10 Logo No No’s

4 – Avoid Cliches

CLICHE_LOGOSNothing makes you less recognizable than when you use the same imagery and metaphor as everyone else. Your company is the missing piece, right? Well, the puzzle metaphor is clever, sort of. But what does it really say about your business? Does it really show that you’re “innovative” or able to work “outside the box?”

It’s not just the puzzle concept, though. This is also a problem with folks using lighthouses, trees, hands and hearts. Moreover, these sorts of marks do nothing to explain your business. When the same image can represent games, autism, investments, insurance and software, you know you’ll have a tough time standing out.

5 – Obviously Not

OBVIOUS_LOGOSWithin each industry are some pretty obvious graphic solutions. Give them some thought, write them down and then throw them away. The whole point behind a graphic identity is to distinguish yourself from the competitors. If your logo isn’t serving this end, you might as well not have one at all. Certainly don’t spend money to look like everyone else.

6 – Copycat Designs

COPYCAT_LOGOSRemember when I said that there was something worse than having a bad logo? Imagine paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to craft your identity and then learning that it is stolen art. Now that’s a bummer. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. And more often than not, business owners won’t find out their new logo is a “ripoff” until a lawyer points it out.

Overseas firms are notorious for this because they’re not held to the same trademark laws that we have in the US. Embarrassment isn’t the only price to pay when this happens. If your logo looks too much like another company, you can be subjected to lawsuits and heavy court costs. Add the costs of re-investing in second “new” identity and you’ll wish you’d been working with a pro from the get-go.

7 – Trends Die

TRENDY_LOGOSYou know how you can visit a neighborhood and you know what era the homes were built in? It’s true in graphic design, too. In the 90’s people were putting swooshes on everything – swoosh around the globe, swoosh around the company name, swoosh swoosh swoosh. In the next decade folks were bent on making people out of triangles (see above). Of course there are a number of designs that find popularity – you just want to be the trend-setter, not the tag-along.

That speaks to the value of originality again. So many people are afraid to be “different” even though they’ve built their products around differentiation. Experience shows that people would rather be the needle, not the haystack. Besides, you want a look that works for years to come.

It’s okay to strike out on your own if the decisions are founded in research.

[note note_color=”#EFEBE3″ text_color=”#4e544e”]NOTE: Logos used on this page were found publicly (on-line) and are protected under Fair Use. They will be removed at the owners’ request.[/note]
Brian Parker
Comments: 2
  • Fred
    July 23, 2014 11:11 AM

    The top ten rules that people need to fit inside their head from the start.

    Nice compilation Typical Genius! 🙂

    • parkerb
      July 25, 2014 12:42 AM

      Thanks, Fred – I see these sorts of logos every day and know they’re chasing customers away. We live in a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) age and lots of people feel like they can save money by learning to use some software. Personally, I don’t know how to reshingle my roof, fix my plumbing or a broken hose in my car. I call a pro and rely on his experience to deliver the best solution. It always feels expensive, but it frees up my time to tackle other (money-making) endeavors and keeps me from having to pay to do the work twice!

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