Bad Logo Fix #1: Urban Air Trampoline Park

Russell Wadlin
Oct 20, 2019 · 5 min read

This is my first attempt at this. First time posting on Medium as well as first time doing a write up like this.

Originally, this was a simple feeler/test post on LinkedIn (I have like, 40 connections so it was hardly far reaching) to see if people would be interested. Surprisingly several people commented, so here we are. Honestly, I think people just love to hear how things could be better.

My plan is to identify and redesign some of the questionable logos I see in my day-to-day life.The main goal is to spend as little time as possible working and still end up with an improved, professional mark. It is meant to be a bit of an exercise for me as well as a demonstration that even a slight effort can make a big difference in the way something is percieved. Speed is the game, so these will NOT be masterpieces. In fact, I’m sure they will often be off-target and cliché. It’s completely a personal project, so there will be many liberties taken. No rules except for get it done as quick as possible.

Think of me as part of a Design chaingang. I’ve done the crime so now I’m doing the time. My punishment: to scan the visual landscape and clean up the garbage that’s scattered around. Some design icon from the past once said something about leaving the world a more beautiful place (I should probably remember who it was, but I suck). So, here I am doing my duty.

Logo Quick Fix #1: Urban Air Trampoline Park

I saw this while driving the other day and died a little on the inside.

I nearly drove off the road because I could not stop staring. Just, so many questions. After some quick Googling, I learned that these trampoline parks are actually a franchise. So, this logo is displayed with gigantic signs on warehouses scattered throughout the country. Yikes.

The Bad

Let’s break this thing down. I’m going to start small and build up.

What’s the point of the orange oval?

Trampoline Park is centered to itself, but not the overall composition. To me, centered type is just so weird when it’s not centered with something else. It creates an awkwardness I’m not comfortable with in the context of a logo. Let’s just left align it. It looks like the ascender of the K in Park would even sit comfortably in front of the descender of the P in Trampoline.

Heirarchy. Can we make one thing bigger and the other smaller? We need some contrast. What’s more important, Urban Air or Trampoline Park?

The font. Geez, please, someone tell me I’m not the only person that perceives a generic graffiti font as juvenile. To clarify, I don’t mean juvenile in the good way, like youthful or lively. I mean that it’s patronizing, corny, and cringey like an old person trying too hard to be cool.

A conversation I just made up in my head:

“We want something cool because duh, the word urban is right there in the title! Urban means cool. Hey, graffiti is cool and urban, right? Let’s find a font.”

Shoots self*

Yes, I agree that graffiti can be “cool,” but using that font introduces many problems. First, legibility could be better. If we’re going to use a highly stylized font like this, let’s make the name use the overall realestate of the logo more efficiently. This will help preserve brand name legibility at long distances and at small sizes.

Space. Consider that there is more negative space in the dot of the I than there is in the A‘s. Speaking of the I, what’s with the huge gap between the I and R? That tittle (fancy name for the dot of the I) is really commanding some influence. The style of the font is already imperfect, so why not just nudge the I up a bit so the R can be tucked in?

Lastly, consider that one of graffiti’s fundamental characteristics is that it’s performed by a human hand. Each letter and each stroke are unique and slightly imperfect. It’s human. Using this font might be forgivable if there weren’t repeating letters, but “Urban Air” has two A’s and two R’s. We easily become aware that this is not graffiti, but an ill attempt at coolness. Admittedly, the A’s don’t give it away. One is a capital and one is lowercase, so by luck we have two different A’s. HOWEVER, there are two R’s and unfortunately, in this font, the R’s are flourished. Not only are they literally the same but they are so expressive and unique that they demand attention. Essentially the biggest flaw with the font is highlighted. Bummer.

What did I do?

Well, quite simply, I reverted to my go-to style and some cliches.

I used a legible typeface (DIN), set in italic (motion). Sans serif typefaces are “cool,” and urban means cool, right?

Next, it’s my trying-too-hard attempt at coolness. I dropped the A in Urban. Fashionable but also functional. Shortening the name makes the overall composition more square, which is a more efficient use of the space, which helps legibility at small sizes.

Oval? Nah. Square? YUP. I made the orange border a story-telling element by making it a rectangle. Now, it mimics the shape of the trampolines and pads repeated throughout the park. I’m a genius!

And, for the cherry on top, the visual trick . The dot of the I is getting sick air!

In summary, it went from sucksville to sucktown. It’s still corny. Still gimmicky. Still off target. But, I had some fun. Anything can be fancy if you set it in a sans serif and build it on a grid!

Russell Wadlin

Written by

A designer trying to write.

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