The old Kia logo was pretty legible:
Image: Mark Bishop on Unsplash
Alas, the new Kia logo (redesigned in 2021), not so much:
This graphic design disaster means that "Despite being aesthetically pleasing, our survey has found that most people are unable to recognize the letters in the new KIA logo," writes automotive brand experts Rerev. This comes nearly two years after the new logo has been in circulation. All told, just 56% of the 1,062 survey participants nailed it, while 44% could not correctly identify the letters. Furthermore, 26% of respondents guessed it says "KN"—which results in roughly 30,000 online searches for "KN car" a month, according to Rerev.
"The survey highlights the importance of conducting thorough market research when designing a logo. Companies should ensure that their logos are easily recognizable to their target audience in order to effectively convey their brand message."
"While KIA has likely done an extensive amount of research on how people perceive their logo to shape their brand identity, our research shows the brand has fallen short. These findings are surprising given the amount of time and resources that companies typically put into designing their logos. A logo is often a key part of a company's brand identity, and is meant to be easily recognizable to consumers."
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I wouldn't want to drive a car with the old logo. New logo, love it, would purchase.
There's a TSB from the Autopian for this;
Epic typography failure. Brand recognition is the key purpose of a logo or badge on a car and this is a failure in every sense. It also looks like it was designed by a robot who knows nothing about humans, or eye-sight. I suspect we'll see a new Kia logo pretty soon.
Who would have realized there were so many dyslexic people looking for cars - 26%. Solution, don't change the logo, just add a new KN car brand to link to their site.
This logo kicks ass compared to the old one -which looked like an outdoor camping lean-to company. The Maserati logo is a trident, the Mercedes is a peace sign. Do you think people search for "peace-sign car"? Cmon people! Please let's encourage good design and stop finding reasons to point fingers at anything that new, and isn't obvious on the first take. A double-take is a good thing.
I never looked up the logo wondering to what car the logo belonged, instead thinking, for about a month, that there'd been a big increase in Nine Inch Nails fandom.
The fact that it's so different from the old logo- even to the point of being unrecognizable- is exactly the point. In a year or two, anyone who who cares will know exactly what this logo means. In the meantime they are producing some really desirable cars. The Telluride and EV6 are both really good-looking and popular, and the logo fits them great. I think it's going to help Kia redefine their brand. I don't see this 'study' or the google results (a fraction of a percentage of searches for Kia) as damning at all.
Try asking people in 1990 what the Toyota logo spells. "Oo?" "Y?" "OY?"