Top 9 Logo Sins You'll Want to Avoid

Raise your hand if you've ever attempted to design a logo for yourself. 

If so, then you totally understand how it's an emotional rollercoaster. It usually starts off with excitement and then leads to frustration and self-doubt, and then back to being excited and so on. Eventually, you land on a final logo and if you aren't completely happy with it or if you are making critical errors when designing it then you'll likely end up changing it often. 

As a designer even I know how frustrating it is to design a logo for yourself. You are your biggest critic. Even though it's not an easy task, it's definitely not impossible, especially if you know what to avoid. 

Below I've listed 9 logo sins you need to avoid when designing a logo for yourself. 

Click through to read the top 10 logo design sins you'll want to avoid. Free checklist included!


01 - The TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

It's important that the elements in your logo have enough space to breath. If your graphics and or text are too close together your logo will not work well at multiple sizes. You have only a few seconds to grab your audience's attention so it's crucial that your logo is legible and visually appealing.  

Let's take a look at the example below.

"Joe's" and "Barber Shop" are a little too close. The "J" is overlapping the word "Barber" which visually doesn't look good. The icon is sitting a little too close to "Joe's" and overall this logo is lacking visual interest. When scaled down to 1-inch this logo would be even harder to read and would start to look more like a blob than a logo.

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Check out the refined logo below. Now that the the words have breathing room it's easier to read and looks a lot better. 

As you can see below even at a tiny size the logo is still readable and recognizable. 

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02 - The unreadable fonts

When designing your logo it's important that you're mindful of the fonts you use. Check out the logo below. Not only is the font hard to read, it doesn't exactly set the mood of a barber shop and you might actually scare people away instead of attracting them.

If you decide to use a script font in your logo make sure it's easy to read from a distance and makes sense for your brand. 

Below is another bad font choice for Joe's Barber Shop. The font used for "Barber Shop" looks unprofessional and child-like. Again, it misses the vibe and mood of a barber shop. 

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03 - The trendy look

When designing your logo it's important to stay away from trends. Trends will age your logo fast which means you'll have to keep updating your logo. This will confuse your audience and leave your brand suffering. 

Trends range from:

  • The use of design elements that are in style now but likely won't be around next year 
  • Logo styles that are used by so many people that your logo wouldn't stand a chance in a crowd 

Take a look at Facebook, Fedex or Nike's logo They all use a simple font but it's so recognizable and memorable. They aren't using fancy brush fonts, detailed graphics, or overcomplicated layouts. 

If you want a timeless logo steer clear of the following:

  • Pre-made logos
  • Watercolour elements
  • Brush fonts. Using your own handwriting is perfectly acceptable because hey, it's unique!
  • Hipster badges
  • Relies on colour to make it work
  • Relies on gradients and multiply effects

If you can design a simple logo that has a touch of uniqueness then you've successfully designed a timeless logo. 
 

04 - The use of too many words

When designing your logo your main goal is to keep it as simple as possible, because:

  • It will keep your logo timeless
  • It will keep your easy to read
  • It won't confuse your audience
  • It will work across multiple branding elements with ease
  • It can be scaled to a tiny size without losing its readability

In the example below the logo is paired with a slogan and a promo. If you have a slogan it's completely fine to pair it with the logo but it's best to keep it as short as possible. The only text in your logo should be your company's name. Leave the manifesto and promos for other branding elements that aren't attached to your logo. 

The problem with adding too much text is your logo is that it makes it impossible to read at a tiny size. Also, your logo is meant to grab your audiences attention in only a few seconds and if it's too cluttered your audience will move on. 

The best thing you can do is only use your business name in your logo and keep your slogan in a secondary logo or in your social media bios, business card, etc. 
 


 
 

05 - The relying on colour 

When designing your logo you should only use black and white. If you are designing your logo with colour you are losing focus on the actual design and focusing on colour only. When I design logos for clients I always send them the first round in black and white only. I don't want my clients to judge a logo on the colour, I only want them to focus on the design. 

If your logo looks amazing in black and white than any colour you decide to add will give it the added pop to make it stand out even more. It's also important to keep your colours limited in your logo. A good rule is to stick to 1-2. Anything more starts to look too busy. 
 

06 - The not designing for yourself

When designing your logo it's so easy to fall off track and copy someone else's logo because you like their style and you want something similar. The problem with this is that you are no longer designing for your brand. It's totally fine to look for inspiration but remember other people's branding was designed for their business, not yours.

Remember who you are, what your brand goals are, who your target audience is, and why you do what you do. 
 

07 - The Use of stock graphics / pre-made logos

If you are just starting out using a pre-made logo or stock graphic isn't the end of the world, it just means you'll be sharing the same logo design / elements with other people. 

If you are serious about your business and want something unique and true to your brand then avoid using stock graphics and pre-made logos. 
 

08 - The blob at 1-inch 

I touched base on this a little above but once your logo is designed you should scale it from 4-inches all the way down to 1-inch. This will confirm your logo will look good across multiple brand items such as, business cards, buttons, stickers, on your website, etc. If you find your logo looks blob-ish at 1-inch see what you can do to fix it to make it look better. 

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09 - The too literal 

If you take a look at Adidas or Nike's logo you won't find a shoe graphic. If you own a shoe store it doesn't mean you need to have a shoe in with logo. Think of how you can add a unique touch to your logo without being too literal. If you look at the meaning behind Adidas' logo it was designed to form a mountain graphic that represents the challenges athletes face. That graphic is the voice of Adidas. If you saw that graphic without the word "Adidas" you would still know what brand it was. Think of ways you can add that unique touch to your logo so it's not only timeless but memorable. 


 
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