How Not to Screw Up Your Logo Design

how not to screw up your logo design
Logos, they’re everywhere, but which ones do you remember?

Probably the same ones I and everyone else does, but why is that?

Because they were designed with key elements in mind, ones that make a logo memorable and distinctive, and not just made up with an attitude of “that’ll do”!

And you don’t have to be a multinational corporation to have one.

So, what’s the solution to a winning logo?

You have to avoid making any of the following mistakes and learn how not to screw up your logo design.

Overcomplicating your logo

Using a lot of detail in a logo used to be a common approach, but now, the saying “less is more” is the first golden rule when designing one.

Because the logo world’s changing, global brands are redesigning their well-known logos, and most new ones all have one thing in common, minimalism.

sample of complicated logo
sample of complicated logos

And there’s a good reason for this:

  • Simplistically designed logos are more versatile and reproducible, meaning they are usable on numerous platforms and mediums.

Think format when designing your logo, you might need it as a favicon, or a social media avatar, so it must scale without any loss of clarity, and that’s what a clutter-free logo does well.

Not Knowing your customers

A rookie mistake or an overly egotistic designer, whatever the cause, designing a logo without knowing your customers is a fatal mistake.

know and undestand your customers
Every market and customer demographic has its own language/style.

For your logo to be recognized and remembered, it has to resonate with the viewer and connect with them on an emotional level; you make that happen by designing it to suit your customers.

Before you start sketching, do some research:

  • Check out your stiffest competition: Odds are if they’re top of the game, their logo is too.
  • Look at logo ideas examples from other niches not necessarily related to yours.
  • Research your audience’s demographics:  Their age, gender, religion, ethnic background, class, sexual orientation, education, occupation, group membership, and other relevant categories.

The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to create a logo that conveys the right message and appeals to them.

Not using the right colors

Did you know that your business has specific colors that are proven to work for it?

Colors are powerful allies when designing a logo, but if you use the wrong ones, they’ll misrepresent your company and send the wrong message to your target audience. And if that happens, your logo will miss the mark.

Not to worry, though, as there are design rules that will help you choose the perfect colors, and send the right message.

choosing color for design
Some you need to know are:

  • Market relevance: Your business has specific colors that suit it, find them by researching your competitors.
  • Two, no more, no less: You’ll notice that most modern logos only use two colors; this is because opposing colors make a logo pop and stand out while remaining simplistic enough to reproduce.
  • Black and white: For versatility, your logo design should work in both colors and black and white.

[notice type=”info”]Pro tip – Designers always start by sketching in black and white, adding color when the logo’s complete.[/notice]

Not using the right fonts

As with color, using the wrong fonts, or too many, will only serve to confuse your logo and your audience.

If you’ve chosen a combination of wordmark logotype, you’ll need to decide on a font or fonts, and the ones you choose will set a particular tone.

Fonts and typefaces are a visual language, each narrating the tone of a text in its distinctive way, and yours must speak the language of your intended audience.

Trying to choose a font from the thousands available can be simplified by knowing the four main groups:

  • Display: Used for large presentations, banners, newspaper headlines, and posters to grab the viewer’s attention.
  • Script: An elegant and flowing font used for formal text on certificates and invitations. This font’s not suitable for long text due to its lack of readability but can look very attractive in a logo.
  • Serif: A popular font that’s recognizable by the small line/stroke, at the end of a letter, giving it fluidity and making it highly legible. Serif has four subcategories: Slab Serif, Didone, Traditional, and Old style.
  • San Serif: A Serif without the ending stroke and more simplistic in the overall design. Considered a contemporary font and is regularly used for computer screen text and headings.

The rule of logo design is to use no more than two fonts; this helps keep the logo balanced and scalable. Try using a strong font for your name, and if you have a slogan, a fluid approach works well.

Using a single format logo design

Files are transferrable in several formats (jpeg, Microsoft Word Doc, etc.), and when it comes to a logo, some are better than others.

When creating your logo, ensure that the designer, or logo maker, provides you with a range of file formats, so you’re equipped with the right file type for on-screen viewing and printing, etc.

design files format
The three-file type you should have for your logo are:

  • PDF: Perfect for all print uses, such as advertisements, T-shirts, and brochures.
  • PNG: For online uses, examples are: Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Desktop Publishing, and social media updates.
  • Eps – AI: Also known as “vector files,” these enable you to scale your logo to any size without losing clarity. Your logo should have a vector file format included, but you’ll require Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Illustrator software to open one.

Taking inspiration from trends

Trends come and go, so basing your logo’s design on the latest one could mean it’ll be out of fashion by this time next year.

To give your logo longevity, use design techniques that are proven to work in your marketplace.

Some elements that don’t fall in and out of fashion are:

  • Color: Color psychology is here to stay, and some colors suit your market more than others.
  • Font: As with colors, some fonts will work for your brand, and others will work against it, a little research into font psychology will help you choose the right one.
  • Shape: Yep, more psychology. Squares, circles, and triangles all send different subliminal messages; use them to your advantage.

Using tried and tested design tactics and adding an up-to-date feeling to your logo (right now, as mentioned, minimalistic logos are what work best), you’ll help create one that’ll stand the test of time and still look fresh this time next year.

Photos courtesy of

Scroll to Top