logo design mistakes

9 Brand-Killing Logo Design Mistakes

By Brian Jens

A logo is one of the basic elements of the corporate identity of any brand. There’s no doubt any reputable business must have a high-quality logo. And, you know, even the biggest companies have to redesign their logos to keep up with the time.

But no one is immune to mistakes. Take, for example, GAP. In 2010, the company had to abandon the new logo a week after the introduction. That doesn’t mean you should afraid that something will go wrong – just keep in mind that not all and not always goes smoothly in such a changeable and difficult to forecast field as logo design.

Avoid these common brand-killing mistakes and all will be OK.

1. Standard or Too Sophisticated Fonts

This is a typical mistake for both text and combined logos. Since fonts greatly affect the perception of a logo and a company as a whole, the chosen font (of a combination of several fonts) must emphasize the spirit and idea of the brand, giving it required qualities and originality.

The easiest way to kill the uniqueness of your company is to choose Times New Roman, Arial, Comic Sans, or any other standard font. Believe me, that’s really the worst idea that can ever come to your mind: even the prettiest standard font won’t make your brand unique and original. Any standard font requires a special design treatment.

The other extreme case is using too original font outline. Of course, in some cases, a brand may require a bit of extravagance. But be careful not to overdo it. Take into account the positioning of the brand and its target audience.

2. Lines That Are Too Thin

As for the thickness of lines, note that sometimes the idea which looks good in the layout doesn’t work well in real life. That is mainly because the logo will be used on many different sources, and fine lines are not suitable for some areas (for example, in plotter cutting, which is widely used for creating signboards, there’s a minimum admissible thickness of the element). Also, the thickness of the lines is limited by the minimal size of the logo: not every printer can deal with thinnest lines.

3. Too Many Font Styles

One of the most common mistakes related to fonts is using more than two different styles. The abundance of fonts visually divides the logo into separate objects and spoils the perception.

4. Wrong Color Gamut

There is a set of mistakes made by a novice:

  • Ignoring black-and-white version of the logo. A proficient designer knows how important is to create a logo that looks equally good in both color and black-and-white. Once more: any logo should be suitable for use in black-and-white version! First of all, it’s necessary for the use on letterheads. And, of course, the logo shouldn’t lose its concept in black and white.
  • Poor adaptability. Another common issue is adaptability. Any logo begins to live its life right after it was agreed. Perhaps, in the future, you’ll need to adapt to use in a limited number of colors.
  • An excessive amount of colors. If you are not confident in your abilities, please avoid risking it. Actually, too many “overcolored” logos looks poor instead of creating a single composition that conveys the concept of the brand. Also, the logo with a lot of different colors may lose its charm in black-and-white.
  • Ignoring color psychology. It’s no secret that we perceive color subconsciously. Make sure you fully understand the psychology of color. Avoid mismatched colors: the conflict impedes the perception and memorability.

5. Too Complicated

The speed of perception is one of the key indicators for a logo. The logo should be clear and easy for perception and remembering. People rarely pay attention to it for longer than a few seconds.

6. Too Abstract

Your logo can be simple, but absolutely incomprehensible to consumers at the same time. Please take the time to put a meaning that is easy to understand. Avoid images that are too abstract. Of course, it doesn’t mean you must strive for the literal expression of the business idea. In the pursuit of originality, don’t turn a logo into a puzzle. Be clear to your customer.

7. Stolen (Plagiarism)

No matter how good is someone else’s idea, it’s not yours! Moreover, by copying other people’s logos you may get issues with copyrights, up to a solid financial penalty.

8. Clichéd

This mistake is close to plagiarism, but it with the only difference that it does not oblige you to litigation. The temptation not to risk and not to stand out from the crowd is wrong: why the customer should come to you if there are dozens similar offers available on the market?

9. Outdated

Trends are all around us. The desire to follow fashion is understandable. However, if you are planning a long-term life cycle for your logo, try to make it timeless. That is, to combine some trendy features that can be easily removed/updated with classic ones that will be the base for your logo. On the other hand, if your product is young, the use of trendy elements may contribute to the promotion.

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Brian Jens

Brian Jens is a logo designer from DesignContest. He’s always in trend since he daily researches the design market and notes the important changes. And, of course, Brian loves blogging. Send a couple of ideas to this talented writer and get in-depth research on the matter very soon.


2 comments

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  1. I agree Justin! I like information like this in order to improve, aware, and to become responsible designer for any website specially for the clients who need my skills.

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