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Startup Marketing Advice: Fatal Mistakes in Logo Design and How to Avoid them

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Posted 11th January 2013 at 02:32 PM by sherifhussein

Missing the Creative Brief, Unique Selling Point, Designing for Your Eyes and Lack of Why

More often than not, designers (and clients) tend to design a logo based on their own personal taste and preference, and end up missing the brand’s unique selling point or what makes it rise from the crowd. The most important step in the process of any design project is the creative briefing process. As an entrepreneur, you should clearly have a specific direction, your brand (company) should have a mission statement, and this is where the creative brief should stem from. Look at your brand from the eyes of your customers, not yours. Finally, the worst thing in the world is having to answer “Why was your logo designed this way?” with “Because I think it looks good”. Please have a very good reason for the way your logo looks and be prepared to defend it with your life.

Relying on Digital Effects and Limited Application

Take away the gradients, shadows, bevels, glows, and embosses, and what do you end up with? If your logo still looks just as good, chances are you’re on the right track. Digital effects like gradients and shadows should be avoided at all cost in your logo, simply because they do not work on all scales and formats, for example, you cannot embroider a logo with a shadow on a shirt. Your logo should look exactly the same whether on your website or printed on the side of a pen. When choosing (or designing) a logo, you should consider all the limitations of production, figure out how the logo will be used before starting to think of design. Finally, your logo should work in its simplest form, will your logo still look good if it were stripped down to the basics, like in all solid white on a black background? If it still looks good, you are on the right track.

Clipart and stock graphics

Simple and straightforward, clipart and stock graphics are a dime a dozen and flooding the internet – when you use them in your logo, what does that say about you and your company? Your logo should be explicitly designed for you and only you, it should be unique and appealing. Do yourself a favor and don’t use clipart and stock vector graphics, they will make your logo look cheap.

Too many concepts, detail, fonts and colors

The golden rule of design is “Less is more”. When designing a logo, you want to portray a message, a specific and clear message, one main message, what you’re about, which is why you want to avoid more than one concept per logo – it’s that simple. Logos with a high degree of detail and design complexity don’t scale well when printed or viewed in small sizes. When you print a complex logo in small sizes, it will lose detail and may look like a smudge or, worse, a mistake. The more detail a logo has, the more information the viewer has to process. A logo should be memorable, and one of the best ways to make it memorable is to keep it simple. Look at the logos of Nike and Apple. Each company has a very simple icon that can easily be reproduced at any size. Every font has a certain style, a theme and spirit, I saw quite a bit of logos that fail because of a poor choice of font. When designing your own logo, avoid using more than two fonts in the entire layout, and when making your font choices, go with two contrasting fonts, your objective is for both fonts to look as different from each other as possible, you don’t want it to look like a mistake. Several design resources would tell you to start your design in black and white, and add color as the final step in the design process. This is important for a simple reason; your brand should not rely on color to standout, again because you cannot guarantee that your color (options) are supported by all media

Not Using the Right Software and Not Hiring a Professional

Do yourself a favor and ask your designer what software they will use to design your logo, if the answer is Photoshop, walk away and never look back. Photoshop produces raster images (that consist of pixels). Although Photoshop is capable of creating very large (high resolution) logos, you can never be sure how large you may want your logo one day. A raster image-based logo is the worst idea when you’re after a new logo, enlarging a raster image will pixelate. The industry standard for logo design is to use a vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Vector graphics are made up of mathematical precise points, this ensures visual consistency in any size. Your brand is the single most important image of your business, it is no place for amateurs, it is no place for local printers, and it is no place for design competition websites, which are mostly populated by amateur designers, do your business a favor and get a professional to do the job.

by Jinni Communications
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