We live in a world where customers and clients travel at a million miles an hour. It is possible that they only give you a glance before skimming on. Therefore, that glance needs to linger in the consciousness of the viewer. There needs to be immediate recognition of the brand and the sector. Your logo is the essential tool in signalling your company aims at super-speed.
With the logo being the most critical branding investment you can make, it is important to avoid common mistakes. Any error in design will follow you around the marketplace and challenge even your best efforts to expand.
Of course, you want your company to be viewed as a leader in the field and on trend. However, trends in design come and go, but your logo shouldn’t. This design will follow you through time and can quickly begin to look dated. There should be something unique about the design. However, the catchiness of the design should not represent the skills of the designer but the values of the company. If the designer is designing for themselves, then they are doing a poor job in logo design.
The typeface, which most of us would call a font, communicates a lot about the personality of your company. Choosing a font can make you the hero or reduce you to zero. You can look amateur, or you can look iconic. If you choose three or four different fonts, you can look chaotic. If you stick to one, or at most two, you can look professional. Remember, each typeface has a personality of its own. Therefore, the font you choose must represent your company through your font.
When you produce your logo, without the help of a designer, you will be tempted to use a clipart or stock image. The likelihood that others have used these images is high. Therefore, the chance that this design will make you distinctive is low. You might feel you are artistic, and nor do you think you can afford a significant investment of a designer. However, the logo may not be one of those times that you choose to try to save money with a bit of DIY.
Colour is an essential ingredient in branding. A single colour connected to your company can help towards the instant recognition you demand from your logo. However, splashing the colour around without thought will make your logo look tacky. It is a good idea to design your logo in black and white or grayscale first, and then to add a touch of colour where it will add most power.
Some image types, such as Raster, distort when scaled up or down. As they are built from pixels, if you increase the size of the logo, it will look blocky, as if it has been made in Minecraft. Go much bigger, and the image will then blur and look dreadful. Therefore, when designing a logo, it is best to use a vector design package, as this works in lines and accordingly can be scaled down for your business card and scaled up super large for your company banner.
If you make your design complex, then you will lose a lot of the power of a logo. The logo aims to provide instant recognition, even as the customer scans through the internet. If your design is too complicated, then it will merge with the other graphics on a page. If there is too much detail, it will defeat the purpose, which is to be easy to see. Look at the classic logos that you will recognise instantly. Apple – an apple with a bite taken; MacDonald’s – the golden arches; Nike – a tick. The genius is simplicity.
Probably the most drastic of mistakes is to steal from the design of another. It is challenging to be unique each time. However, there is nothing to be gained from taking the design of one company or individual and using it with another. The point of a logo is to be unique, to be different. You are essentially stealing the brand and values of the other company. This is intellectual property that has been built up with years of trade, and you will not make yourself look too good by plagiarising their work.
Your logo needs to be simple, with sparse use of colour, only one or maybe two fonts at a push can be linked clearly to your business and your values. It seems easy, but perhaps this is one of those times a designer will make a significant difference.
James Birch is the sales and marketing manager at Colour Graphics. He is an expert in quality printed marketing materials
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