Not everyone thinks the new Kia logo is a disaster

Kia logo
(Image credit: Kia)

Ah, the new Kia logo. Despite being unveiled in 2021, the updated wordmark became the most contentious design topic of last year when Google data showed that around 30,000 Google searches for 'KN car' are being made a month. But is the supposedly illegible logo as disastrous as people think?

In a new interview, a sociologist specialising in logo design trends has claimed that things perhaps aren't as bad as they seem – and in actual fact, the slightly confusing design could even be – whisper it – a good thing. (Looking for inspiration? Check out the best logos of all time.)

Kia logo

Kia or KN? (Image credit: Kia)

In an interview with Marketplace, James I. Bowie claims that despite those erroneous Google searches, Kia doesn't seem to be suffering too much. "It’s been two years. Their stock appears okay," he claims. Bowie also shed some light on what he believes to be the rationale behind the design. "I think they’re maybe looking to project more of an upscale feel," he says. "They focused on this idea of mobility and movement, I think, looking to the future, and the logo was a handy way to signal that change that they were looking for."

And Bowie even suggests the confusion might not be all bad. "I think the fact that 30,000 people a month are Googling “KN Car” because they don’t seem to be able to read the logo might sound initially like a bad thing. But I think it shows that people are curious, like, ‘Hey, what’s that cool car I saw?’ In my opinion, that’s better than people ignoring your product altogether."

Kia logos

The old logo (left) vs the new design (right) (Image credit: Kia/Future owns)

Still, there's no denying that the design has got designers talking – and even coming up with hilariously ingenious solutions to the problem. And Kia can take some solace from the fact that it isn't the only car manufacturer to have caused road rage recently. The subtly rebranded Audi logo recently upset traditionalists, and the less said about Volkswagen Italy's Instagram bio, the better. But when it's time for the next rebrand, Kia's designers might want to check out our guide on how to design a logo.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).