Here at Novel Ways we take design very seriously, so we have decided to call out some of the worst parkour and freerunning logos out there.
The hands on approach our community has when facing challenges is one its best traits. However, this has also led to some awful homemade logos within the Parkour and Freerunning community. Let’s be clear that this is in no way a diss to the team or organisation behind these bad logos, which in most cases are very solid, but more just about calling out the bad logos that may be overdue for an update.
Before we delve into our list of the worst parkour logos, let’s first take a look at what we think makes a good logo.
2) Memorable and distinctive - A logo should be easily recalled after just a glance. It should be unique enough to stand out.
3) Aesthetic - is it visually appealing? Is it balanced? Does it draw you in?
4) Symbolism - A logo gets bonus points if can concisely represent what is stands for without having to write it out.
5) Versatility - A good logo should be effective when scaled into any size from a favicon to a billboard and across any format, be it web, print, garments or tattoos.
The APK logo looks like an amateur attempt at a bold logo style that is now outdated. The clash of lines and curves is crude and unbalanced. The kerning is awkward, though the part that irks our design sensibilities the most is the letter “k”. I can only assume that it is meant to represent a human figure with the dot inside the P being the head, however the body position that the figure is in is more representative of the QWOP man falling over backwards than anything else we can think of. It definitely does not represent a figure doing anything aspirational or similar to parkour, though it would probably make the the Ministry of Silly Walks proud.
The figure on their other logo is equally confusing. Again it does not appear to represent a person doing parkour in any conceivable way. By chance it actually looks closer to the Dam du Lac than a parkour figure, but if we were to guess we would say it was a geometric representation of Beyonce doing the Single Ladies dance.
This logo is far from the worst on the list but it makes the list because Adam Dunlap thinks it is fucking fantastic. He thinks it is so great that he has crudely stamped it over a multitude of bad t-shirts and mashed it incongruently into many stolen pop culture designs. It is often good for a logo to be simple but this one comes of looking too simple and undeveloped. It looks like an off-brand version of a two decade outdated Olympic logo. Maybe all of the budget was spent on buying other traceurs' domain names and he had nothing left to pay a better graphic designer.
French Freerun Family
When you first look at the French Freerun Family’s logo something feels immediately unbalanced with the imposing F dominating more than double the mass of the 3. When mashed together like some haphazard Katamari Damacy creation, neither character is allowed to express their full form. We lose both the strong straight line of the F as well as the bootlicious curves of the 3. Design-wise this pairing looks very much like a round peg has been forced into a square hole.
It is always a bold move to run with a 3-dimensional logo, especially because they can be so much harder to get right and there is just something about this 3D shape that does not quite look right to the eye. When combined with the 3-dimensional border, the perspective of this logo is slightly off and the more you look at, the more unnerving this becomes. It enters the uncanny valley of 3-dimensional shapes that are represented poorly in a 2-dimensional space. It also doesn’t help that this perspective seems to change between different incarnations of the same logo, yet neither is quite right.
While we love the ridiculously explosive athletes Pedro Salgado and Antonio Mojonero (Shifer), this is one of the more confounding parkour brands out there. Its name reads like a bad dad pun and we are still not exactly sure who or what Peter Parkour is despite their confusing hashtag. The logo itself appears slightly messy and complicated. It has dense text with an overlapping spider that makes the whole thing feel a bit cluttered and claustrophobic. The letter “T” gets some extra attention, being framed by the spider’s legs in the center of the logo and being the only letter with enough negative space around it to breathe, however I suspect it hasn’t any significance that warrants its emphasis besides being the middle letter of that word. It's like congratulating someone for being the middle child. The spider itself does not differentiate itself enough from the Spiderman logo that it is clearly copying so overall it gives the impression of a cheap imitation. Verdict: It bites.
Fluidity Freerun Academy/French Freerun Academy
This one gets a special double feature. If the Fluidity Freerun Academy logo existed in its own bubble, it would be not a bad design. However, it exists in our universe where there are already countless logos based on the idea of two Fs mirrored back to back. If you don’t believe me, go do a google image search for “ff logo”. It is such a common idea that there are at least 3 examples of it within the parkour and freerunning world itself. Tempest even started with a similar logo and to their credit as they expanded they updated it to something a little more unique.
The Australian Parkour Association
This logo was designed about a decade ago. Some logos age very badly. It now looks extremely dated and home-made. From the traceurs of Australia, please update your logo.
Best Parkour in the world
There is so much going on here that I’m not even sure where to start. So let’s just pick it apart piece by piece. This winged terror primarily fails because it is far too complicated to be an effective logo. But it goes much deeper. While the community is debating between baggy pants or tight pants, the guy in their logo is wearing flares. Let that one fact sink in for a moment. It is a very alienating faux pas that makes you think that they don’t understand or represent the community from the get go. It’s like that one guy who thinks it is appropriate to wear denim to a wedding.
When you look closer the geography on their world globe it has a more than a few alarming inaccuracies too. Firstly, we have the Statue of Liberty somewhere in the former Soviet Union and the Taj Mahal straddling Central and North America. So rather than building a wall, Mexico and the United States united to build a giant Taj Mahal in this odd fantasy. Africa has a significantly large new island sitting in the Gulf of Guinea and a land bridge seems to have have developed joining South America to Central America, creating a whole new inland sea. The biggest issue with this new development is that it renders the Panama Canal completely ineffective, completely blocking shipping routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, in turn crippling the world shipping industry which underpins much of our global economy. Verdict: 3 stars.
West Coast Family
You know your logo is hard to read when you have to routinely give it subtitles. I don’t mind this one as a graphic though it does not work as a logo.
Brisbane Parkour Association
And the award for the least legible parkour logo goes to… the Brisbane Parkour Association! We live in a time where most people try to hide the presence of the acronym BPA so it makes sense that I can sooner make out a syringe stabbing a cocktail umbrella in this one than I can make out the letters BPA. It is important for a logo to be simple and easily replicatible in order to be effective. This logo would serve better as an aerial blueprint for a parkour park than a logo.
To be fair, this logo isn’t really that bad, but let’s break it down on how it’s not good either. It actually took me years to realise that the blocks on the logo were meant to represent the letters “EF” and this is a subtlety that is probably lost on many others. This logo has good symbolism with blocks representing the company’s initials and possibly also representing bricks layed in a structurally unsound manner, however overall it is just not a very aesthetic logo. The cursive text is only slightly more legible than a doctor’s signature and again just not particularly aesthetic or memorable. To put it simply: great pants, average logo.
I hate the look of their logo almost as much as I hate the look of their shoes. The arrangement of the letters creates numerous unbalanced gaps of negative space that look quite awkward. It looks awful in print, web and genuinely cheapens the the look of any shoes that it is stamped on. It is no wonder that I think their best looking colourway is the black on black ones where the logo is less visible.
The Tribe (detailed totem version)
To complete the American Parkour trifecta we present you with this specific version of their totem logo. I want to clarify that I actually have zero bad feelings towards APK as an organisation, only towards their amateur graphic design. The Tribe is the oldest established parkour team in the United States. I don't love or hate their totem logo itself though I thought it was worth raising the point that one particular version of it may be seen as quite culturally insensitive to some people even if it was not intended. I won't pretend to know the nuances of this one so I am going to throw to one of New Zealand's finest, Marty TheFoot (because he is a LegEnd!)
"...That's some hearty cultural appropriation you got going there in your logo. I guess that what happens when you google 'tribe'. It's particularly offensive because the tattooed face has bared teeth without lips, making it look like a mokomokai (shrunken Māori head) that was a common collectible amongst Europeans in the early 19th century. Many Māori were murdered purely because their facial moko (tattoos) created market that offered a high price for their shrunken heads. The prestige of many tribes was severely damaged by this trade with many notable tribal figures being hunted so their facial tattoos could adorn the drawing rooms and libraries of the affluent. A successful campaign led to these mokomokai being removed from museums around the world and returned to their original tribes, healing much of the hurt from this act.. Furthermore, the designs you have used are like a fingerprint, loaded with cultural significance and symbolism. They're used by differing tribes as a means of identification and are viewed as only being acceptable when adorning someone of Māori heritage. There is however, an entire subset of maori designs that do not incite such strong emotions or opinions that anyone can use without the cultural baggage. It's called 'kiri tuhi'. You can google it or commission designs from most New Zealand tattoo artists if that is something that might interest you...The more you know."
MYRM are one of my favourite crews out of the United States however their logo is slightly lacking. When it comes to logo design, simple is usually best, but this logo comes across as a bit too underdeveloped. If it is representative of anything other than the letter M then it’s symbolism is lost on me. To compound the problem the name “MYRM” is scribbled in barely legible cursive below the logo. We stated previously that “A logo should be clean and simple enough that a child could scribble it on their pencil case,” however a pencil case scribble should not be the finished product.
We have saved the worst for last. This logo is so awful it deserves a prize for how unironically bad it is. Team Katalyst is a team out of Rotherham, UK. They have a large gym that opened up in 2015 and hold a well regarded competition/event called Project Underground. For an organisation this legit you would expect a logo that didn’t look like a regretful tramp stamp tattoo. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more hideous we found a special version of it that was embossed in pink with a purple lightning background. Maybe that was a cry for help, because this is a logo in desperate need of an update.
The Federation of International Gymnastics logo for Parkour***STOP THE PRESS *** The Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) executive committee has just approved a new "logo for Parkour." Their graphic designer really outdid themselves with this one. This logo looks like a bunch of free clip art from Windows 95 that was hastily pasted on top of itself. In 2017 it is barely passable on a mass-circulated office email let alone as the logo for something as important as parkour. Upon closer inspection, the structure on the skyline that looks like it is meant to be the Dame du Lac is flipped the wrong way around and looks in disrepair, with a large crack running through its entirety. When you stare at it for longer you start to notice that the rectangular shaped background with the sick radial gradient as well as the blue border surrounding it is a few degrees off with the top leaning to the left. The whole thing looks like it has been built upon shaky grounds. It looks decades out of date and does nothing to change the popular opinion that FIG is cancer to parkour.
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If your logo did not make this list or our other list of the World’s Best Parkour and Freerunning logos then it is probably at the acceptable level of logos. Congratulations on your mediocrity! Comment below if we missed any and share if you enjoyed this content.