The Don’ts of Logo Designing

A logo represents a company. It works as a communication agent between your customer and your business. You can achieve half of your marketing objective if you can create a great logo, which is appealing to the audience.

However, we should not forget the fact that this is a very competitive world and creating a logo is a tedious job itself, but we have to take our chances, right!

So, Instead of talking about what needs to be done, we can talk about the things that need to be avoided at all cost so that you can increase your chances of winning your customer’s heart.

1. Don’t Go for Visual Clichés

Don’t go for visual cliches

It is very rare that the first idea that a designer create is the best, and the first idea that is created has a very high probability of being a cliché. We get it. Your cliché tells a lot about you. You have stars, eagles and stripes because you are patriot. You have a globe because you are global or a wish to be a multinational. You have rays of lights emitting from your logo; or on your logo because you have so much goodness in you that it needs to be reflected in your logo. And how can we even forget about “murphy the molar” which every dentist use in one way or the other, because you are of course in the dental business.

These are visual clichés, which have been used for centuries to represent something. The aforementioned visuals were some of the visual cues, but these are generally the first thing, which pops up in your mind while you are designing a logo, and for this very reason-, they need to be avoided at all cost.

2. Don’t Ignore the Industry

Don’t ignore the industry

There is no harm in being creative and thinking out of the box, but there is fine line between creativity and being irrelevant. While you do need some sense of familiarity to the industry, do not incorporate those design elements, which already exist in the design world or the industry. The logo should be according to your industry, but it does not necessary mean to follow them blindly. Moreover, there are certain norms, which are present in the industry, For example, you cannot design a hospital logo with funky graphics and fonts and you cannot design a logo for artist without any trendiness. Can you?

3. Don’t Add too Many Colors

Don’t add too many colors

Realistically speaking, you need to have a colorful decent logo, but there is a fine line between a logo with colors and a logo, which looks like that a five year old created it. This is a very common mistake, which designers often overlook. Some people tend to rely on it completely, other neglect it completely. Adding colors should be your last decision. Start working with a simple black and white logo and then work your way around with colors. Two colors are good; three are fine; four – hold on; five – what are you doing?

4. Don’t Connect Images with Text

Don’t connect images with text

Some designers go for logos with text in them. They think that they need to educate the consumers with some words in it. However, in this era, this counts as a big mistake. People are bombarded with logos all the time, and if you add text to a logo, chances are that you are going to clutter the entire space and as a result, you would not be able to grab the attention of the consumer. Secondly, think about the size of logo. You are going to use your logo at different places like your stationary, uniform etc. A logo, which looks good only at a predefined size, would not be able to make a difference.

5. Don’t Pick the Wrong Font

Don’t pick the wrong font

Fine, we get it. You have fallen in love with a font, but this does not mean that you over-do it, or use it at every instance you get. Just because a font looks good on screen does not mean that, it would look good everywhere else. Secondly, some fonts look good up close; they look shabby if seen from a distance. Thirdly, some fonts do not merge well with other fonts. If the font that you have picked qualifies all of these aspects then, congratulations, you might just have found the perfect font.

6. Don’t Cut Corners

Don’t cut corners

Your logo is the core of your branding, and that makes it worth your time, effort and funds. Getting an amateur to design a logo for you is one of the biggest mistakes small businesses make. Sure, you can save big bucks if you let your cousin design a logo for you, on a WordPad, with cliparts, which might look good. But since you have worked very hard to create a company, your custom logo design deserves to be created by a professional logo designer who is backed by years of experience in the logo industry. Always remember that impression is the last impression and you will not have to regret for the rest of your life.

7. Don’t Follow Trends

Don’t follow trends

Being trendy is good, but trends change every now and then, besides businesses cannot change their logos so often, for a good reason. Establishing your whole brand persona on an evolving trend may be a bit risky and can eventually make your logo look outmoded.

Every year we see the same things, morphed into new things, which we just cannot get away from. When designing a logo, do not follow short-term gains. A trend of today might be a fade of tomorrow. Trends come and go, do not get caught up in the hype. Create original pieces that have a meaningful relation with the brand. A logo is designed to be timeless, they are connected with the brand, they give brand a meaning. Something with that much of importance should not be based on trends. Isn’t it? You can have inspirations from trends, but following one blindly would surely jeopardize your entire existence.

8. Don’t Marry the Existing Color Scheme

Don’t marry the existing color scheme

This may not be the case when you are designing a logo for a new venture or a startup, but companies, which are present in the world for a long time, have some basic color schemes. As a designer, you do not have to marry them. You need to create variations, which you think that the client may have overlooked. Go out of the way, create new designs and schemes and present it to the client; the client may love it.

Do not consider it as a rule of the thumb though, if the client has an already established color scheme, consider it as well. Incorporate their color scheme in the new design as well. For example, add some colors, which complement the existing colors.

9. Don’t use Colors that Clash

Don’t use colors that clash

There are so many variations of colors today, that selecting colors is a tedious job itself. Truth be told, explaining about colors is a tedious job as well. Colors portray different meaning. For example, red portrays energy and strength. However, if you ask a thousand people what red means, you would end up with hund-REDs of answers- none wrong. Secondly, since these colors have different meaning and they have a different visual representation as well- they clash.

To narrow it down, we follow this simple wheel of colors. A handy tool to understand what should be used with what.

This wheel tells us about the different relationships that colors have. For example, complementary colors are those colors, which creates synergy when used properly. (Red and green are directly opposite so they are complementary) and then so on.

These are not a rule of the thumb, of course, you can experience and play with different colors, but for beginners, this is an excellent place to start. The selection of techniques depends entirely on the project and design that you have in mind. However, the idea remains the same.

10. Don’t use a Photograph

Don’t use a photograph

Logos are utilized at different place, at different sizes at different ways. Logos are meant to be flexible and this is why we do not advise to use photographs as logos. Tiny pixels create photographs, and pixels get pixelated when stretched. It means that they can get smaller, but if you want a bigger version, then it is a big NO.

This is why it is advised to use vectors, because vectors are tiny scalable objects, which are controlled by mathematical equations. Unlike pixels, you can easily expand all you want without the fear of being pixelated.

11. Don’t use Clipart

Don’t use clipart

You are trying to design your logo, and you have found that perfect clipart in your computer. Now, it may look like you found an affordable and cheap solution. However, the problem is that clipart is community art; you cannot copyright it; you cannot infringe it etc. Someone might have used it somewhere at the exact same moment when you decided to make it your logo.

Before you even start about defending clipart. Let me just tell you that, changing the size or colors of clipart doesn’t make it innovating, neither does turning it upside down, or turning it sideways, or hiding parts of it behind text, or combining two clipart together.

Be original. Create something unique and mesmerizing, which has the ability to inspire and move the customers.

12. Don’t use Shadows or Special Effects

Don’t use shadows or special effects

If a logo requires shadows to make it appealing, it is not a good logo. Period. A good logo does not need shadows or special effects to make it great because logos are used in a variety of ways. They are stretched, compressed, used on different surfaces and what not. A slight moderation with the logo to adjust it with new requirements might just open up a Pandora box. A good logo will stand up on its own without any special effects.

13. Don’t use Too Many Fonts

Don’t use too many fonts

Every font has a different tone and you cannot integrate more than one tone into your brand personality. With two fonts of different weights in your design is a common practice, but try to limit the number of fonts so that you can increase legibility and brand recognition. If you are using more than a single font, you need to make sure that they complement each other rather than clashing. Fonts are the first thing, which people see, and you need it to be appropriate and responsible. For example, you need to make sure that your font is not saying beach vacation while it should be saying job interview at 10.

Final Word

The above-mentioned points are mere tips rather than a set of rules, which needs to be followed at all times. And even if they were a set of rules; they are meant to be broken, but to break the rule, you must know them first. You can surely use these points as a starting point and then develop yourself along the way.

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One Comment

  1. HI David
    Enjoyed your article. Can you please contact me?

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