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11 Pitfalls To Avoid When Designing Your Business Logo

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While it’s tempting to incorporate the latest design trends, they can quickly become outdated.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.

Logo inspiration from UK businesses 

These UK business logos showcase a variety of design elements, symbolism, and brand messaging that effectively represent their respective companies and resonate with their target audiences:

    British Airways logo   

British Airways

The British Airways logo consists of a stylised representation of the Union Jack flag, known as the “Speedmarque.” It symbolises British heritage, elegance, and the airline’s commitment to excellence.



Rolls-Royce’s logo is a combination of two “R’s” intertwined, representing precision engineering, luxury and craftsmanship. It reflects the company’s long-standing reputation for producing high-quality automobiles and aircraft engines.



The Barclays logo incorporates a simplified representation of an eagle, symbolising strength, trust, and growth. The logo showcases the bank’s commitment to customer service and financial expertise.



The HSBC logo features a hexagonal symbol, known as the “hexagon device,” with a stylised letter “H” in the middle. It signifies stability, global connectivity, and represents the bank’s international presence.



Jaguar’s logo showcases a sleek and elegant silhouette of a jaguar leaping forward. It captures the essence of speed, agility and luxury, reflecting the brand’s reputation for producing high-performance vehicles.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer

The Marks & Spencer logo uses a combination of the company’s initials “M” and “S” in a distinctive, stylised font. It represents quality, reliability, and a heritage of providing high-quality products to British consumers.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail

The Royal Mail logo incorporates a bold red colour and a crown symbol, signifying the postal service’s association with the British monarchy. It represents trust, reliability, and the delivery of mail across the country.



Cadbury’s logo features a script font with the company name and a distinctive purple colour scheme. It represents indulgence, joy, and the brand’s long-standing association with delicious chocolate.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop

The Body Shop’s logo is a simple green and white design with a leaf symbol. It represents the brand’s commitment to natural, environmentally-friendly products and ethical business practices.

As you can see, a well-designed logo can contribute significantly to a brand’s success. Investing time and effort into creating a thoughtful and impactful logo is vital. Fail to do so, and it could have costly consequences…


When logos go wrong

While a poor logo alone may not be the sole reason for a business’s failure, a poorly designed logo can contribute to a negative perception of the brand and impact its overall success. Here are a few examples:


Tropicana’s 2009 logo redesign

In 2009, Tropicana, a popular juice brand, redesigned its logo with a more modern and minimalistic look. However, the new design received a significant backlash from consumers who found it generic and confusing. The negative response led to a decline in sales, and Tropicana reverted to its original logo design.

London 2012

London 2012 Olympics logo

The logo designed for the London 2012 Olympic Games faced strong criticism. Many found it abstract, difficult to understand, and lacking in representation of Olympic values. The negative reception impacted the logo’s public perception and led to controversies, although the event itself was successful.


Gap’s 2010 logo redesign

Gap, a clothing retailer, attempted to update its logo in 2010 with a new design featuring a simpler font and a blue box. However, the new logo received widespread criticism, with customers and the public expressing their preference for the original logo. Gap quickly reverted to its original design due to the negative feedback.

It’s worth noting that while the examples above highlight the impact of logo design on brand perception, there are other factors such as product quality, marketing strategies, and overall business management, which also contribute to the success or failure of a company. A logo is just one element of a comprehensive branding strategy, and businesses should consider the broader context when assessing their performance.



Internet entrepreneur Matt Mickiewicz hits the nail on the head when stating that “a poor logo doesn’t mean a business will fail, and a good logo doesn’t mean it will succeed – it just helps. Ultimately a good logo is something that people recognise instantly and relate to.” Words to keep in mind when side-stepping the pitfalls above.

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Jenny Lambert

Jenny Lambert is a freelance writer, interiors blogger and Etsy shop owner with extensive experience working in marketing, digital and publishing roles.

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