Awkward Logos in the Wild

Everyone (or at least, every designer) loves a good “logos gone wrong” selection. Most of them are just unintentionally dirty or besmirched by awkward kerning, but they’re always a good reminder of why you should always show your work to others before finalizing, just in case there’s a visual you might be missing. (And turn it upside down, too, just to make sure.)

So, to follow up on last week’s post about design in transit systems, I thought I’d post a little tidbit I came across in Dubrovnik.

I’d just landed in town, ready for a new language, new currency, and new adventures. I’d had about four hours of sleep, stretched out on a bench in the neon-lighted bar of the ferry from Italy to Croatia, and I was wandering about, trying to orient myself, with a backpack the approximate size and weight of a bear strapped to my back. I head toward what looks like it might be a cash machine and I come across this delightful sign:

Bizarre signage in Croatia
Don't play with guns, alright, kids?

Okay, so who designed this logo, and what is HVIDR-a? The handicapped gun club? A grim warning against playing with guns? An aggressive claim to the juicy parking spots? Doesn’t being in a wheelchair get you out of conscription?

After a bit of a Google-hunt, turns out it’s the Croatian Disabled Homeland War Veterans Association, which is an awfully long name for a rather serious organization. Civil war is still a fresh wound for countries in the former Yugoslavia—in Dubrovnik, you can still see where shells hit the walls, and you still can’t go off the marked paths in Sarajevo in case you accidentally set off a landmine. (Apparently you can also find Sarajevo Roses on the streets, but I didn’t actually see any while I was there.)

Given all that, I really do suspect they could do with a slightly more… tactful logo.