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The Horrible Rebrand

How Horrible Games Re-imagined Their Brand

This story is part of our 2019 Essen Edition. Our sponsors and producers provided funding for us on Kickstarter to attend Spiel in Essen, Germany.

Horrible Games liked the name of their company, a lot. They liked the irony of it. They liked the joke. But as the company grew and expanded its reach, it realized that not everyone got it.

“We were told by many of our partners, fans and even the press, especially those in the US, if someone doesn’t get the irony, Horrible Games can mean, really, really bad games,” said project manager Alessandro Prá, who has been with the company since its founding in 2014 by Lorenzo Silva.

So, just two days before the opening of the largest board game show in the World, they changed it to Horrible Guild.

But the rebrand didn’t start with a name change says Prá .

Horrible Games had quickly grown to seven employees in the last five years. And, last year, the company started making games specifically for the mass market, games that were more family friendly. Until now, they had only made games for the hobby market. A market where maybe people got the horrible games joke.

So they started talking about making a little change to their logo.

It was during those discussions that they decided to make a more substantial change that would also include changing the name of the company.

“Now that things were kind of going into the direction where our games can go into places like, Barnes and Noble, or big chains, where people don’t know anything about the gaming company, they just see the name of the game and the company,” Prá said. “They see Horrible Games, and think, maybe I will take this other game from this company, Awesome Games.”

So, they started writing ideas on a chalkboard wall they had in the office.

The company’s criteria was pretty strict.

  • They wanted continuity.
  • People should be able to recognize them even if they changed names.
  • They were keeping the ‘Horrible.’ They just liked it too much to get rid of it.
  • And they really wanted to keep with ‘HG’ in the logo.

Horrible Green? Horrible Goo? These are some of the names that didn’t make the cut. It was Silva that came up with Guild. And it seemed to fit perfectly. They were becoming a family, a Guild.

They used some of the same techniques for the new logo. They kept the tentacle from the original Horrible Games logo, but added a shield to more fit the new Guild persona. They also put the HG directly on the logo.

The company wasn’t sure they were going to launch the new name and logo in Germany. They didn’t want to rush it. In the end, it was too big of an event not to. And their new games would be coming out soon with the new branding anyways.

“We didn’t want to lose the opportunity to have this big showcase to show the new branding,” Prá said.

And what was the feedback? 50/50 says Prá.

“Some people think that Horrible Games is better because it’s ironic, and we tend to agree. But, we also feel Horrible Guild is a great name. And as we get use to it, people will get use to it.”

And as they continue to grow, Horrible Guild can now put the running joke of if their games are ‘really’ horrible, behind them. “We’re putting the horrible on us and not the games,” Prá said.

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