I thought we had managed to move away from the CEO’s ridiculous request on how to update our logo, but here we are again being asked to revisit it. Our current logo is well recognized, two colours and works well in a varieity of sizes and applications. It’s also our name which clearly indicates what type of services we provide and has been tweaked over the years to streamine and modernize it.
The CEO is admittedly not a designer but loves giving input into these types of projects. Often i wonder if he’s joking when he hands me a 20 year old brochure from his previous company and tells me to recreate it with our information. He is not and he’s like a dog with a bone until he gets what he wants then smirks and tells people to look at what was created and in a 5 minute monologue convinces the person how it was what we needed to get our message across.
We had a new visual identity created by a professional design company right before this CEO came on board. What they came up with was professional and modern and had a colour palette that softened the harshness of our logo colours and made it more welcoming which is what we needed. He obviously hates it because what he asks me to design is nowhere in line with that but i can usually work in something I don’t absolutely hate even though it’s not my favourite.
Anyway the logo he wants has a rainbow, a sun, a mix of ethnically diverse people along with multi coloured letters. We are not a daycare or anything to do with children or offer services just for those demographics of people that would be represented by these visuals. That is clipart, not a logo. The company who did the visual identity was approached and refused to touch it. My way of dealing with this is avoidance. I am going to say they need to hire a design company because this is out of my scope of expertise but really it’s because I am not going to be responsible in any way for this abomination.
Unfortunate, but not unusual. New people come in and want to prove they belong by putting their imprimatur on everything. That, or, it’s like dogs marking their territory.
That’s what I’d do.
This is just a comment about your CEO and not advice about your situation. But if the CEO of any company is that involved in providing specific advice and essentially art direction for their company’s logo, I’d be worried because IMO that means they aren’t focussing on doing what they need to do as a CEO to drive growth.
Just do it and it’s on them.
Say your piece and move on from it.
I would resign and look for another workplace. I made this mistake once (changing a design because a new boss thought he was a graphic designer) and totally regretted it.
Changing company logos (I.e. their identity) is tricky and can significantly confuse customers. The most successful companies rarely change logos. Take a look online at company logos compared side-by-side over time and see how it should really work.
My three stages of design philosophy:
- Will die for art
- Will compromise
- Will sell my soul for money
4. I don’t need the money that badly, so go ___k yourself
What stage are you in?
Judging from what you’ve written here and in your post from last November, you’re working for a company with a deeply embedded culture that doesn’t appreciate or understand good design, effective marketing or how to manage creative talent.
Unfortunately, you can’t change this. It’s an inherent part of the company’s personality. The company might be great at its core business and highly successful for all I know, despite its deeply rooted incompetence in other areas.
I’ve spent much of my career bouncing around to various companies and fighting against recalcitrant and inept managers and corporate cultures. Incremental success with them is possible, but it’s like pushing up against an insurmountable foam rubber wall. Making dents in the wall is easy, but as soon as you relax the pressure, the wall rebounds to its previous shape.
The people who succeed in these types of companies are those whose mindsets best fit the company. As a result, the entire company and everyone in it have the same inept approaches, assumptions, and personalities. As I said, you’re not in a position to change the company’s culture or the people working there.
As I see it, you have three choices.
Continue as you have been while fighting a losing battle against the existing situation. You’ll continue to be frustrated, and all you’ll likely accomplish are temporary incremental gains. You’ll take home a paycheck at the expense of never-ending frustration.
You can accept the current situation and learn not to care as much. You can concentrate on those projects where you have some control but bang out the other stuff without getting stressed. You can speak your mind, but in the end, do the unpleasant part of the work and smile about how you’re getting paid to produce garbage. In other words, you play into the system, superficially adopt their mentality, and take home your paycheck.
If you’re like me, neither of those options is palatable, bringing us to the third option: do whatever you can to find a job that fits your personality and appreciates what you offer.
The most fun and rewarding jobs I’ve had were in-house creative director roles where the CEO deferred to me on decisions within my area of expertise. Whether or not the CEOs knew anything about design or marketing didn’t matter. What did matter was that they hired me, supported me, and trusted me to do things they knew they weren’t qualified to do themselves. Those kinds of CEOs are rare since they typically have oversized egos and believe their judgment on all issues is infallible. However, if you look hard enough, you can find companies with leaders who are smarter than that.
I wouldn’t resign. Just do what’s asked of you. That’s the job.
Like any other clients. If they want flying green pigs playing harp over a moon rainbow wearing togas and capes with giant p on their chest then just do it.
You don’t win against the hierarchy.
Advise against it.
Reverse it 6 months later.
Just-B is right again, with his third option. Listen to him. His way was my way for all my 50-years as a creative professional and he’s right—-there are more businesses out there who genuinely appreciate us and let us do what we do best.
It’s scary I know, to venture out, especially if you have a family to take care of. But you can and will find those who appreciate your skills. And believe me, they are looking for you right now!
Yikes! That sounds like a tough position to be in.
Your method of dealing with it sounds good.
I think the right thing to do would be articulate your concerns in a discret manner that you’re worried it could damage the already established brand and hurt the business if you were to do it - this however, comes with the risk that if he’s pig-headed enough he might try to get rid of you.
Have you checked your CEO’s linkedin, how regularly do they change jobs?
That’s a miserable position to be in – and it is exactly why I work for myself.
The only thing you can do is state your case, using terms a CEO should respond to, like a solid brand being 15-20% of the value of a company (much more in some cases). This came from a conversation with a lawyer specialising in that area.
If your CEO’s ego is larger than his duty to the company, leave. Do it on your own terms. Don’t make a fruitless emotional gesture and die on the hill. Quietly start looking for something that doesn’t eat away at you every day.
If you find yourself belly-aching about it every day to your partner at the breakfast table, change it. Life’s too short to be constantly annoyed by someone else’s over-inflated ego.
Thank you all for responding. It gave me a lot to think about, and made me realize just how ridiculous the whole work situation is, not just this logo issue. I received each of your replies through email and it said
I could reply by responding to each eamil. I hope that actually worked. I thought it would post each reply here but I dont see any of them. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. Long story short: I need to find a new job with hopefully a more uplifting enviornment and actual competent leadership. Been saying this for a while now so I hope this is the year it actually happens.