1. Created by an Amateur
The problem: One of the biggest mistakes small business owners or creative entrepreneurs can make is to have their logo designed by an amateur. Your logo is the first thing people see of your business, and there is nothing more important than a good first impression. A professional designer will deliver a beautiful logo that appeals to your ideal customer and they will handle everything so you can focus on your business, not on design. I understand that sometimes money is tight and hiring a professional designer is not possible. If that is the case, my advice is to start with an extremely simple logo and hire a designer as soon as you are able. Do not be tempted to use discount logo design services like 99designs or fiverr because these services cheat designers out of a living and they cheat you out of a good logo. The reality is that if you are paying $40 (or $5! 😱) for a logo, there is a 0% chance that any part of it is custom or unique. This could quickly go from a pain-in-the-neck to a nightmare if you are sued over design infringement. Just say no.
How to fix it: Hire a professional designer. If you cannot afford to hire a designer, just type out your business name in a font that you like. A simple logo like this will get you by, and won’t stand in the way of rebranding in the future.
How to fix it: Make sure your logo is designed as a Scalable Vector Graphic. An SVG is a file type that uses math to draw itself and so it has no scale; you can scale it up to billboard size and it will never get blurry. Adobe Illustrator is my favorite program for creating SVGs. Photoshop on the other hand creates “raster” graphics where the image has individual pixels and can only be scaled up so far before it gets pixelated.
3. Too Trendy
The problem: We have all seen them; the hipster badge logos with mountains and arrows, or the hand-lettered logos with a splash of watercolor. These kinds of logos not only date your business, but they make your business fade into a sea of similar businesses. Be deliberate about how you present your business and use design to stand out, not fit in.
How to fix it: Focus on the things that make your business unique and include those in your logo.
The problem: Just like trendy logos, cliche logos are everywhere. Photographer? Camera logo. Hairdresser? Scissors logo. Baker? Whisk logo. Logos like these don’t showcase the unique value or viewpoint of your business.
How to fix it: I create unique and clever logos by using an Idea Grid. Read my full post on Idea Grids to learn how to use one (and to grab a free template!)
5. Relies on Color
The problem: The most important quality of a logo is versatility; a logo needs to work in a variety of situations and in a variety of mediums. If your logo doesn’t work in black and white you could run into serious issues if color printing isn't available.
How to fix it: Design in black and white first, then use color to highlight specific aspects of the design.
6. Overly Complex
The problem: A good logo should highlight one main aspect of your business. Busy and complex logos are hard to read and they are not memorable.
How to fix it: If Coco Chanel were a graphic designer, she would tell you to remove things from the design until only the essential remain.
7. Copies Others
How to fix it: Focus on your own design strengths and avoid looking at logo designs early in the design process. Sometimes when we look at other designs they stick in our heads and it can be very difficult to come up with other concepts. Before you head to Dribble or Pinterest, grab your sketchbook and draw a few dozen of your own designs.