Top 4 Logo Design Pitfalls

Image via Flickr user incase.

Logo design is a mysterious process. Sometimes that perfect design can evade you for days and days and then magically appear. Or you may find yourself with no new ideas, carving out a logo from the clients’ notes on what they like or want in the mark.

No matter where you fall in the logo design process, here are some common pitfalls to avoid. Use these as guidelines or a check list to make sure you are on the right track.

Pitfall No. 1: The logo is not versatile
Before you hand a design over to a client think about all the ways this logo may be used in the futre. On the web, in black and white only, on a pen, as knocked out type on a background, on a T-shirt, on a car decal, on a vinyl banner at a trade show… you get the point. If the logo does not reproduce well in all of these instances, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Pitfall No. 2: The logo is an industry cliche
There are certain industries where logos all seem to be dominated by the same look and feel. I’ll bet you can picture a logo in your head for a green technology company, a high-tech software company and a financial services company. Let me guess is the green technology logo is green and earth toned with a lot of curves? Is the financial services logo blue and angular? Don’t do the obvious and always check out the industry competitors to come up with a unique design.

Pitfall No. 3: The logo is not scalable
It’s easy to pigeonhole your client with a logo that doesn’t have room to evolve. Companies and whole industries can change directions. What if a telecommunications company put the outline of a cellular phone in its logo five years ago. The giant flip phone of the early 2000s is now obsolete and a logo with that imagery would have to be redesigned.

Pitfall No. 4: The logo is flat
If the logo design is too safe, the end product can feel flat or clinical. The logo should convey an idea, an emotion or a feeling right away. Sometimes it takes a lot of sketching, word associations and other brainstorming activity to come up with a concept or direction. If the logo doesn’t jump off the page, it may not be the right design.

  • Jennifer

    One of our graphic designers was just telling me about No. 3 — it was something I had never considered yet is so important. Thanks for warning others!

  • Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

    Very good advice for any designer. An additional pitfall would be designers often creating a logo that is trendy at the time it is produced. A logo needs to have longevity and if a designer falls into the trap of designing an identity incorporating elements of over-used current trends, the image will soon be oh-so-2010. One of my design career Jeffisms is: “When a graphics industry expert proclaims something a current ‘design trend’ it is a ‘breaking news’ message to designers everywhere that the specific ‘trend’ should be avoided from that moment on – rather than followed by a thundering flock of design sheep.”

  • Britt

    Thanks for the insightful comment Jeff. Great point!

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