by Neil Brown
Creating a successful logo is the cornerstone of branding your company. It is the primary ‘mark’ that conveys the impression about your business to others. Many small businesses (and also larger companies) make mistakes that could have easily been avoided while developing their company logo.
Here are 5 of the most common mistakes:
1. Designing it yourself (or by any amateur)
If you’re serious about your business then you should hire a designer to create your logo. Businesses will invest tens of thousands of dollars (and more) in equipment, facilities, inventory and other assets that customers may never see. But some will balk at spending $1000 or more on a logo that will be used on every piece of marketing material, website and any other form of media that every customer sees.
Explain the logic behind that, please?
Some owners will try to design the logo themselves—or have a family member or friend (who are not graphic designers) to create it for them to try to get out cheap.
And many companies mistakenly have their sign company or printer to design their logo. This is not to put down sign companies or printers in any way. But they are mostly concerned with creating the sign or the printed business card, brochure, etc. at hand. Typically they’re not going to take the careful consideration and skill a pro designer will in creating your brand that will be used across every form of media.
If your logo looks cheap and amateurish, guess what else does? Right, your business! By hiring a professional designer whose portfolio of work you have reviewed to gauge their creativity and quality, your logo will be:
- Unique and memorable (not generic)
- Appealing to your target audience
- The best quality reproduction possible in any form or print or online media
- A long term brand that will serve you well for years to come
2. Uses raster images instead of vector graphics
It’s industry standard practice to design logos in a vector design application—most commonly Adobe Illustrator. A vector graphic is able to be enlarged to any size that can be printed (such as billboards, etc) and it still maintain it’s original crisp type and artwork.
A raster (or bitmap) image, however is like a digital photo. You can only enlarge it so much until it starts to become pixelated (that fuzzy, jagged look). This would be the case if your designer only created the logo in Photoshop.
Now there are uses for raster logos such as websites, email newsletters, PowerPoint presentations, etc.—but for any printed marketing materials, only a vector format should be used.
3. Too complex
Many businesses think a logo should convey everything they do and in a literal sense. So if you’re a parts manufacturer, the logo should be a collage of the 4-5 lines of parts you make, along with the name of your company—right? Wrong. Your logo was never intended to do that. That’s where your marketing comes into play.
Think of Nike. Their logo is the famous swoosh. They don’t use an image of a shoe for their logo. Their marketing materials convey athletes wearing their apparel and shoes. And their brand is so well known that they don’t need to use the name “Nike” — just the swoosh will be enough for everyone to immediately recognize it.
Also, having a logo that is too complex and detailed will hurt it’s legibility when it’s printed at a small size or on certain materials (textured paper, embroidered shirts, promotional products, etc).
4. Based too much on trends
Trends and fads come and go like the wind. You want your logo and brand to last for years to come.
When a design style becomes so popular that it is used everywhere it becomes cliché. For example, when some of the design software first introduced the ability to apply a bevel effect to text and graphics—this was used all over the place and only because it was a new fad. It was the “bright and shiny object” at the time, until a new one came along.
But design is based on tried and true principles, not temporary “oh this is cool” fads.
This is a big mistake—not being consistent in the use of your logo. Separate departments may use a different font in the logo for materials they are responsible for producing. There may be multiple versions of the logo “floating around” that get used. Or a newspaper or printer may have “recreated” the logo because you didn’t provide them with the proper vector format to use.
When you branding is not consistent, you message will not be effective.
When your logo is not professional, your business is not perceived as professional.
Whether you realize it or not, if you’re making any of these five mistakes, it’s costing you money!