Logo design as a wasted asset, sadly is now appropriate.


Feeling dazed or confused, or being stunned or knocked out after getting hit in the head, is typically communicated visually by a “halo” of twittering birds or twinkling stars orbiting the head at or above eyebrow level as with Sylvester the Cat above. Sometimes it’s just circles whirling around the head. It is a visual representation of “seeing stars.” It is very common in cartoons. When a character gets bonked on the head, stars appear and orbit in a silly circle. The eyes may turn to stars as well and spin.

This visual technique of stars is frequently accompanied by audio. Bird sounds – especially those of a cuckoo clock are commonly added.

Is the Texans logo design now vindicated by this weird 2010 season?

A halo of twinkling stars is orbiting the Texan’s head like a stunned cartoon character. You can see it in their eyes. Star graphics and cuckoo clock sounds used this way are visual and audio signals that communicate meaning. Skilled graphic designers have used those elements very effectively for years.

Under-achieving Logo design.

To me there were three conspicuously curious elements to the Texans logo when it was revealed in 2002 which made it a weakened symbol. First, was a bull the most appropriate symbol to represent the city of Houston? Second, was it wise to use the most common color scheme used by teams in the NFL instead of a more distinctive color scheme and uniform design? And finally, why a the star in place of an eye in the bull’s head? It would symbolize a knocked out bull. Of course it is possible that Texan management may have been secretly, jealously “eyeing” the Dallas Cowboy logo, but it is probably a reference to the Lone Star State and the star in the Texas flag.

Nevertheless, who in management thought a knocked out bull would be a good symbol of the Houston Texans? This is what happens when decision makers and their design team do not fully understand how visual communications can support organizational goals.

Is this logo more appropriate in failure than success?

The 2010 season however has proven the choice to be dead-on accurate. After starting the season 20 with impressive victories over the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins on the road, the Texans have lost 8 of their last 9 games in the last minute of the game and four of them on the last play of the game in situations that can only be described as “flukes” – “One chance in a million” that they’d lose those games.

But they did. And this is an impressive, talented team sending 3 players to the Pro Bowl as starters: Adrian Foster, Andre Johnson and Vonta Leach. Foster is having one of the top seasons ever by an undrafted running back. He leads the NFL in rushing yards, scrimmage yards, points by a non-kicker and first downs, all of which are franchise single-season records. Foster also leads all NFL running backs with 594 yards receiving on 64 receptions, more than any Texans receiver except Andre Johnson who became the first player in NFL history to record eight consecutive seasons with at least 60 receptions to start a career. Leach, like Foster, was undrafted out of college and was signed by the Texans off Green Bay’s practice squad in 2006.

The team had credible hope to log their first 10-game winning season and some picked them to win their division. Now they will be hard pressed to stop the losses at 10 games. Fans want coaching staff changes.

Yes, the Houston Texans are dazed and confused. And it is accurately represented in their logo design. But with visual communications, seemingly minor design elements can make dramatically different statements. See below. Comments welcomed.


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24 Responses to “Logo design as a wasted asset, sadly is now appropriate.”

  1. alice says:

    great observation, thanks!

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  4. Emil Boege says:

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  5. Edgar Dominiak says:

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’ve learned more about branding than I knew there was to know.

  6. Noel Gilkey says:

    can you explain why the Texans logo viewed from the left side of the helmet looks odd?

  7. Ogami2456 says:

    Love your modified Texan’s logo! Small change but HUGE IMPROVEMENT. Would they use it?

  8. Cassaundra Dossie says:

    Yes, the Texan’s logo is more appropriate for a goofy team, not for a winner. Wonder who designed it.

  9. Andrew B says:

    Keep up the good posts, I like your blog. I learn a little more with each post. Wish you’d post more frequently.

  10. Robyn says:

    The information on this post is very handy. Thanks! You explained your logo evaluation in a very clear way. An experienced designer provides a really a valuable service for businesses and organizations. Navigating all the choices and opportunities and making the right one can be overwhelming but is really important. You don’t want a logo that is only moderately appropriate, you want one that’s 100% appropriate because that’s the only way to get maximum value from it.

  11. Ken Faber says:

    I’m amazed that sports management is usually so clueless about the power of a logo design. Amusing. Good post.

  12. G Woestek says:

    great post. Makes me thing about some of the other teams logos and how ineffective they are too.

  13. N Bowell says:

    Good post. Surprising how management is typically very naïve about visual communication.

  14. B Nathan says:

    well, it seems like a small thing but a logo that is appropriate would, in fact, add value. never realized that before. thanks

  15. G Nalic says:

    The Texans were probably on a tight budget and couldn’t afford a professional designer.

  16. Hogan Scarpe says:

    Logo design is an important part of building a company’s image or brand. The logo must have the necessary characteristics to represent the company’s characteristics and soul. Interesting post.

  17. Hogan Scarpe says:

    It is also important to know the target market and competitors. A logo which attracts the attention of teenagers might not attract the attention of senior citizens. Hence, the concept of a logo greatly depends on the target market.

  18. Leanna Tall says:

    Hello :D Steven, I simply wanted to tell you happy (late) thanksgiving :) , hope you’re having a good weekend. Another great post!

  19. Melissia Mozell says:

    your post uncovers how important are details in communication and reveals that even big companies often overlook them.

  20. Spoon9 says:

    Organizations need to learn how to capitalize on ALL their assets and that starts with RECOGNIZING each one.

  21. 1971Kaub says:

    Company management is ignorant of the potential value of a logo. They are financial people, they focus on numbers, they don’t recognize that it is either a liability or an asset. It’s a tough thing to measure but its impact is clearly real.

  22. Madaline Thurman says:

    Hello ! Il s’agit vraiment d’un extraordinaire article, je te remercie de l’avoir écrit. Bonne journée

  23. shanonsear says:

    A company’s logo can be as important as its name. Sometimes more important.

  24. camisetas says:

    marcada !!, A mi me gusta !

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