Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ten Things To Avoid When Designing A Logo

I don't think anyone will argue how important a logo is to your company. It's the face of your business--a reflection of who you are & what you stand for. It's the first impression that people will have of you & hopefully the lasting impression, the one that stays with them.

We all know the advantages of a good logo. But what about the bad logo design? There are so many out there. A bad logo can literally turn people away from your business; sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. No matter how good your service or product is, a bad logo can keep prospective customers away.

Since no one is business for that to happen, here are 10 things to avoid when designing a new logo or redesigning an existing one:

1.  FONTS: Ask any designer, & they can name a selection of fonts that should never ever be used in logo design. Perhaps the greatest offender is Comic Sans, the condemned face that has had websites created calling for it's removal from software programs & eradication from the library of fonts. I feel those are extreme measures, but because of it's reputation, stay away from that font. Other fonts to avoid are Mistral, Viraldi & Curlz because they are either to hard to read or too cutesy to be taken seriously. Further, you should make sure that the font you select matches the corporate image you are trying to convey.
2.  STOCK ART: If you can't afford to hire a graphic designer, using clip art in your logo may be your only option when designing your first logo. That said, you should avoid it whenever possible. Logos comprised of clip art look amateurish, & you run the risk of reusing art that another company has already used. Your logo should be original for two reasons: you'll be remembered & it shows you're different for your competition. You also don't want to be linked to someone's negative feeling towards a business that has nothing to do with yours simply because you both have the same logo. 

3.  PHOTOSHOP FILTERS & EFFECTS: Outer glow, inner glow, gradients, bevels are effects that can overkill a logo. Used sparingly, a gradient or drop shadow can really make your logo pop. Too many effects can be distracting, though. What's more, they can make your logo difficult to read or understand. One filter or effect, used wisely, can create an interesting logo. Avoid using too many--it will have the reverse effect.

4.  UNRELATED IMAGERY: Make sure the imagery in your logo is somehow related to your company or at least the industry your company is in. Including images, though pleasing, but unrelated to your business may confuse prospects & new customers.

5.  INAPPROPRIATE IMAGERY: When you are reviewing the design of your new logo, put your head in the gutter for a second. Is there anything remotely inappropriate about your logo? Are there any elements that could be construed as a phallic symbol or otherwise offensive? Is the lettering in your logo spaced so that it says something other than your company name at a glance? Not everyone looks at images like these shown & see phallic symbols, sexual innuendos  or four-letter words. But many do so take a good look at your graphics to ensure they don't resemble anything offensive or inappropriate.

6.  FUZZY GRAPHICS: While full-color photographic images can be aesthetically pleasing, they wreak havoc on graphic designers. Try to limit the photographic to it's simplest form. Not only will it cut down on headaches for your logo designer, it will also make things much easier whenever you decide to use your logo on promotional imprinted products. The bigger mistake, in this case, is using raster rather than vector images. Raster images are made up of tiny pixels, & get extremely fuzzy when blown up. Vector images, on the other hand, are scalable, so they look good at any size. Programs that don't deal with vector images--like Photoshop--shouldn't be used to create logos.

7.  COLOR FOR EFFECT: Would your logo lose any effect if it were one color rather than several? Try to design a logo, so that if multi colors are used, it will still look good in only one color. This is an especially important point when it comes to customized promotional items since a one color imprint is used most often. One of the best tests for logo design is to put it in black & white. If its's still crisp & readable, even on a small scale, it's a good logo. If not, try again.

8. THE CORPORATE SWOOSH: Even though Nike popularized the swoosh & made it theirs, today too many companies rely on this design for their logo. The swoosh generally does little to differentiate one company from another one. The corporate swoosh is safe, yet completely disconnected from brand identity. After over a century of ineffective, constantly changing logos, Pepsi has finally resorted to the swoosh......the bland, meaningless decorative flourish that says "I give up". You're not Pepsi so you shouldn't take the risk sending out that message.

9.  TOO COMPLEX: For every corporate swoosh, there's a logo that goes too far in the other direction......it has too much going on. Many national companies & sports related logos fall into this catagory.  Think about the fast food logos.  They are nationally recognized & most of them have a very simple design. If these logos had complicated images, they may get overlooked. Try to keep your logo as simple as possible, & what design element you do employ will stand out as a bold statement, even if viewed hundreds of yards away.

10.  TOO ABSTRACT:  Make sure your logo isn't so convoluted that the public doesn't recognize what it's supposed to be. People should not have to squint or have to figure out your logo. One of the best examples of this is a logo you'll be seeing regularly for the next two weeks......the one for the 2012 London Olympics. This is abstraction taken to the extreme.  Did you know those blocky shapes are to read 2012? Luckily the Olympics doesn't need publicity, but if this logo were for a company, they'd be in trouble.

There are many things to avoid when designing a logo for your company--ranging from inappropriate fonts to generic images. If you are designing a logo for the first time or redesigning the one you already have, think about the logos that stick in your mind. What makes them so effective?

Remember your logo will be seen on a multitude of media ranging from your website & printed brochures to promotional custom products. Don't envision it in only one place.

Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

No comments:

Post a Comment