Adam Snape
Brand Strategy & Identity Design


Thoughts on Design, Branding and Business.

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Logo Design

Logo design isn't as simple as the final product would often have you believe. There are many facets required in creating a successful logo and several common mistakes and oversights you should try to avoid. Although this isn’t an extensive list. it does include 5 of the most common mistakes i’ve seen carried out by both small and medium size businesses.

wrong way road sign - logo mistake and how to avoid them

1. Shiny Object Syndrome

As entrepreneurs we will always crave whats new and whats hot, bolting off at break neck speed with excitement. Ordinarily, this is a great characteristic for growing your business but there are some instances including design, where this is not the case.

It’s not often that you fit the same demographics as your target audience, our taste and cravings aren’t always going to align with the same people we are trying to attract.

A brand —a successful brand, is timeless and as a logo is a visual embodiment of the brand, this should by design also be timeless. Shiny Object Syndrome has a habit of drawing our attention to the current trends, as cool as they may appear they are fickle, anything but timeless Trends are often here today and gone tomorrow, something no entrepreneur or business owner would have want for their company.

2. Over Complexity

When you’re trying to encapsulate the personality of an entire organisation into a single symbol it’s can be very hard to simplify your ideas. It’s quite easy to get carried away with the amount of information you’re trying to impart, whether that’s by adding more flourishes or more text.

The main issues with too much detail are the size limitations and future reproduction costs. There are many instances where you will have to scale down your logo, whether that’s to fit on the end of a pen or for your websites favicon. If we have too much fine detail most of that detail is going to be lost as we get smaller.

You may also find that printing and reproduction costs will also increase as the detail of your designs becomes more intricate. Higher quality hardware, more time and sometimes more material will be required to provide a high enough resolution to make the reproduction legible, sometimes even at sizes we would deem reasonable under common use cases.

3. Colour Dependency

A strong and identifiable colour palette is an important part of any brand identity and logo however in today’s diverse market place there will be times where you will be forced to abandon colour when displaying your brand.

A successful logo will always be designed in black & white before any colour is added. In an ideal world your logo should be recognisable in colour, in black & white, or even when carved in to a sign or embroidered on a uniform.

If we aren’t careful your logo can become complete illegible and therefore unusable..

Of course we can play with colour, the colour palette is what generally translates the most emotion in a logo. We just have to make sure we apply the colour in such a way that there is distinction and separation even if all colour is removed.

4. Poor Typography

Typography is often the part of a logo design that gets overlooked, however it plays an integral role in strengthening your design, and your brand as a whole. As well as communicating the name and possibly the slogan, your choice of font and the execution influences the viewers perceptions of your brand. A bold serif font using only capital letters will help portray a stable and professional brand while a rounded sans-serif font in lower case will leave a more modern and friendly impression.

There are a few general rules when choosing fonts in design, to start, once you know what vibe you’re going for it is good practice to avoid using too many fonts or font weights. Ideally you shouldn’t be using more than two fonts or font weight’s in a single design. It is also essential to take the time to check your kerning, spacing and the sizing of any lettering.

Making the right choice with your fonts and applying them thoughtfully can be the difference between making or breaking your logo design. Your typography is arguably as important as any accompanying logo mark you may design, with this is mind you shouldn’t rush your typographic decisions, it can sometimes take almost as long as your logo mark design process to perfect your typography..

As you would with other aspects of your design, you should spend time researching the styles of typeface that would be best suited to your design, before narrowing them down and experimenting with what works.

5. DIY Logos - Using an Amateur

A professional business looks, sounds and feels professional. Often your logo is the element providing the first impression to potential clients, if your logo does not look professional or gives the wrong signals to viewers it can be the difference between landing a new client or loosing someone forever.

When running your business is it easy to invest both your time and money into the tangible and physical assets required to run and appear professional including both property and equipment. This spending often means the more intangible assets, like your logo and brand are pushed down the list of priority or given a smaller budget.

In an attempt to save money I have come across business owners attempting the challenge themselves or calling in a favour from a friend or relative (often with clip-art based outcomes). In these instances the views and ideas are coming without any outside perspective, not only are you going to end up with a design that breaks logo design basic rules, it is likely to be designed without taking the target audience into account and finishing by just fitting the taste of the business owner.

By hiring a professional logo and identity designer you aren’t only guaranteeing a professional, effective and memorable design, your going to avoid any issues caused by a lack of experience and foresight mainly in regards to reproduction or longevity.

If you have any questions or would like someone to look at your logo and brand design please feel free to contact me.

If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.
— Ralf Speth
adam snape portrait colour round

About the Author

Adam Snape is a designer, brand strategist and landscape photographer based in the beautiful Peak District National Park. Find him sharing landscapes on instagram and say hello.