Last year, I had the chance to work at Nike for several months. More specifically, I worked in the Nike Golf division, primarily helping them design and produce some of their marketing collateral materials.

It was a great experience, and I was privileged to learn from some of the top marketing and design professionals working in the business today. My time in Beaverton, a suburb just outside of Portland where Nike's World HQ is located, got me thinking on just how it was that a lopsided checkmark could become one of the most instantly recognizable brands in the world and whose brand attribute has come to embody the sporting ethos.


It prompted me to write this post on my personal blog about just how powerful a symbol the Nike Swoosh has become. I called it Brand Hieroglyphics because just like ancient Egyptians, whose used pictographic icons to represent certain cultural concepts, some companies have succeeded in positioning their corporate logos to convey certain meanings in our collective consciousness.

For example:


So why is it then, with this in mind, that Real Estate companies’ logos are so universally bad?

I threw together a quick collective of Real Estate 1.0 and Real Estate 2.0 companies’ logos. With few exceptions I would argue that none of them communicate any tangible brand attribute.

Remax – Ugh. Crosshatched lettering makes this logo hard to read, overly busy and hard on the eyes.

Coldwell Banker – Unfriendly. Combine the word ‘Cold’ in the name and a Borg-like design and you might as well throw away the welcome mat.

Century 21 – Out of Touch. Retro font and design makes it feel like this company is stuck in 1968.

Prudential – Unoriginal, but somewhat effective. The Rock at least embodies some character: steadfast, resolute, etc. (Full disclosure: I work for a Prudential affiliate so I’m probably biased.)

Keller Williams – Clichéd. I chose KW to represent the thousands of brokers out there who jump lemming-like off the same design cliff. Will this industry ever move away from flowery scripts and people’s last names? – Uninspired. Not terrible, but I'm not sure what the Zorro-like slash on the house is supposed to tell me. – Weird. What is that thing, a parking meter?

Aside: Both Zillow and Trulia really need to jump off the Flickr bandwagon and lose the Beta designation from their logos. It’s one thing to have hack together a new web application, float it to your friends and call it a Beta – but when you have millions of dollars in VC money backing you, it just looks like a half-assed cop out.

Redfin – Boring. Not bad, it’s clean and simple and I like that. It’s just that that red house is plain-Jane boring.

I won’t even bother getting into the legions of home-grown designs that plague this industry. That’s one headache I’ll steer clear of. For now.

Can anyone point me to some good examples of Real Estate logos?

For the story of a great corporate logo redesign, read on about the secret in the new Fedex logo.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription