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Can companies stop with the tacky branding on the back of phones?

There are loads of great phone designs out there, but some companies are sullying their phones with ridiculous branding.

Published onApril 17, 2021

realme 8 Pro rear in hand
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Smartphone designs have come a long way in just over a decade, with full-screen displays, glass or high quality plastic backs, and metal frames being a fixture on today’s high-end devices. We’ve even seen great designs from budget devices, such as the POCO M3, Pixel 4a, and OPPO Reno 5 Pro.

But there has been one unpleasant design trend in recent times, and that’s the move by some companies to add garish branding across the back of their phones. No, we don’t mean simply having the company name on the lower rear of the phone, but rather the name or slogans running almost all the way across the back of the device. Or simply making the branding so prominent that it becomes the dominant design feature.

Bigger isn’t always better

Some of the more prominent offenders in this regard are realme, POCO, ZTE, and HONOR. The most recent example we’ve seen is the ZTE Axon 30 series, which features the Axon branding running from the bottom of the devices to just under the camera housing. To its credit, ZTE at least tried to blend the branding into the phone’s colorway, going a long way to softening the blow.

It’s also interesting to note the company is offering green and black color options without the branding, which gives users a choice at the very least. Want a gold or white color option without the “Axon” name up the side though? Well, you’re out of luck. Check out the device below.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra branding
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Xiaomi-affiliated POCO brand is also another offender in recent times, although it trades size for prominence in comparison to ZTE. POCO has been slapping the company name on the lower-third of the POCO X3 and X3 Pro’s back in huge black letters. Check out the former device below.

Xiaomi POCO X3 NFC held to take a photo showing off the rear side and POCO branding
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

realme is unarguably the most ostentatious example though, as phones like the realme X7 series, Narzo 10A, and realme 8 Pro (seen at the top of the page) all have gigantic letters running up their backs. The vanilla realme 8 in particular is the undisputed “winner” in this regard due to the branding being set in a gradient color strip. Check it out below (the device on the left).

realme 8 vs Redmi Note 10 rear logos
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Even HONOR wasn’t immune to this visually unappealing trend in the past, as its 2020 HONOR 30 Pro Plus flagship was emblazoned with “HONOR” on the back. It was a real shame too, as we thought the device was the company’s best phone to date (aside from Google issues).

honor 30 pro plus review hero

An alternative to tacky branding

We’re not quite sure why companies are taking this approach to branding in recent times, as we doubt most customers are going to forget the name of the OEM that made their phone. You could maybe argue that it’s pride on a manufacturer’s part, but it detracts from their design efforts by having gigantic letters on the back in the first place.

This doesn’t explain the “Dare to Leap” slogan slapped on the back of many realme phones though. At this point, you might as well add “LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH” to the back of your phone.

There are plenty of manufacturers that offer more understated branding on the backs of their phones, such as Google’s Pixel series, OnePlus devices, Apple’s iPhones, and Samsung. So we’d definitely like to see manufacturers like POCO, ZTE, and realme look to these companies for a lesson on restraint. You can view these examples below.

Ridiculous branding isn’t likely a dealbreaker for most people though, as many consumers put their phones in a case. So they might not notice the branding, unless it’s a clear case of course. I also know I’d probably opt for a phone with a ridiculous slogan on the back if it was an otherwise excellent device for the price that met all of my needs.

What do you think of gigantic branding and slogans on the backs of phones? Let us know by taking our poll below.

What do you think of huge brand names/slogans on the back of a phone?

1330 votes

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