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The top insurance brokers in the world have awful logo designs!

When you think of insurance brokers – especially those who make it to the top 100 in the world, you expect them to have slick and impactful logos, stunning branding and beautiful websites. When we looked at the top 20 insurance brokers in the world from the list put together by Business Insurance, we were appalled. (You can see the full chart here). You can also see some good ones in this collection.

With all the billions of dollars that these brokerage firms deal with, I can not understand how they do not invest in having brand identities that match their stature and communicate to the world the right message.

Here are the top 10 culprits and their horrible logos.

1. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is a US-based global insurance brokerage and risk management services firm headquartered at the Gallagher Centre in Itasca, Illinois. The firm was established in 1927 and is the third-largest insurance broker in the world. Ranked #3 on the top 100 Insurance Brokers list from Business Insurance, you can clearly see how bad their logo is. What is the G superimposed on the globe? If G stands for Gallagher, then what happened to the A? The color of the letter contrasts with the pale blue globe in an unsettling way!

2. BB&T Insurance Services

BB&T Insurance Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of BB&T Insurance Holdings, Inc., a BB&T Corporation Company. It is the fifth largest Insurance Broker by revenue in the United States and sixth largest in world. The core logo of the BB&T is quite poor with the serifed letters all bunched up close to each other. The logo looks like an error on a word document with no room to breathe or create any sort of impact on the audience. Some might say that it is perhaps by design that this logo is the way it is, but I disagree. There is no excuse for bad kerning.

3. Brown & Brown Inc.

Brown & Brown, Inc. is a provider of insurance and reinsurance products and services to general business, corporate, governmental and quasi-governmental, institutional, professional, trade association and individual clients. This firm is ranked #6 in the world and the logo like a real estate company affiliated with ReMax. Yet again you see the crowded interlacing of two letters that definitely do not fall under the category of design, let alone a brand mark.

4. Lockton Companies Inc.

Lockton Companies Inc. is the world’s largest privately-held insurance brokerage firm, providing insurance, risk management, and employee benefits solutions. Right off the bat, to me, the logo looks like a rip-off of the Lexus “L” mark. Then there is the bizarre integration of the L into the globe. When you come to the name of the logotype, you notice horrendous kerning with the letters all touching each other. Especially bad are the letters C and K which when scaled down look illegible.

5. Hub International Ltd.

HUB International Limited is an insurance brokerage providing an array of property, casualty, risk management, life and health, employee benefits, investment, and wealth management products and services across North America. This is another example of an old and tired-looking logo that strongly resembles another famous brand mark. In this case, this icon looks very similar to the Samsung logo and one can easily mistake this brand to be a subsidiary of Samsung or even Whirlpool!

6. Alliant Insurance Services

With a history dating back to 1925, Alliant Insurance Services is one of the nation’s leading distributors of diversified insurance products and services. Alliant’s logo while looking clean, actually looks quite unsettling – probably because of the opposite directions that the icon and the lettering slant out to. Some may question my motives for including this logo in this list of awful logos but for a company dating back to 1925, I expect a better identity mark.

7. Towers Watson & Co.

Towers Watson & Co. is an American global professional services firm. Its principal lines of business are risk management and human resource consulting. It also has actuarial and investment consulting practices. If I was listing these awful insurance logos rank wise then I would have listed this one right at the top. It truly is diabolic! Is it just me or does the logo mark look like someone’s bottom? The W looks pretty bad and the cross dash on top to represent the head of the T-letter is a pathetic effort at design! I do like the color though but that is the only thing going for this excuse of a logo.

8. CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services

With over 100 offices and over 4,000 associates in major metropolitan areas and suburban cities throughout the U.S. CBIZ delivers top-level financial and employee business services to organizations of all sizes. I am not sure if CBIZ has forgotten about its logo for over 30 years or perhaps it was meant to look like something from the 80s but this is one awful-looking logo. Digging a little deeper I learned that CBIZ did go for a rebranding initiative sometime around 2005 which included a brand name change from Century Business Services to CBIZ. What I do not get is the beak-like thing in the icon. Is that the top of the letter Z?

9. J. Smith Lanier & Co.

As one of the oldest insurance brokerage firms in the United States, J. Smith Lanier & Co. leads the industry through unparalleled specialization in the management of business, alternative risk, employee benefits, and personal insurance needs. But you surely know why I have included this logo in this list. The stacked letters in the icon are terrible and give the design a very unbalanced look. On top of that, the disparity between the icon and the text beside it looks like a copy and paste job. What are they thinking?

10. Integro USA Inc

Integro Insurance Brokers is a global, multi-specialty risk management and insurance broker, passionately committed to designing extraordinary risk solutions. You will surely agree with my that this logo is quite poor. The square that represents the icon and the letter “i” placed crowded into the corner makes no design sense and the overall feel is that of a design that has been chopped off and incomplete. The hunter green color does not help either but that could probably be excused. Why does a global insurance firm believe that they can get away with this ridiculous logo? Even small investment advisory companies, like this client of ours, are investing in getting professional branding created!

Bad Logos and their unintended consequences

Bad Logos come in all shapes and sizes. Some are naturally better than others, some have unintended consequences and can be considered as bad logos. Designing logos is a long process where numerous designs are made thought through and remade, making a fine finished product. Sometimes these logos can convey a different message than the intention.

Most of us have seen a bad logo that may have had representations other than what was intended. Sometimes these work well, sometimes not. The intention and implementation can be different from time to time. A picture of a flame may inadvertently produce the image of a skull, or a slogan could have a double meaning. A good example of this would be “Steel Erections, We’ll Get You Up”.

While this may be humorous, because it is a contracting group, it could turn off prospective clients. Others, on the other hand, might find enough humor in the name and slogan to give the company a chance. This can be used in web design differently, as web sites can target an audience more specifically than brick and mortar establishments.

Websites with double meaning should be noted quickly and the name should be used strategically or not at all. Use everything possible in design to make the appearance of intention. The appearance of intention gives the website a more cohesive feel, and small jokes can be used, rather than dismissed by an audience as mistakes.

In bad logos, however, if a second meaning can be found in the logo, be sure it conveys the same message as the original logo. When someone sees a bad logo, and a joke can be made about it, the joke will almost certainly spread across the internet. Being the brunt of a joke can garnish a number of public relations but does not necessarily turn into revenue.

A few examples of poor logo decisions can be seen in any town or city and are usually a result of plagiarised logos. These are bad logos which are vague about the business, with a slogan that may or may not clarify the logo. If you cannot describe either the name or the business type from the logo, it is most likely not doing the job it was intended for. A few common mistakes can be trying for too much detail, making the logo’s intention unclear. Another major pitfall is too much color. It is suggested to stay with no more than 3 or 4 strong colors, be sure they do not blend together. Each portion should be distinct, remember this is part of an entire business image.

While a logo may be memorable, it may not be good. A logo is intended to give a feel and face to a company for people who are otherwise unfamiliar with it. A frog drinking a beer would be memorable, but if it did not enhance the Budweiser image which had been worked on for over a century, it would have failed in some instances. They set up the Budweiser frogs saying “Bud” “Wei” “Err…” which set up further use of the frogs as a logo, in addition to the Budweiser logo.

The point of this post, in a nutshell, is to get web and logo designers to think about logos from a consumer’s perspective. This should help when making decisions on bad logos as well as give a strong perspective for other kinds of marketing.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & Creative Director of Logo Design Works. Since 1998, Mash has helped thousands of businesses express their brand messages through creative and award winning logo designs.