The do's and don'ts of logo design: 7 mistakes to avoid

#345 - Designer creating logo and branding

Let me tell you a personal story about creating logos for small businesses. My family runs this little food catering business, and since my sister and I are the “creatives” of the family, we took it upon ourselves to design a logo.

The thing is, my sister was only good at drawing, and we didn’t know much about branding back then. All we wanted was a colorful logo. Simple as that. We ended up browsing through free logo sites and picking a three-colored apple.

From that image, we tried to find some deep meaning behind it. We thought the three colors could symbolize us as three siblings, with our mom as the leaf holding us together. It was quite cheesy and forced, to be honest.

We got it all backward, focusing on the logo before understanding its meaning. But we were so excited that we immediately got uniforms printed with our new logo.

Now, you might be wondering, why is a logo such a big deal? A logo is like the face of a business. It’s the first thing people see, and it represents the brand’s personality and values.

Going back to our three-colored apple, when we showed the uniform to everyone in the family, my 6-year-old son came up to us and said, “Hey, the apple is wrong! Real apples only have one color!” 

I started to explain, but in the middle of it, he just shrugged and walked away.

It was a simple remark, but it made me realize that if I had to explain the logo every time, then it wasn’t effective. We had to change the logo and waste money on the printed merchandise.

Mistakes to avoid when creating a logo

You don’t have to go through the costly mistake that happened to us. Let’s talk about how to avoid them when creating a logo for your business.

Mistake 1: Not thinking about the market

You’ve got to understand your business inside and out. What does it stand for? Who is your target audience? And what makes it unique? By answering these questions, you can create a logo that truly resonates with your clients.

Mistake 2: Just looking for something nice

Nice doesn’t cut it. A logo needs to be well thought out and packed with meaning. It should be simple and memorable. Think about iconic logos like Apple or Nike; they are instantly recognizable, right?

Mistake 3: Using too many colors

Believe it or not, colors have a psychological impact. They can evoke emotions and convey messages. So, think about your brand and what color you want to be associated with.

Consider what aligns with your brand identity and appeals to your target audience. Also, make sure the logo looks great in grayscale or black and white, because you never know when that might come in handy.

#345 - Logo design 3 colors vs too much color
Colors distinguish brands from each other. Choose wisely.

Mistake 4: Not leaving room for the company name

We made the mistake of focusing only on the icon and didn’t consider how it would look with the company name beside it. Typography is another crucial consideration. Choosing the right fonts can make a big difference.

You want the fonts to reflect your business values and personality while ensuring they are legible at different sizes. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even mix and match fonts, as long as they play well together. 

In that case, it’s better to leave out the icon and stick to a logomark instead.

#345 - Logo design nike vs asics
Unlike the Nike logo, the Asics logo looks like the letter "o" so it's read as Oasics when placed beside the brand name which can confuse readers.

Mistake 5: The logo only looked good on a shirt

Consistency and versatility are key. A logo should be consistent with other brand elements, like the website or marketing materials. It should look good no matter where it’s used, be it on a tiny business card or a giant billboard.

Make sure your logo is adaptable to different sizes and formats. Also, consider the logo’s timelessness and longevity. 

Don’t create a trendy logo that will become outdated in a year or two. Focus on creating something timeless that can evolve with your business’s growth.

#345 - Logo design choosing the right font style disney logo
Ensure that the font you choose for your logo reflects the brand's values and promises.

Mistake 6: Not testing on other platforms

We wasted money printing shirts without testing how the logo would look on a website or on social media. Remember to test and iterate on your logo. Gather feedback from friends, family, and even professionals in the design field.

Their input can help refine the logo and make it even better. Test the logo in different contexts to ensure its effectiveness in various situations.

Mistake 7: Not checking the trademark database

Since we got our logo from a free site, it wasn’t unique. We didn’t think much of it until we applied for accreditation in another building and found out there was another food concessionaire named “Food Basket.”

Our company’s name is “Fruit Basket”. It wasn’t a legal issue, but you can imagine the confusion. Always do a trademark search to ensure your logo won’t land you in legal trouble. 

If you’re serious about protecting your brand, registering the logo as a trademark is a wise move. Better safe than sorry, right?

Consider brand strategy

Designing a small business logo is a thoughtful (sometimes grueling) process, but trust me, it’s worth it! A well-designed logo can help establish a strong brand identity and make a lasting impression on customers.

So, if you’re starting a business or know someone who is, encourage them to invest time and resources in creating a logo that truly reflects their values and resonates with their audience.

Remember, a logo is more than just a pretty picture. It’s the face of a business, the visual representation of its soul. So, let those creative juices flow, have fun with it, and create a logo that’ll make everyone say, “Wow, that’s awesome!”

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