These surreal ‘logo misuse’ sections are hilarious, and they’re going viral

If you want to use YouTube‘s logo on your product, Google officially warns you not to change its color, blur it, bend its name, or write out the logo in Comic Sans. Those are very real, very serious violations under YouTube’s brand guidelines, and to demonstrate the point, YouTube even created several incorrect logos to prove why they shouldn’t be used.

Don’t laugh. When was the last time you misspelled “YouTube” as “YouTubey” on your website?

YouTubey Common Errors YouTube

XOXO Festival co-founder and former Kickstarter CTO Andy Baio grabbed the internet’s attention this week after he shared logo misuse warnings for brands such as YouTube, Slack, Twitter, Spotify, and Sandals. That’s for a reason: The guidelines take themselves way too seriously while messing around with some of the most iconic companies and organizations in the U.S.

For instance, one misuse photo from Spotify warns readers not to rotate the logo or apply a gradient, catching their eye with an all caps “NO.” It’s like Spotify is an unhappy parent that caught you, the lowly graphic design intern, messing around with their precious family heirloom.

LinkedIn and the University of Michigan both have their own bizarrely cartoony takes on their logos, which will destroy any ounce of respect and dignity you had for their images.

Slack, meanwhile, is very, very possessive of its new octothorpe (or “penis swastika,” as Boing Boing describes it).

Some Twitter users now believe the octothorpe is a Lovecraftian monster bent on the mortal plain’s destruction.

Slack even hopped into the thread to defend its octothorpe’s honor.

Meanwhile after Adam Conover of Adam Ruins Everything fell in love with Twitter’s section, Baio posted Twitter’s most recent brand guidelines with all of its incorrect examples. That post boils down to “our logo ain’t a bird, it’s Twitter, and keep it up-to-date, pal.”

Baio even came up with a joke version for the metal band Korn.

For the record, Baio’s tweet is doing pretty well for itself. After he kicked off the thread on Wednesday evening, the first tweet scored more than 2,000 retweets and 7,000 likes by Thursday morning. Some users even chimed in with their own takes on logos and misusing them.

In conclusion: Do not fuck around with brands’ logos. You will go to jail.

Update 11:57am CT: When reached for comment on Thursday, Baio told the Daily Dot that he came up for the idea after he read through Slack’s full guidelines on the platform’s redesign. Baio said he “enjoys” reading through branding guidelines and that Slack’s logo misuse section “reminded me of how much I love seeing designers torture their own logos.” That led him to share his favorite examples.

“I didn’t expect it to blow up, but I think there’s something innately funny about the seriousness of these branding guidelines—the mix of artistic intent and legal enforcement,” Baio told the Daily Dot. “‘The integrity and effectiveness of our logo must not be compromised.’ And then they show it with dropshadows, goofy colors, and a sombrero.”

For the record, he believes the Slack redesign helped spread the tweet. He also enjoyed making the fake Korn guide.

“Pretty happy with the one I made for Korn,” Baio said. “They’re fun to make.”

Ana Valens

Ana Valens

Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.