Logo design: 10 mistakes you should avoid

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It would be a misapprehension to describe logo design as simple work. But if you know all ten basic aspects of logo design, it is definitely easier.

The first thing a company represents to the outside world is a logo and this has a considerable impact on the creation of further visuals and designs. This is what makes it one of the most important elements of a corporate design for which it is worth investing the necessary time in the long term. No matter how good a company’s services or products may be: If a company’s visual appearance and logo design do not reflect it, then it will be difficult (at least in the beginning) to convince customers of its own expertise.

Designing logos, whether you are a beginner or a pro is not easy, and large companies spend lots of time and financial investment to obtain the best possible result and use the logo to make a statement that fits the company. We have compiled ten preventable mistakes in the design of logos for you.

1. Copy, imitate, steal logo design

The web is full of inspirations and stylish designs for companies from all over the world. The logos of major national and international brands enjoy a high recognition value. It is tempting to imitate the good and successful work. But it is not only the designers who are tempted. Customers are also often told that their communications measures should imitate those of a successful company.

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One of the most common excuses on the designer side is the budget or a competitive situation on any of the popular price pusher design portals. You might earn a few euros in the short term and save yourself the development time for a logo. Remember, however, that you do not produce the logo for your daughter’s birthday party invitation card. At some stage, the plagiarism will become apparent. Ideally there is only mockery and malice, in the worst case legal consequences from the customer and the author. The money earned quickly becomes a ruinous minus business for you and a costly recovery process and loss of face for the customer.

2. Use of stock material

Nowadays a logo doesn’t have to cost more than five US dollars. There are numerous templates with a wide variety of generic or meaningless symbols available on the Internet for little money and ready to be changed into an “individual creation”. Anyone who understands design to be buying logo templates and adapting text and colour would perhaps be better off in the commercial sector. But that doesn’t have much to do with design.

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What distinguishes your stock logo from one of the 1,000 other logos created from the paid template? What about the particularly creative choice of colours? How do such a logo relate to a company? Probably nothing.

The use of other stock materials that are not explicitly sold as logo templates is another common mistake that can cost a lot of money if you are in doubt. This is because many portals explicitly prohibit the use of images and graphics in a logo. Your logo should always be your own creation for your own ego, the individuality and expressiveness of the logo and simply a better result.

3. Unnecessary complicating and combining

People are often so fascinated by a project that the ideas are just bubbling over. This results in many good approaches that you want to somehow place in a final product. Frequently, the problem is that the final logo is too complicated and makes several statements that deprive the logo of its clarity.

Do you remember what the purpose of a logo is? It is to make a statement about the company and have a recognition value. What can a logo, which actually insists on five different ideas, do? Rather than merging many good ideas into one, you should concentrate on the stronger ideas and work them out further. It is better to have a good idea, implemented clearly and comprehensibly, than to combine many good ideas obsessively into one.

4. We need more colours!

Obviously, a logo can be colourful and bright. But the more colors you choose, the more difficult it becomes to choose them to match. And the logo also has to somehow work in black and white.

Choosing the wrong colour can destroy a good design very soon. That is why it pays to involve the customer – regardless of how not creative he may be – as early as possible in the design process. Preferably before the colours are ready. Allow the customer to compose colours that fit the company from his point of view. You can use his input as pure gold – and save a lot of trial and error.

5. Typographical errors in logo design

As typography can often be a major part of the logo, special attention must be paid to the design.

Generic Fonts

There are some fonts that are stylish and have proven themselves. That is true, of course. However, is it necessary for every logo to consist of a combination of different Helvetica New typefaces? Like any design that includes typography, it is important to experiment. Each font has its own effect.

Inappropriate fonts

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If you’ re looking to build a brand, then you should really think about font choices. Though I haven’t seen any “serious” companies working with the Comic Sans in their logo yet, I still see the Brush Script every day on almost every craftsman’s company car – but also on “well-known” brands like Uncle Sam. You see Uncle Sam quite often in advertising blocks of RTL2, for instance, where the font, which also makes up the whole logo, is used in an inflationary way for every kind of company, which seems not to bother anyone in this case. Doing a better kerning between the S and the a wouldn’t have hurt the logo either.

Too many fonts

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A logo should generally not need more than two fonts. If that is the case, the probability is high that it is too complicated and cannot make a clear (visual) statement. The most proven concept is probably a combination of the main font, which may be found in the rest of the company’s communication, with a complementary font for a slogan or something similar.

Advanced Fonts

Very slim fonts can look very slick. Very thick fonts stand out in another way. It is important to find a balance here so that the logo can be applied not only to posters, but also to business cards or vehicles, for example.

Incorrect spacing

Insufficient or too large distances may severely limit the legibility of the logo. If the scaling is too low and the spacing is too small, the characters become blurred. If the spacing is too large for the logo to scale up, the readability will be disturbed as well as a bad kerning.

6. Company logo designs which cannot be used on all media

A lot of designers complete their work after the initial approved design and do not worry about the re-usability of the logo in different media.

Although the objective at the beginning of the assignment was to create a logo for a corporate page and a website, that does not mean that in some time the company may not want to spice up its vehicles or work wear with it. If this has not been taken into account before, the customer has a problem and may have to throw the very young logo overboard and confront the customer with a new “identity” of his company.
The logo should be able to be reduced to black and white without losing its identity and expressiveness. If that is guaranteed, it should also be able to be used for production on other media.

7. Design for your own portfolio

When creating the logo, you should not think about what your portfolio will look like later. Is it my style? Have I not done the same thing far too often? This is completely irrelevant.

Customers pay you not to design something that fits your needs perfectly, but to theirs. Rather than transforming the complete identity of the company to match the visual aesthetics of your portfolio, you need to follow the values of the company and create something that fits the company, not yourself.

8. Needless information

Excess information can overload the logo. Typical example here is the inclusion of the company name. The appearance and recognition value of the logo will suffer and the extra information will occupy the space that could be used much better for relevant information.

Whenever more relevant information than the brand name and the slogan or for the statement of the logo should be included in the logo design, it is worth asking whether one is legally obliged to accommodate this information. This question must have been asked by the designers when designing the logo.

9. Using the wrong software

Did you ever get a customer logo as PSD or PNG? If you’ re lucky, the file is at least in high resolution. With a little bit of bad luck, this logo can only be used on the web. The company sign, which the client wants to have plotted, can only be realized with a self-made version of the logo.

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Yeah, Photoshop is great and it can be used as a general purpose weapon on just about any project. But don’t put raster graphics logos on yourself, as well as your customers and colleagues. It is quite simply a bad practice that should be left deep in the forest to starve to death. You have to create logos in a vector program – no matter if it is Adobe’s Illustrator or another vector program. Work with a vector program will resolve many of your problems in later use of the logo. Is it too small? Make it bigger. Do we need a different colour? Modify it and export it as JPG or PNG. Do you need to plot, laser or stage it in a 3D program? Just export it to the appropriate format and get started. In the long-term, a vectorised logo will save a lot of work and problems.

10. Logo design without plan

The logo is not an assembly line product although some companies like to see it that way and use computer generated logo design to advertise it for little money. However, as a designer you need a workflow to create the logo.

Subdivide your design process into phases. If you are looking for inspiration on Pinterest, go jogging to collect new impressions and then make first drafts with pencil and paper or directly in the vector program: If the first steps of your work are not the elaboration of a final product, but rather the preparation and research, then the foundation stone for a well-thought-out logo is laid. It is important that you go to your design systematically and work gradually. This allows discrepancies to be detected and changed at an early stage. Feedback can be obtained earlier from the customer and you don’t have to throw a “finished” design entirely overboard and get annoyed about “the stupid client and his special wishes”.

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