When it comes to your logo, you want to belong, but you don’t want to look like everyone else. That’s a tightrope you don’t want to fall off of, and it can be difficult to achieve without sufficient experience. As a business owner, your best bet is to design a logo that is an authentic visual representation of the brand. Give yourself a running start by avoiding these common logo mistakes.
Don’t Be Selfish. Your logo isn’t about you, even if you are a one-man business. Just because your name is Amy, and you like butterflies and you are opening a bakery, doesn’t mean you should have a butterfly fluttering around a sign that reads Amy’s Bakery. Creating something based on what YOU like is pigeonholing your brand. Appeal to your target audience. (Hint: You aren’t your target audience.)
Steer Clear of Trends. While it might look great today, and into next week, a logo designed solely based on trending styles will lose effectiveness over time. Don’t lock yourself into a decade, you’ll have a rebrand on your plate as soon as that rustic-monoline-gradient–trend is over.
The exception: Some trends popularize because they’re practical. As people begin to use mobile devices as their primary form of net surfing, many companies are updating their logos to a flat style because it’s a better choice for digital appearance. Which brings us to a bonus tip: when you’re creating your first logo, make sure it has the potential to adapt to practical changes.
Tread Carefully Around Intricate Design. Legibility, it really does matter. Will your logo still look awesome on a billboard? How about on a small pamphlet? If your logo is mostly lettering, make sure you can read it no matter where you put it. Be weary of heavy typography too. While this highly stylized look is currently trending, it can look busy and illegible. The thinner the type, the more difficult to read.
Say NO To Shiny-Sparkly-Glowy Logos. If the only reason you like the logo design is because of a cool gradient or glow, it won’t work for dynamic uses. The bare bones need to be attractive to stand some time. Here at Bareknuckle, we start all of our logos in black and white to make sure we approve the shape.
Note: your logo should show up well on light and dark backgrounds. If it is too detailed, they will get lost in the shapes.
Left-Field Logos. We’ve all seen them, the logo with an icon that has nothing to do with the company. Make sure your imagery and your icon actually represent what you DO or what you’re ABOUT. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your sandwich shop should have a sandwich icon, it just has to make sense. Here, take a look at IBM’s logo:
Their design includes circuit board lines, which is suggestive of their profession, but there is no clip art computer next to the name. Which reminds us …
You Don’t Need An Icon To Be Iconic. Not every company needs an icon. Take a look at Kleenex, Google, Johnson & Johnson. No icons in sight, yet their logos are among the most widely recognizable designs since Coca Cola (oh ya, that doesn’t have an icon either). Icons aren’t necessary, sometimes they just busy up your brand.
Beware of Imitators. If you decide to go with a freelance designer, do your research. There are lots of services that can just throw your logo together with a general font and some re-engineered clipart. Avoid being copied, or being the copy of someone else. A logo needs far more consideration than a freelance, potentially unskilled logo designer. You need a custom design. This is the face of your brand, it deserves to be completely unique in your industry.