Your business logo forms the foundation of your brand identity. It grabs attention, makes a strong first impression, fosters brand loyalty and separates you from your competition. It’s therefore vital to allocate time to your logo design process.
But where to start? For those short on time and resources, a list of what not to do can be just as useful as an action-based guide. So without further ado, here are some common pitfalls that can undermine the effectiveness and impact of your logo.
1. Complex or cluttered designs
A logo should be simple and easily recognisable. Avoid overly intricate designs or excessive details that can make your logo difficult to comprehend or reproduce in different sizes or formats.
2. Poor scalability
Ensure that your logo retains its visual appeal and legibility when scaled up or down. It should look equally good on the side of a bus, as it does on a small business card.
With the rise of digital platforms and social media, it’s also crucial to consider how your logo will appear in digital spaces, such as website headers, social media profile pictures, and mobile apps. Make sure it looks good and maintains its impact even at smaller sizes.
Top Tip: If you’re printing your logo, it’s recommended to use a logo file that has a high resolution, while lower res is recommended for online use to speed up load time. 300 DPI (dots per inch – a measure of the resolution of an image) is recommended for print, while 72 DPI is the standard resolution for web images (often called “screen resolution”).
3. Lack of versatility
Your logo should be versatile enough to work well across different mediums, such as print, digital platforms, signage, and merchandise. Ensure it looks good in both colour and black-and-white formats.
4. Inappropriate use of colours
Choose colours that are appropriate for your brand and industry. Avoid using too many colours or clashing colour combinations that can create visual confusion or make the logo unappealing.
5. Over-reliance on trends
While it’s tempting to incorporate the latest design trends, they can quickly become outdated. Aim for a timeless logo that can withstand the test of time and remain relevant even as design trends evolve.
6. Inconsistent branding
Your logo should align with your brand identity and overall messaging. Avoid designing a logo that conflicts with your brand values or confuses your target audience.
7. Poor font choices
Fonts play a crucial role in logo design. Select fonts that are legible, appropriate for your industry, and reflect the desired tone and personality of your brand. Avoid using overly decorative or hard-to-read fonts.
8. Lack of research and originality
Conduct thorough research to ensure that your logo doesn’t resemble existing logos in your industry or other trademarked designs. Scrutinise your competition – how have they approached their logo? Is it memorable? Does it look good on a mobile device, as well as a desktop? Do people like it? What sort of statement is it making? How do you interpret it?
Aim for a unique and distinctive logo that helps your brand stand out. You also need to be clear on what makes your business unique. Zero in on your unique selling proposition (USP). The clearer you are on your USP, the more relevant, original and useful your logo will be to your audience.
9. Overlooking your audience
These are the people that need to recognise and relate to the logo you’re designing. You should already have existing research and data about these demographics and interests as part of your business planning stage. Revisit this work and filter your findings into your logo design process. Try to remain as objective as possible and let your research steer your design choices. A great logo prioritises substance over style, and substance comes from research.
10. Neglecting design assistance
Unless you have design expertise, it’s advisable to work with a professional graphic designer or design agency. They can help you navigate potential pitfalls and create a logo that effectively represents your business.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can also take a look at user-friendly online design tools such as Canva:
11. Skipping the feedback stage
Your research may have led you to a particular preference of logo, but it’s still important to run it by others before finalising it. External feedback can provide valuable insights and perspectives that you may have overlooked. For example, does it resonate with your target audience? Are there any design issues that you haven’t spotted due to your close proximity to the design process e.g. scalability, legibility or overall effectiveness?
Seek viewpoints from a diverse group of individuals such as colleagues, customers and industry professionals. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid biases. As well as constructive criticism, you might find that the majority of feedback is positive, providing reassurance that you’re on the right track.