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5 mistakes to avoid with your Logo Design

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Mika, Staff Writer

Thursday, 4 March 2021

A logo should be something that proudly shows off what it is that you do. Consisting of lettering, imagery or a mixture of both - it will be the face of your business on your website, social media, signage and printed marketing materials. 

If you’re just starting your business or looking to refresh your existing logo design, there are some top points for consideration before you do so. Here’s everything you need to know about what you shouldn’t do when it comes to designing your logo. 

Not asking a designer to design your logo

Starting with the obvious, and as with anything that requires a professional outcome, how can you achieve that if you don’t hire an expert? A higher upfront cost is usually what puts people off hiring a graphic designer versus drawing the logo themselves. 

However, what you get in return is someone who has actually studied graphic design. They’ll have a full understanding of colour, typography, layout and scale. You only get one chance to make a first impression with your audience, and anything that looks amateurish, dated or a mismatch for the audience just won’t do. As the old saying goes, ‘buy cheap, buy twice’...

Using a copied design

You might be able to get away with ripping an image off a search engine for a social media post, but the same doesn’t apply if you are looking to profit from the content. The majority of logos are copyrighted, meaning if you steal the exact logo or even create something a little too similar, you can be prosecuted. Instead, your logo should be a fresh and original design with the source files to prove it. 

On that note, be wary about logo design contest websites, or any freelancing websites that will offer a logo design for peanuts. Sadly, such designs are usually copied from search engines or even stolen from another designer’s portfolio.

If in doubt, ask to see a screenshot of their working Illustrator file or whatever software they have used to create it. A genuine logo designer will have a vast portfolio and will be able to talk about their industry in-depth. They’ll also give you a thorough consultation before going ahead, which is a sure sign you’re dealing with someone in the know. 

Forgetting about your customer

So often logo designers come up against clients who want pink lettering for their law firm because ‘they like the colour’ or similar ill-informed requests. As a business owner, you should strive for a logo that reflects your target audience and overall demographic. Remember, it’s not all about you! 

Think not just about the age range and gender of your customers, but also the purpose of the business. For example, would you hire a plumber with a childish looking logo? Would that signify trust and professionalism to you? Probably not. 

By all means, throw some ideas towards the designer. Just remember that when it comes to the colour, font choice and overall style, there is a method to the madness. Forgetting your customer exists and only taking into account your personal taste is a huge mistake no business can afford to make, since the two ideas rarely match. 

Not getting the proper source files

If there’s one thing that irks a designer, it’s when a client hires them for a job and tells them to ‘find their logo on their website’. To explain this problem on a simple level, images have a colour version for screen (RGB) and a colour version for print (CMYK). If you use the wrong one for either purpose, the image will look garish since mixing ink in a printer is different from how a computer screen interprets colour. 

Images also have different file formats and pixel sizes, and if you save a tiny image and try to ‘stretch’ it to go on anything bigger, it will pixelate. Essentially, your logo will look terrible! 

A professional logo designer will give you a folder of your logo, with versions for both print and screen use. The file formats will typically include jpeg, ai, psd, png and pdf. Keep this folder somewhere safe, so you can provide your future designer or marketing team with the exact files they need.

Going overboard

Your logo should say everything it needs to about your company, products or services without physically having to list or display each aspect. It’s very easy to overcomplicate logo design. To an untrained eye, it might look good, but to professionals and more importantly your customers it will simply give them a headache. 

There’s always room for personality within a logo, just be sure not to use too many distracting elements. Ask yourself if any of the aspects can be removed and if the logo will still have the same impact. If so, you likely have too much going on. Also consider if your logo works the same in black and white, since it may be printed that way in some instances. 

It’s also possible to create several different versions of your logo such as a text-based logo or a pictogram depending on what it’s being used for. Ask your designer to create some brand guidelines to establish this. 

To sum up

The above might seem a lot to wrap your head around, but you want to make sure that your logo hits it out of the park since it will directly represent your business. The work should be original, innovative and considerate of the target audience. A professional logo designer will take care of this for you. Compared with attempting your logo yourself, a logo designer will come up with interesting ideas that keep fundamental design principles in mind.

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