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Hey all. My boyfriend needs a logo for an online/home business building custom saltwater fish tanks, and I happen to be a graphic designer.

I only have 3 or so years of experience, so I guess you could say I'm still a newbie and really feeling stuck on this. I want it to have the whole modern/retro, artistic/grungy look you always see on dribbble and stuff. I love those logos, and I really want it to be an eyegrabber to help get attention to his business.

First, the name "bad habitats" is something I helped him come up with and he really liked it. Bad is meant as cool or dope, habitats - obviously a home for fish.

The attached image is a screenshot of my progress which is nowhere near complete. All the different versions of "bad" and "habitats" are not fonts but my own hand lettering that I was mixing & matching.

  1. Do the lettering styles match the idea?
  2. Does the cracked tank fit the whole concept of "bad/cool"?

I dont want it to look like its meant to represent poor or unsuitable habitats lol.. I want it to express the exact idea of "cool fish homes".. not sure if what I have here is aiming towards that.

  • 11
    The name Bad Habitats itself very, very strongly suggests “poor, unsuitable habitats” to me, especially with the broken fishbowl. I would never in a million years guess that this was bad in the sense of ‘good’. Badass Habitats would be much more unambiguous, but of course also much more likely to cause offence with purists (whether that’s a problem or not, I of course don’t know). Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 0:53
  • I had the same feeling at first but, the name grew on me. We came up with it with the idea of bad habits and decided bad habitats. Anyway a little more info on the business. One point being that bad habitats is not only referring to the tanks but also the growing deaths of and damaged coral reefs. The business also encourages people to help out in saving the reefs by promoting tank breeding and coral propagation. Basically saving the reefs by not harvesting them any longer.
    – user51710
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 2:24
  • 3
    "Bad is meant as cool or dope" = while I 'get' it, I don't think most people would and would think just the opposite.
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 4:20
  • 2
    Also, while 'grunge' isn't wrong, I'm not sure it's right for this application. I don't want a grungy fish tank, for instance. Maybe explore some other ideas.
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 4:22
  • 1
    I personally don't associate those crack lines with a broken fish bowl but rather a large flowering pot such as those which office trees can grow in. Before moving on to read your post whatsoever I was able to "shoot from the hip" and guess without bias that the business has something to do with being literal tree-huggers. Sorry if this comment is terse but it was my honest impression without reading your full post and supporting comment. BTW, you should add your comment about the coral into your original question.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 14:19

6 Answers 6


Agree with Ryan that Bad habitats is not a very good name, especially when used with a prime example.

Maybe instead of a broken bowl you could use a badass fish? Like a grinning skeleton fish with a nose piercing? Together with the graffiti style text, this could work. This would hint more at the tongue in cheeck, but also at the dying off of fish and coral reefs. I guess.

Here are some examples from around the web:

Baddass Fish logo Bone fish enter image description here enter image description here


The upper "bad" font looks fresh and is legible, which is great. I would however consider using a cleaner font for "habitats". Since that is the focus of the company, making sure that part of your logo is crystal clear is definitely something worth exploring. Using one grungy and one clean font can build a nice level of contrast in your logo, encouraging the viewer's eye to travel around the entire form more (while using two grungy fonts could just wind up looking like a lot of noise, and overall ignorable).

I agree with Ryan about the fishbowl looking the wrong kind of bad. If you use an art element to represent a habitat, it should look awesome to help push that bad = good thing you're going for.

That said, using just text for your logo wouldn't be crazy if you want to ditch the habitat imagery all-together. Here are a few examples of text-only treatments that use two different font styles to for visual contrast:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  1. Do the lettering and style match the idea?

Lettering of Bad does. I like the Bad on the top the most though, but any of them are alright. The Lettering of Habitat not so much and I'd be concerned about how well it will reproduce in different contexts.

  1. Does the Fishbowl work?

Not even a little. Neither does the word Bad. Like Janus said Badass would be much clearer. It's going to be very difficult to convey in a logo that BAD means GOOD to a wide audience. A broken fish tank sure doesn't help. I would make the Fishtank look super modern and cool then change the name of the business to "Fresh Habitats" or "Badass Habitats" or something. "Bad Habitats" is an awful name, sorry.

Regardless to make the design more clear don't design a bad habitat as an actual terrible habitat. Design it as a good habitat, you did say it was "bad" like "good." So make it a good habitat, a badass habitat.

  • I had a bad feeling about the name. I guess you can't expect people in general to understand or interpret something the same way you do. and which version of habitats are you talking about? inside the bowl? or the green one? Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 1:53
  • @JenniferBrookeRoberts inside the bowl, didn't even notice the green one.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 1:54

I don't like anything. Not because I'm a hater but the name is wrong, the font is wrong and using a fishbowl is wrong as well especially to fish lovers (and by fish lovers, I'm not speaking of gastronomy.)

You can't use a fishbowl for saltwater fish. You can't use a fishbowl because it's probably the worst habitat for a fish. And you can't use a fishbowl because no matter how "mean" you want the logo to be, it says "bad" as in "negative" and to fish lovers, it sends the message of "polluted habitat" which is totally the opposite of the goal when keeping fishes. Only cheap pet shops sell goldfishes and betas in fishbowls, and they are despised by fish lovers usually. I have many aquariums by the way so I'm speaking from a customer point of view too.

The font is hard to read, especially the smaller text. Don't use 2 grungy/weird fonts, use one and make sure it's readable no matter the size. Remove that bar on the "d" of the first "bad" on your image. Why not use a normal stylish font and add grungy effects instead? If you plan to print that on stickers or vinyl, be aware that you'll probably need some thick font that doesn't have too many details.

The name can still be recycled although you'll need to put extra efforts to change the feel you're giving it with and the message you're sending with your graphics! As others suggested, avoid the fishbowl and aquarium images all together and use other stuff like pirates, seahorse with eye patch, sunken ship or something "mean", more rock'n'roll; something that says "sea." Your saltwater theme and "bad" are really disconnected right now and no one will know it's about high quality saltwater aquariums related services, which is usually targeting people investing a few thousands in their hobby!

AVOID fishbones too even though it may look cool as a tattoo. Avoid anything that means dead fishes or polluted water.

Sorry for these negative comments but sometimes these are way more helpful than the fluffy positive ones!


Concept: as others have pointed out "bad habitat" pluss broken fishbowl does not work. To me, the fishbowl does not really look like a fishbowl either, the rim looks more "ceramic-like" as does the crack.

There is nothing that says fish or living creatures, salt water, corals, or anything about environments either tiny in-your-house-scale or oceans.

So, calling it "bad habitats" would require a crazy clever logo to juxtapose the actual area of the company and the name to pull it off. Which I doubt is really doable. Besides, the company name will have to appear in text-only in a lot of places, and the whole bad=cool will likely vanish. With good imagery, you could pull off "badass habitats", "bad*** habitats" or "bad* habitats".

I agree that grunge is perhaps something you do not want. The examples PieBie posted are to me personally too much surfer/skater-wear, and though "stuff on dribbble" can be cool, there is the fact that it is often styles that fade, and then you are stuck with a company logo that looks dated.

You do not have to start brainstorming with a company name, it might well be a good idea to sketch logo ideas first (I believe it is bad, this idea many have that you cannot make logos before you have a name. Sometimes turning it the other way around might well be a good thing).


A few ideas...

  1. I don't think anything with bad in the name is going to help you here. Kind of seems like a parody or a joke instead of a real company IMO.

  2. Too much blank space. Logos should be able to change size and not become unreadable. For example, check out the google search "circular logo" and switch to pictures. Notice how most all of the top brands and logos fill in all of their blank space so that no point in the logo is boring to look at.

  3. Sort of similar to #1, a crack in a fish tank is going to give customers the idea that the tanks are going to fall apart.

Overall: I like the hand lettering instances: Both "Bad" s and the "Habitats" to the right. I think it may be best to rebrand a bit and keep this lettering if it fits the idea.

Last note. I see that a lot of people here are suggesting you switch to a profane name. I fully understand if you choose that but I would like to mention that I'm one of those people who purposely avoids businesses with similar names just because I find it offensive, regardless of the quality/price.

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