sketching process, but personally I feel it looks like one of the squares on a Bingo card. This would make sense as entering a design competition is likened to playing the lottery.



The site that most designers love to hate is Crowdspring, you can see their logo here. The little spring-like character obviously visually communicates the brand name but let’s look a little closer. Could it look like a jack in the box? What does this say about the users of the site? Or the site owners?

crowdspring copy


The Brandstack logo can be found on their website. Previously known as Incspring, Brandstack has come under fire due to users uploading poor quality spin-offs of already established brands. I think that the new logo definately portrays the word “stack” but what else could it mean? Can it symbolise the current trend of regurgitating brands that look slightly different through slight changes such as execution or colour?


Logo Tournament

Let battle commence in the roman ampitheatre of logo disputes. Seriously though, let’s take a look at the Logo Tournament logo. It may just be me but when I look at a gold elipse I instantly think of money. Could this be a subliminal message to users to try and encourage them to enter designs in the hope of winning a small prize? Maybe.

logotournament copy

What do you think of these logos? Am I being too analytical? Or did the brand owners fail to spot these flaws?



  1. 24/09/09
    10:53 am
  2. 09/02/10
    2:30 am
    jab, scorn, pick......enough design time wasted....I find these articles refreshing....
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