Bad Logo Fix #2: Custom Technologies Plus

Russell Wadlin
Nov 3, 2019 · 5 min read

So many bad logos, so little time. This is only my second Logo Fix but I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit guilty. I can’t help but feel bad for speaking critically about these bad logos because I have no doubt that someone, probably not too different than me, invested (at least some) time and effort into making them. But, it’s my duty to leave the world a better (looking) place, and duty calls.


The Bad

I’ve been driving by this sign for years. The first time I read it in my head it the pronunciation sounded like “WHOOSH! ustom Technologies Plus.” Then I realized that the boomerang thing was supposed to be a C.

Ugh.

I mean really, what is that thing? Is it supposed to be some type of object that is referential to custom or technologies or plus? It reminds me of old video games. They were always using these crescent shapes for projectiles, explosions, and whooshes.

Wait for it…

Ahhh, memories.

Unfortunately for Custom Technologies Plus, I don’t think they are going for a retro video game thing. Honestly, I don’t know what they’re going for. Needless to say, using that whoosh thing as the C decreases readability. It’s really hard to pull off this technique. I rarely even try. Leave it to the pros.

We should be able to rely on a symbol within a logo to help explain or identify the business. In this case, the symbol doesn't help explain anything and it makes it confusing. So, our next option is the business name. Oh, guess what? That doesn’t help either. A problem that I consistently experience is that people want a great logo, but have a HORRIBLE name. Yall, we need to start considering what we call ourselves when we start businesses. The name that you and your users call the business is one of the fundamental pieces of your brand. DO NOT HALF-ASS IT. Please, try to make it catchy and simple. If not, then at least make it descriptive! Custom Technologies Plus is too ambiguous to me. Electrical Design & Service is slightly better. It’s at least somewhat descriptive, but still very ambiguous. Both of them use many words to say very little. Why use both lines? Can we just use one of them? Actually, let’s experiment:

Custom Electric or Custom ElectricalCustom TechElectrical DesignElectriTech…or how about ZAP Design

Yeah, I know that those suck too. I’m just trying to make a point. None of those options are more descriptive, but they are shorter, punchier, and probably more memorable. A proper new name will allow the logo to be more evenly structured (balanced square vs. short and wide rectangle) and distinctive.

Okay, we’ve scanned the symbol and the name. What’s next?

Typography. I don’t know what font this is and I’m not going to spend time to figure it out. I do know that it’s not the right choice. It is neither custom nor technological (whatever either of those means to this business). But wait, there’s more. It’s a cornucopia of Photoshop effects. Bevel/emboss, inner glow, outer glow, drop shadow, I can’t even sift through all of them. For some reason, it reminds me of the early internet (not in the ironically cool way that is currently trending in design). I imagine that is exactly the opposite of what they want to portray.

I do not miss these days.

The first thing anyone could do to make this logo better would be to simply remove all of the effects. It’s cool that you know how to use Photoshop, but please exercise some restraint. If you need the effects for the logo to work, like a drop shadow because there’s not enough contrast, then rethink your logo design. You need a good foundation. If not, then there are no amount of Photoshop effects that can bring your design back to life.

An analogous example of a bad logo with too many Photoshop effects.

What did I do?

Well, first of all, I changed the name to Custom Tech. Why? Because this is a personal project and I can do whatever I want. But also because the original name sucks and it way too long — as we’ve already discussed. I wanted something shorter. I used a plus sign for the T in Tech, so the Plus from the original business name is still there in spirit. Really, all I dropped from the original name was the nology from Technology.

For logo design, I always start with type. Type is the foundation of a logo’s design, so I always start there. An obvious choice for this Bad Logo Fix is a typeface that is modern or cutting edge or reflective of technology. I went with OCR A, a monospaced typeface. Cliche? Yes. Tech? Yes.

And finally, just to add one too many tricks, and to dive deeper into cliche, I added a cursor placeholder. Perfect for a micro animation thing.

Of course what kind of designer would I be if I didn’t meticulously customize it in ways that no one (except myself and other designers maybe) will ever notice?


To sum up, I took this turd from makes-me-mad-everytime-I-see-the-sign to the cliche technology-means-the-matrix-we’re-cool-hackerz. So, it’s better now.

Russell Wadlin

Written by

A designer trying to write. www.russellwadlin.com

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