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.

Being sucked into the latest trend

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.

Choosing typefaces randomly

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.

Using clipart or stock images

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.

Over-relying on colour

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.

Using image types that cannot be scaled

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.

Trying to communicate too much

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.

Stealing from others

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.

In short

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.