Your business needs new branding. As you gain awareness among your potential customers, a logo will associate your brand in your target audience’s mind, allowing for easier recall.

But not all brand logos are created equal. A badly designed logo can be as much of a danger to your brand as a well-designed logo can help. To set you on the path to a design that benefits your brand in the long term, here are the 10 worst traits you need to avoid when designing a logo.

The 10 things you need to avoid when designing a logo

1) Raster Images

Any logo should be designed as a vector file, meaning that it doesn’t rely on pixels (which limits its size) but instead can be stretched to any desirable size. You never know how large or small you need your logo to be, and raster images significantly limit your options.

2) Complexity

If raster images limit your ability to upsize a logo when needed, an overly complex or cluttered design does the exact opposite. You may need to fit your logo on materials as small as a business card, on which it needs to look as crisp and clear as it would on larger applications.

3) Stock or Clip Art

Do you really want a logo that may use the same visual images as others, potentially even within your industry? Logos that rely on clip art instead of a completely custom design lose their uniqueness, an important part of standing out as a brand.

4) Bad Fonts

If someone offers you a logo design and even mentions Comic Sans, run. Even the most well-designed logo will fail if the font choice is off. Your text needs to be readable in all sizes and, most importantly, not distract from or contradict the brand image you’re trying to convey.

5) Design Confusion

Of course, even two great fonts, when mixed together, may not achieve the desired branding effect. Instead, the design needs to be coherent, which includes choosing no more than two fonts maximum along with picking colours that work well together. Speaking of which:

6) Prioritizing colour

Ideally, your logo should look as good in black in white as it would in full color. You may use it on print ads in non-color publications, or only be able to print one color at a time, and you don’t want to lose the positive effects just because you’re limited. And even in full color, be sure that you don’t use so many choices that it starts to distract from the logo’s main purpose. Instead, focus on your brand’s primary (and perhaps secondary) colours to lay out the logo.

7) Too Generic

We’ve emphasized simplicity throughout this post, but be careful not to walk too far across that line and into generic territory. A logo that can be replicated in a simple typeface helps no one, particularly not your brand if you’re trying to improve your audience’s recall.

8) Duplication

Inspiration from design trends in the brand logos of others is one thing – copying these logos, however, is an entirely different story. Even aside from obvious copyright violations, copying another brand’s logo may actually work against you: when an audience sees the logo, they may think of the other brand rather than yours.

9) Style over Function

Some designers simply get carried away with logo design. And that’s understandable: it’s a unique opportunity to let your creativity play. But if your logo crosses the line from creative to self-serving, you will miss the branding mark. Brand recognition and recall are still the most important functions of a logo, and creativity for the sake of creativity – especially if it makes the logo complex or leads to any of the other above faults – will not help your brand.

10) Reliance on Effects

Closely related to the ‘style over function’ flaw, some logo designers – especially those of the cheaper variety – can get carried away using the visual effects offered by design software. But gradients, interior glow, and other effects only confuse potential viewers, and may not come out right once printed. The same general rule of thumb applies: if your logo does not work in black and white, you may want to look for another designer.

Are you in need of a new logo, but unsure how to design it in a way that’s sure to benefit you? Or does your current logo exhibit one of more of the above traits?

If so, contact us. We’d love to work with you to make sure that your next brand logo plays a crucial, positive role in your branding strategy.

Talk to our creatives about your next Branding design project