Rarely is there a company whose logo is not as equally famous as its name. While the public may be surprised to learn how much time and consideration go into perfecting an iconic emblem, designers know better. A logo is the result of days (or months) spent conceiving dozens of different concepts; fine-tuning the smallest […]
Rarely is there a company whose logo is not as equally famous as its name. While the public may be surprised to learn how much time and consideration go into perfecting an iconic emblem, designers know better. A logo is the result of days (or months) spent conceiving dozens of different concepts; fine-tuning the smallest of details and comparing subtle variations against one another. Even with all this hard work though, blunders commonly occur. Make sure to steer clear of the common logo design mistakes outlined below.
1) Not testing the logo in different sizes.
Amateur logo designers sometimes fail to account for the fact that logos will be used on multiple mediums. For a sense of cohesiveness throughout a business, the same insignia should be used in print advertisements, business cards, web pages and more. While a maze-inspired background may look stunning when imprinted on a storefront window, it would look blurred and sloppy when printed on price tags. What’s more, your logo may be featured on promotional items like branded watches, baseball caps and totes. When you involve stitching, the subtle nuances and intricate details of a logo are bypassed in favour of simplistic visuals. While you can always ask your client about the intended use of the design, be aware that the near-future may bring unforeseen uses for the logo.
2) Making fonts too ornate.
The best typeface is rarely the prettiest. After all, when floral font is shrunk or viewed from far away, it can become illegible. Even if the wording can still be conveyed, the logo’s visually-busy font may divert attention from the overall message.
3) Relying too heavily upon colour.
If I was to ask you to envision some of the most iconic logos of today, no doubt they’re imagined in colour. However, if these same symbols were to be suddenly rendered in black-and-white, their meaning would not be lost. While colour should play a crucial role in the conception of your logo, it should not be the distinguishing factor. There are plenty of occasions in which the design may be produced in black-and-white, including newspaper ads, internal documents and transaction receipts.
4) Too many varied fonts or colours.
Tying into the above two points, too many fonts and pigments will have the same effect as a room that features a hodgepodge of different furniture types and colour palettes; it will seem like a random mess. Plus, the more variants there are in hues, the more costly it may be to reproduce across various mediums, like T-shirts or coffee mugs. While there is a handful of successful logos that feature a rainbow of different colours, it is better to err on the side of caution and follow in the footsteps of most iconic emblems.
5) Making the logo too conceptually complicated.
Rarely will you find a passerby that is willing to stop, stare and give due diligence to absorbing your logo. All the information a viewer should gather from your design should be absorbed within a prolonged glance, as this is the limited attention that most audiences will give your efforts. For this reason, relying too heavily on clever puns or hidden references may be a waste of time.
6) Failure to do research.
Time and time again, we read about major companies that fail to do proper research into how their promotional materials may be received, especially across international borders. A recent example of a business that failed to learn the meaning of its name is a PR firm entitled “Strange Fruit,”. They mistakenly thought that it referred to unique personalities instead of its well-known association on lynching. Learn from their gaffe by taking extra measures to understand how symbols and colours may be perceived by cultures outside of your own. For instance, the Japanese positively associate red with female reproduction; Greeks consider the colour to be masculine; the Middle Easterners regard the hue as symbolic of danger and South Africans relate red to grief. Clearly, understanding the intended audience’s cultural associations is paramount when designing logos.
7) Designing for yourself rather than the intended audience.
Companies with millions of dollars at their disposal do substantial market research to determine how a logo will be received. While you don’t have the same resources, that doesn’t mean that your opinion should be the only one that is factored into the design. Clearly, if you have a client, his or her opinion should take priority, above all else. However, before you present a final product for approval, receive the input of fellow industry professionals, as well as laymen who don’t know the first thing about design. After all, you’ve been staring at the same logo for days, and the symbolic meaning that may be so painfully evident to you may fail to register with those who view it for the first time. If possible, search out individuals who represent the intended audience. For example, if you’re shaping a logo for a teen girl fashion line, females of a similar age group should be consulted instead of the baby boomer males.
8) Mirroring competitors or well-known symbols.
When I ask you to visualize a logo design that is comprised of a single yellow “M,” McDonalds is most likely what enters your mind. Unfortunately, eminent companies like this have a stronghold upon such visuals. Steer clear of mirroring iconic designs, as the visual association with your logo will be the major player you emanate, rather than your unique brand. What’s more, purposeful attempts to capitalize on the success of well-known organizations can backfire. For example, let’s say you create a doll that is called “Barbar” that features the same pink cursive as “Barbie”. Not only will your company be viewed as merely a subpar alternative that offers nothing unique, but those that erroneously purchase your product thinking that it is “Barbie” will be disappointed.
Logo design is an art form that blends visual creativity with psychology and business. Once you understand the rules of creating logos, you can bend them to set new standards. However, understanding what typically does and does not work is paramount for any aspiring logo designer.