8 Logo Mistakes You Can't Afford To Make

8 Logo Design Mistakes to Avoid

You can't afford to commit any of these eight deadly graphic design sins with your logo. Okay. So maybe "sins" is a little too strong. But these are mistakes that you should avoid if you want your logo to make a professional statement for your business. Some shortcuts and pitfalls can even cost you more money.

Without a doubt, every business needs a logo. Your logo will be the lasting impression for potential clients and is a way for them to identify your business quickly. Think about your smartphone. You have all those apps installed. What if all those little square (sometimes round), colorful icons were all the same. One color, one shape and had no defining features. How could you quickly choose the correct app? These icons have become so well known to us that we swipe and tap our smartphones hardly using our cognitive thinking. Having a client immediately relate your business logo with its related professional products and services should be your ultimate logo goal.

Too many times business owners spend thousands of dollars on retail location, equipment and business assets and yet they fail to invest in their logo. Your logo is a business asset that will far outlast that commercial range or even your current building. If you want to be perceived as a "professional," you need a professional logo. You should invest some time (and money) appropriately into your logo.

1. Using Clipart or Stock Images

Remember the first time you discovered the clipart library in Word? It was so much fun adding little pictures here and there in a letter to grandma. These tiny images are usually offered for personal-use to help illustrate in word processing documents, slideshow presentations and school projects. Many are not designed nor licensed to be used for commercial logos.

There are plenty of other clipart and stock image online directories. You can find a little illustration that represents almost any word in the English language. So finding a symbol or image that "fits" your business would be an easy task...too easy. Using standard clipart weakens your brand in several ways. One of the most serious infraction is that your "logo" would not be original. But using these types of illustrations can also lead to more serious and costly issues. You could be infringing on copyright laws resulting in a serious lawsuit or hefty fines. (see next mistake for more detail)

2. Using Google Images

Google and other search engines have done a fine job of indexing illustrations and pictures on the world wide web. This makes it easy to find images, illustrations, clipart and even sketches on almost any topic you're brave enough to research. (I recently researched "human arm" in order to get some quick reference images for a sketch I was doing. The graphic images of severed arms was a little disturbing. Search carefully my friends.)

Google has added filters to help you narrow down your results. You can even filter usage rights (image licenses). However, at the time this article was written, Google still states the disclaimer "images may be copyright" for each image that it displays. Using an image from Google is hugely ill-advised. Proving image copyright infringement is easier than ever for creative art distributors. Copyright violaters a regularly hit with a $25,000 fine per usage plus additional fines for every day the image remains published. Some more dedicated art distributors of royalty images can lead to lawsuits that hit six figures. That's not something you want to risk - this can be a VERY EXPENSIVE MISTAKE!

3. Using the Wrong Font or Typography

There are millions of fonts available. What you may not know is that some of these fonts are licensed and, like clipart, cannot be used for commercial purposes. If you have a font that you've decided to include in your logo design, be sure to check the licensing information to avoid copyright violations.

Aside from copyright violations, here are more common font mistakes that amateur logo designers make:

• Using font styling that is not appropriate for your industry. An example would be using Comic Sans for a law firm.
• Using too many different fonts. Your logo should only include a maximum of two fonts or typography styles.

4. Not considering Your Target Audience

This is Marketing 101. Who are your trying to sell or reach with your business? What do they like and dislike? How do they talk? What images relate to them? Knowing your target audience is critical in creating a business image that speaks to them. Many times business owners let their own opinions, likes and dislikes drive the brand, business image and logo design. However, the successful business owners understand the importance of aligning with their target audience FIRST.

Does this mean that the business owner's taste and preferences should not be taken into account when designing the company logo? No. It does, however, suggest that your target audience comes first. For example, if you hate the color pink but your target audience is breast cancer awareness, you would likely need to suck it up and use pink to better relate to your audience. This is where a marketing professional comes in handy. An experienced marketing professional co-working with your graphic designer will help you to define this type of design detail.

Hit Your Target Market Audience

5. Using Complex Design

If you over-complicate your logo, you will lose your audience and may send mixed messages about your company's vision and dedication to quality. Your logo should represent your vision for your business most simply and cleanly.

Also, you should avoid using too many trendy elements. Trends, as the word implies, will come and go. Your logo and brand need to be timeless and unique. A strong brand can and should last for 20 years or more. Think about the brands that are most familiar to you. Consider Coca-Cola. When was the last time you saw Coca-Cola change their logo? Answer: The favorite cola icon hasn't diverted much from their original logo initially created in 1887. To date, that's over 130 years of branding! The lesson, unique and simple branding clearly works.

This is a common problem for business owners that attempt to gather too much feedback from friends, family or other persons that are neither graphic design or marketing professionals. So, is it okay to get other people's opinions? Yes. However, weigh those opinions lightly when you are trusting a marketing and graphic design firm's professional opinion. If you try to please all your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and Joe down the street, your logo will become a confusing, convoluted mess. Indecisive and over-complicated designs are a terrible representation of your business. Your target audience will translate this as the statement, "We couldn't make up our mind. So we chose to include everything."

6. Logo Not Ready for Multimedia

If you do not know what "vector art" is, the chances are that you are not the right person to design the logo. There are two types of digital artwork, vector type and raster type. Raster images are commonly JPEG (JPG), TIFF or GIF format. Vector formats are usually PDF, EPS or AI file formats.

In the simplest terms, raster images are suitable to be viewed at a defined screen or print resolution. The image is made up of tiny little blocks called pixels. Each pixel is set at a specific size. Think about the last time you tried to take a picture and print it larger than it was displayed. Remember how the details start to look blurry the larger you print it? You may have even begun to notice little blocks that make up the image. Those are due to pixel enlargement.

Vector images are infinitely re-sizable because the elements that make up the design are defined by a combination of path points and vector paths based on a mathematical formula. Sounds more complicated than it really is. However, vector images are necessary in reproducing the image in various media and various resolutions. Vector formats allow the image to be re-sized without losing resolution.

Only having your logo in raster format WILL COST YOU IN THE FUTURE. For example, you have a little logo that you have printed on your business cards, used on your Facebook page, in emails and on letterhead. Now you are looking to put a sign on your storefront. So you bring your raster logo image to a sign company. They will inform you that you have a raster image and it will only print clearly at about one inch wide. This will not be useful for the five-foot sign that is to adorn your store. So they will offer to convert the raster file to a vector file at an additional charge. Some print shops have been known to charge $500 or more for this service; depends on the final product and the end user rights. That's right. They may create the vector file for use in the product you are purchasing but you will need to pay for the conversion again should you choose to select a different print supplier for a future project. We do recommend that you request a digital copy of any vector artwork that is created for your business.

It's also important to note here that having your logo in vector format will allow the colors to be defined for the appropriate media. CMYK or Pantone Colors are needed for print-ready artwork. RGB will be used for digital media.

Note: Moxa Media does offer discounted raster to vector conversions. Just email your raster file to benji@moxawebdesign.com. We'll get you a quick quote for an affordable vector conversion.

7. Copycat Logos

Aside from the obvious copyright infringement risks, using someone's existing design to base your logo on is a lousy idea PERIOD. Your logo product will be considered unoriginal at best and, at worst, a knock-off. This portrays a lack of dedication to your business and poor decision-making. As we've stated, your logo should be unique and custom designed to communicate YOUR vision, YOUR business and YOUR preferences. No one likes a copycat!

You may also find yourself mimicking a logo that has issues. The design may include one or more of the no-nos from this article. Creating a design based on this type of logo would only highlight those issues. Typically this results in a design that is a Dr. Frankenstein's monster of a logo...not pretty!

sep scary graveyard

8. Choosing The Wrong Designer

Your logo will be unprofessional if you select an unprofessional designer to craft the logo. The following mistakes usually lead to breaking one or more of the other seven rules listed above:

• Using an online logo design service. Often these are knock-off, clipart-ish, overseas services providing cheap designs quickly. The compositions produced are usually thoughtless and not unique in design concepts.
• Doing to logo design work yourself. Unless you are a graphic designer by profession, it is unlikely that you will have the marketing and design experience to produce a professional logo design. Hire an experienced professional and trust them to deliver a dazzling, professional logo.
• Getting a friend or neighbor or cousin to do the logo design as a favor to you. Unless this person is a professional graphic designer, you can expect a sub-par, unprofessional logo design. Also, you might consider the motto, "You get what you pay for." If it isn't worth paying for, it isn't worth using to represent your business.

Choosing the right graphic designer to create your logo is also important. It isn't just as simple as selecting the lowest price. You should consider the firm's portfolio, customer ratings and whether they have experience in marketing. Do they have the passion for understanding your vision? Do they seem interested in learning more about your business or do they just want to create the logo to make a few bucks?

So what can you expect to invest in a professionally designed logo? Large marketing firms can charge $5000 to $10,000 for a logo and brand development. Moxa Media isn't a large marketing firm. Our logo and branding development packages start as low as $250 with larger corporate packages starting at $1500. We also do something that sets us apart from most of our competition. We include logo and brand development in our new business website packages. So you can get a genuinely complete marketing package: website, logo design, brand development, marketing strategy, social media presence and all the bells and whistles - all at an affordable price.

Text or call Benji at 225-964-6825 to learn more.

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