Avoiding Bad Logos: 7 Common Logo Design Mistakes

February 6, 2020 / Branding

Your logo should help your ideal clients remember your brand. It should have a stunning, memorable design and most importantly be a great representation of your brand principals. It can be tempting to DIY your logo design, especially with tools such as Canva making it seem easy to create something that does the job. But when you make your own logo you could be ignoring some basic principles of branding and design that will make you stand out amongst the competition.

Here are seven common logo design mistakes to avoid bad logos:

Not understanding your ideal audience

Logos are usually the first point of call for your target audience – almost the face of the company. You need your logo to promote your services to the correct target market as, if you don’t already have a specific idea of who your brand is marketing towards, your logo will become meaningless. Your logo holds the key to how your business is perceived on a first impression and you need your logo to stand out from the crowd and resonate with the right people. When choosing any elements for your logo you need to be thinking about who your target audience is!

Font Mistakes in Logo Design

Finding your perfect font derives from a lot of research! Having a detailed and elaborate font could make your logo stand out from competitors. However, if your clients can’t read your brand name they won’t be able to Google your services and therefore this could directly impact your business. Use a clear Serif or Sans Serif font in a large size for best legibility.

Logo Color Mistakes

Colors can communicate emotions and invoke subliminal messages to your audience. Refer back to your brand values, you want your logo color/s to portray the right message for your business. 

Colors can be grouped into different seasonal categories but mainly remain in warm and cool sections. Knowing your target audience should help guide your decisions of in color. For example, if you have a service intended for a younger audience you could focus on vibrant oranges and fun lilac colors in your logo. Alternatively, if you have a more professional product aimed at a formal audience, rely on cool blue tones or neutral monochrome shades. 

Think wisely before adding too many colors, refer to the simplicity of iconic brands such as coca cola who only use one shade of red and then a crisp white for the writing. Consult a color wheel to find out the best choices in contrasting and complimenting colors. Ensure that your logo has appropriate contrast so your message can be seen clearly.

Hierarchy Mistakes in Logo Design

Now that you know what colors and fonts work best for your logo, you’ll need to think about both the weight, size and placement of elements, this is known as hierarchy. We can use hierarchy by making the most important elements of a design larger, bolder or more/less colorful. 

Focus on keeping a balance and try not make your graphic top heavy – unless your most important elements reside there. You want to use hierarchy to direct your customers gaze to the most important part of your logo, such as the brand name or symbol if it represents your brands services or principles.

Think wisely before adding too many colors, refer to the simplicity of iconic brands such as coca cola who only use one shade of red and then a crisp white for the writing. Consult a color wheel to find out the best choices in contrasting and complimenting colors. Ensure that your logo has appropriate contrast so your message can be seen clearly.

Logo Spacing and Alignment Mistakes

Ever see a logo that just feels wrong? If you look closely you may notice that the spacing between elements isn’t consistent, a border sits too far to one side or elements within a square or circle aren’t centered.

A great tip would be to use white space to your advantage! White space communicates a fresh and modern feel. You can even use the space around your logo to create certain shapes or optical illusions. Having a clever design for your graphic will instantly be etched into your customers mind and could pose as a great talking point when networking with business cards.

Bad Logos Have too Much Detail

While creating your logo go with the concept of less is more. Find all the shapes you want to include and stick to a maximum of three in order to avoid your design becoming overcomplicated and messy. 

Consider what design elements are essential for your branding and attempt to create a graphic using the bare minimum. You need your logo to have a clean look which promotes great readability and personal taste can sometimes be a deciding factor. 

To check if your logo is too detailed try resizing it to 1” by 1” and see if you can still read it and make out any graphics or illustrations you’ve used. 

Not creating sub-marks and logo variations for use in different media

Once you’ve chosen your logo design, you need to create a logo sub-mark – which is fundamentally a less detailed version of your initial graphic. A prime example of this would be the Amazon smile, which is instantly recognizable even though the brand name of ‘Amazon’ has been removed from the original logo. 

You’ll need a sub-mark for any promotional material created for social media as well as secondary pages of any printed materials which doesn’t warrant your full logo, as this will keep your branding in place. 

Logo variations are also important, there are going to be places where a light or dark version of your logo would be a better choice.

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