It Sounded Good Initially
About ten minutes from my house on a certain street in a certain suburb there is a certain cafe that shall remain nameless. A couple years ago this cafe went through a complete overhaul. They changed their food, they got a new coffee machine, they renovated the building. They also rebranded themselves. Since then I have trouble going there on a regular basis. Mind you, this isn't because of their food or their coffee. It's because I want to say something, but I don't know how to say it.
Imagine this scenario. You're sitting at home, watching tv, enjoying the peanut butter and banana sandwich you finished making only moments before you realise you are out of milk. Now you have to settle for juice...which just isn't the same (that part isn't really relevant to my point, but still, I hate when that happens). Your wife walks through the front door, shopping bag in hand. "You'll never believe the deal I got!", she says as she goes on to relate to the story of finding her new shoes, repeatedly mentioning how much she loves them. Then she shows them to you. And while you understand how they might have looked good in the shop window, the reality is they just don't suit her. You want to tell her that without hurting her feelings, but the problem is that there really is no way to do that without seeming like a terrible husband because she's so proud of her new purchase. So instead you smile sheepishly, do your best to fabricate some enthusiasm, congratulate her on her bargain and hope she either comes to her senses or gets tired of them quickly.
I'd like to point out that the above scenario is completely hypothetical and is not based on any previous (or possibly future) personal experience as I would surely never think such a thing. Also, Honey, if you're reading this, I love your shoes.
Anyway, it's that same situation...except it's not shoes. It's a logo.
My issue isn't that the logo is ugly, because it's not. It's nice and clean and it's a huge improvement over their old look. My issue is that the logo doesn't work for them and I'm concerned that this is costing them business. And the reason is because the logo breaks my biggest rule for logo designs. That rule is "no initials".
Their logo shouts in big bold letters "BDC" (name has been changed) and then in small, thin letters below it says "Bubba's Danish Cart" (name has also been changed). The problem is that when you see this from the road you don't think "Hey, there's a cafe! I could sure go for a coffee!" You instead think something along the lines of "Hey, there's an accountant's office. I'll keep that in mind for when I need my taxes done". So I can't help but wonder how much business would they gain if their logo didn't contain cryptic initials which made them look like an accounting firm.
There's a similar situation with a place in Adelaide, whose name I will not change, because their name (once you actually know it) is awesome and because everyone needs to go there right now. Their name is Downtown HDCB. As you can see in the photo, it's not that clear as to what they actually do. The tragedy is that, because of their logo, I walked past this building for roughly a year before finding out that HDCB actually stands for Hot Dogs Cold Beer. After which point my mind was blown and my world was changed. Go there. Seriously.
So don't leave people guessing. Don't hide behind initials. Initials in your branding may have a nice ring to them, but chances are you're unwittingly confusing the hell people...possibly even depriving them of hot dogs and beer. No one wants that.