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10 Things to Avoid When Designing a Company Logo

Posted July 15, 2011  |  written by  |  Tips and Trends from the Experts

10 Things to Avoid When Designing a Company Logo

This week, we have taken a look at what makes a good company logo and examples of creative logo design. Today, I will discuss 10 things to avoid when designing a comapny logo. These range from the obvious (such as making sure your logo isn’t a profane image) to the subtle (such as avoiding the corporate swoosh), but all should be considered if you are designing a new logo or redesigning the one you already have.

This list of 10 things comes from a similar blog post on WebUrbanist, Logo Fail: 10 Ways to Avoid Making a Creative Logo, if you want to check it out for more information.

  • Uninspired Fonts

    Fonts Inappropriate for Logos via

    Ask any designer, and they can name a selection of fonts that should never ever be used in logo design. Perhaps the greatest offender is Comic Sans, the long-vilified font face with such infamy that websites have been created calling for its removal from software programs and eradication from the world’s library of fonts. Further, you should make sure that the font you select matches the corporate image you are trying to convey.

  • Stock Art

    If you can’t afford to hire a graphic designer, using clip art in your logo may be your only option when designing your first logo. That said, you should avoid it whenever possible. Logos comprised of clip art look amateurish, and you run the risk of reusing art that another company has already used. Remember, originality begets memorability.

  • Excessive Photo Filters and Effects

    Used sparingly, a gradient or little drop-shadow can really make your logo pop. Too many effects can be distracting, though. What’s more, they can make your logo difficult to read or understand. A well-used filter or effect can create an interesting logo, but avoid piling on too many.

  • Unrelated Imagery

    Make sure the imagery in your logo is somehow related to your company or at least the industry your company is in. Including images—though aesthetically pleasing, but unrelated to your industry—may confuse prospects and new customers.

  • Unintentionally Profane Imagery

    When you are reviewing the design of your new logo, put your head in the gutter for a second. Is there anything remotely inappropriate about your logo? Are there any elements that could be construed as a phallic or otherwise offensive? Is the lettering in your logo spaced such that it says something other than your company name at your first glance?

  • Fuzzy or Non-Vector Graphics

    via

    While full-color photographic images can be aesthetically pleasing, they wreak havoc on graphic designers. Try to boil the photograph down into its simplest possible form. Not only will it cut down on headaches for your logo designer, it will also make things much easier whenever you decide to use your logo on Custom Promotional Products, such as those from InkHead.

  • Over-Reliance on Color

    Would your logo lose any effect if it were in black and white? While nearly all logos feature color in some way or another, only the best logos can still stand on their own in monochrome. Try to design a logo that only uses color as an accent. This an especially important point when it comes to promotional items, since a one-color imprint is used most often.

  • The Corporate Swoosh

    via

    Nike may have popularized the swoosh first, but these days too many logos rely on this design convention. Even though the swoosh does little to differentiate one company from others in its industry, most companies use it generically. Be careful, a misplaced swoosh could even create an unintentionally profane image or simply confuse your customers. Do what you can to avoid it.

  • Unnecessary Complexity

    Think about the the fast food signs you see on the highway. If these logos had needlessly complicated images, they may get overlooked. Try to keep your logo as simple as possible, and what design elements you do employ will stand out as a bold statement, even from hundreds of yards away.

  • Too Much Abstraction 

    Make sure your logo isn’t so convoluted that people don’t recognize what it’s supposed to be. People should not have to squint at, scratch their heads over, or have to “figure out” your logo. The author for the WebUrbanist article mentioned above cites the 2012 London Olympics logo as a particularly egregious example of abstraction taken to the extreme, and I have to agree. If someone had not told me that it was supposed to read “2012,” I would have simply assumed that it was the product of a graphic design student’s first lesson in making polygons with Adobe Illustrator. 

The Bottom Line

There are many things to avoid when designing a company logo, ranging from inappropriate fonts to generic images. While the list here is fairly comprehensive, it is by no means exhaustive. If you are designing a logo for the first time or redesigning the ones you already have, be sure also to review what makes a good company logo and examples of creative logo design. Also, think about the logos that stick out in your mind most. What makes them so effective? 

InkHead’s graphic designers can help you design a logo for use with Business Promotional Gifts if you need it. Please call 800-554-0127 to get started.

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