10 Logo Design Mistakes That Can Harm Your Branding
The logo represents your brand both online and on printable materials.
It principally forms an icon for your brand, and brand influences lead generation.
If you start with a poorly designed logo, it will cost you a lot to change it entirely later on.
This is why paying attention to small details in logo design is crucial in the first stages of starting your company.
Here are ten things that most people get wrong about logo design.
$5 logo designs
It’s tempting to just get someone from Fiverr to design your logo and check it on the to-do list. One of the worst logo design mistakes!
There are literally thousands of amateur designers who will design your logo for a couple of dollars.
Ask yourself, is your company aiming for mediocrity?
Will you be content with just being good enough not to go bankrupt?
If you answered no, then it’s probably a good idea to invest a couple of hundred dollars at least in a great logo.
A logo made by someone who charges so little for their services will definitely be worse than what a professional can create.
Sure, if you’re an outsider to the world of logo design, you may think that creating a logo is a simple job.
All you have to do is just draw a simple picture and add a font from the list.
Why pay more than $50 for this?
A great designer has studied hundreds of logos and understands why some fail, and some succeed.
A great designer created hundreds of logos for successful companies.
A great designer packs years of experience in the hours of logo design.
Would you charge $5 for that?
The ones who do are probably just making logos based on a template.
That’s not what your company deserves.
No logo specs
Often you see people contact a designer and say “I’m a dentist; make me a logo.”
How can you expect to get a great design if you don’t even know what do you want from it?
Don’t be disappointed if you end up with something that doesn’t meet your expectations.
Designers can’t read your mind and come up with something that will appeal both to you and your customers.
You have to spend some time brainstorming ideas for the logo.
You can take a look at popular logos that many people know and love.
It gives you an idea of what design trends are in right now and which ones will never go out of style.
Do you want your company to come across as a respectable institution?
Do you want it to appear innovative?
Do you want it to seem eco-friendly?
You can only get a logo that meets your requirements if you have a concrete idea of these requirements in the first place.
The rule of thumb is to contact a designer with an idea you can put into words, but not into imagery.
Only then they can help you transform your brand identity in one picture.
Your logo has to say something about you.
Otherwise, why have a logo in the first place?
Failing to make your logo speak for itself is a major flaw in any brand design.
Now, your logo doesn’t have to say “We make computers” literally.
That your landing page’s job.
For instance, the IBM logo doesn’t mention what they do at all.
You don’t find “We do Big Data analysis” written in bright red letters across it.
The only thing that you see is the stripes that show “speed and dynamism.”
They also serve as an association with the blinking screen.
Huge companies can afford to have these kinds of logos.
They are recognised across the world because of their product.
Smaller companies can’t.
Often you only have a couple of seconds to leave the first impression.
A logo is a part of that crucial first impression.
Look at how this HR software company manages to make their logo convey a straightforward message.
It’s just a button with “HR” on it.
The implication is crystal clear: creating an HR solution is one click away.
Look for ways of conveying a similar message about your brand.
We all want the success of Google and Apple.
That’s not a reason for stealing their logos.
You probably have seen dozens of Adidas rip-offs whose logos look like a kid tried drawing Adidas.
Do you think this is something your customers will like seeing in your brand’s imagery?
It’s not just lazy; it’s damaging to your company.
No sane person wants to buy from someone who is okay with stealing intellectual property.
If you want to make your logo look like the one from an international company, just forget about it.
You can be great on your own.
A logo that doesn’t stand out
Making your logo remind potential customers of an industry is excellent.
Making your logo be like every other is not.
This is why following trends blindly is a path that leads nowhere.
The PayPal logo is great because you can definitely say it’s PayPal, not another payment services company.
The same goes for your company as well.
You should follow the trends that emphasise utility and user experience, not just design.
For example, creating a minimalistic logo to make it great across all media is good practice.
Creating a minimalistic logo just for the sake of it is not.
Making a logo that conveys the message that thousands of other companies want to put out and still stands out from the crowd is hard.
However, this is a must if you want to reach success.
Not good across all media
Back in the days when the only media where your logo appeared was either printed materials or a PC design was easier.
Nowadays, your company faces a comprehensive set of media.
The logo has to be the same across all of them.
You may have to make it fit:
- The desktop version of your website
- The mobile version
- Business cards
- Printable advertisement materials
- Branded products
This is why minimalism is now trendy.
It helps your logo be great everywhere.
Whether it’s an app or an ad on a billboard, a minimal vector logo can be scaled to fit it.
This is one of the reasons why Google ended up with a really minimalistic design.
So, your logo has to be unique, appealing to users, recognisable, and convey your brand’s message at the same time.
Does this mean that it has to be insanely complex?
A logo that’s too complex can be too hard for the users to comprehend.
The whole idea of a logo is to condense the brand to one icon.
One small image that represents everything there is behind your brand.
If it’s more than a simple image, it may be hard to interpret.
This is partly why Apple changed its logo.
The first one looks great. The second works great.
You don’t even have to be a multinational corporation to say something about your brand in one picture.
Look at how WebsiteToolTester managed to do this with simple imagery.
It’s not pretentious, and it accomplishes the goal.
It says that this company is all about science with the image of a conical flask.
A logo is a brand image.
It’s not a way to project a designer's or a client’s ego onto the entirety of the web.
There are many designers out there who like to treat logos like their artwork.
Logos are not paintings.
You shouldn’t leave your personality in them, even though personal styles are okay sometimes.
Then there are clients out there who treat logos as a personal coat of arms.
They want the logo to say something about them and their ego, not about the brand.
Making your logo an actual coat of arms is an excellent strategy for some.
For instance, Porsche looks great.
A similar logo may work for a company that has a rich history and wants to convey that.
It only works because logo design is working for the brand image.
If you have a startup, you should probably abstain from such logos.
There are so many things that can go wrong with fonts.
You can use a silly font for a company that wants to convey trust and professionalism.
You can get tangled up in toying in fonts and end up with two or more different fonts in a logo.
All of this is bad practice.
For most companies, you should stick to one custom font that evokes the associations your brand needs.
Not using focus groups
Analysing logos is so much harder than websites or any other aspect of a company.
You can’t just run an A/B test on your website and come up with a great logo.
The process of association of the logo and the brand is not fast. Nor is it clear-cut.
However, not using every possibility there is to vet a logo design is a significant failure.
There are so many companies out there that approve a logo just on the basis that the CEO likes it. Why be one of them?
Create a focus group that consists of your target audience and let them take a look.
Here are some things you could ask the focus group to test your logo:
- Ask what words come to people’s minds in association with it
- Ask what industry do they think it belongs to
- Show an assortment of logos and ask what company would they work with
- Show a variety of logos and check if they remembered yours.