1. Well, that’s inappropriate.

One of the biggest mistakes graphic designers make, is creating logos that is just downright inappropriate. When designing a logo, one must consider factors like industry, target market, emotional response, cultural differences and more.

A Financial institution should for example, generally give clients the impression that they can be trusted, that their money would be safe with them and that they are serious about their company and the services they offer. Clients should not be left with the lingering feeling that the company just wants to have fun or are incapable or unprofessional.

Colors Psychology, typefaces, symbols and cultural influences are some of the major factors to consider when aiming at designing an appropriate logo. Red may in some cultures, symbolize passion, love or danger, but in Chinese culture for example, it represents happiness, good fortune, luck and prosperity. Color combinations should also be considered wisely.

When looking at typeface choices, Comic Sans is a very poor choice of font for the Roberts Financials logo in the example below, as it has more of a fun and informal feel to it. A modern Sans Serif Font could be a better fit, as it appears much more formal and conveys strength, reliability and stability when used correctly.

Although some symbol meanings have been accepted globally, the meanings of others may change from culture to culture. In some cultures, the direction of writing also differs, which means that if we design a logo slanting forward to show progression, it may infer regression in some cultures, as they see it as slanting backwards.

This is one of the many reasons why research plays such a big role in the logo design process.



2. All up in the trends.

The design industry is regularly dominated by fascinating new trends. Many times, logo designers make the mistake of designing a logo mainly based on those trends.

Trends, whether swooshes, glows, gradients, shadows, or bevels, come and go with the times. A company’s logo needs to be timeless and if it is designed specifically as per the trends then it may start looking dated and cliché soon. This can do more harm than good to an organization and possibly make you as a designer look slightly amateur in the process.

Although as a designer, you should always stay aware of trends and can always take inspiration from them, don’t feel compelled to use them. Rather than diving head over heels into the latest trends, aim to create something timeless and memorable for the brand at hand. Put your focus on the values and goals of a company and how you can express them as clearly as possible to the target market, creating an emotional response in them that will most probably be transferred through generations, should the brand in general hold to its standards.


3. Font Feasting.

Designers should take care not to use too many fonts in one logo. It is recommended to use one or two typefaces in a logo, otherwise the fonts might start fighting for attention and your logo might start looking amateurish. When using two fonts, it is standard practice to use two fonts of different weights, or one more dominant and one less dominant font. Using fonts in this manner greatly improves the legibility of a logo design.



4. Well, it’s mine now.

During the early stages of creating your logo, be incredibly careful of copying other brands logos, either deliberately or subconsciously.

The purpose of a logo is to represent a company in the best possible light, to make the brand stand out in the crowd and for it to be as memorable as possible. When a designer copy or steal an idea from others work, especially a close competitor, it negatively affects the brand of the company and the logo will surely be less memorable. Moreover, plagiarism can also result in legal ramifications and you and your client may end up paying a heavy price for it, both financially and professionally.

Outright plagiarism aside, if your logo and the logo of your competitor, looks too similar, you’re opening yourself up to association with that brand and if that specific brand should experience a scandal or take heat of some sort, your brands good name, might be dragged down with theirs in the process.

Of course, it will be impossible for you to check every design in the world for similarities, but during the research and mood boarding stages, you should get quite a good idea what to steer clear of, especially concerning your biggest competitors. You can also always just run a quick second check, just to be safe.


 Tip: "Don’t associate, differentiate!"


5. Selfish Design.

What is selfish design you would ask me? Well, it’s when you design a logo for yourself or your client, instead of for the intended target market (end-user). You should never impose your own personality, or the personality of your client onto a logo design.

If you prefer a certain color combination or have found an exciting new style that you would like to try out on your next logo design - don’t, unless it is well suited for your clients target market. If your client wants to pick the logo color – don’t just use it to please him, as this could dramatically influence the success of the logo and it’s effect on the end-user. The logo might still seem quite appropriate for it’s associated industry, but will it resonate with the specific intended target market, create a positive emotional response in them, move them to react as required by your client, help increase ROI, Improve The Bottom Line of the client? Combined with a further successful branding strategy, clients should become proud to associate with the logo and the company that bears it.

Therefore, you need to gather all possible information and do extensive research about the company, it’s values, goals and target market. Only then can you begin to determine the direction of your visual solutions.



6. The Raster Master.

Yes, I know - Photoshop is amazing and I would also love to be able to do all my designs in Photoshop, but this would be a grave mistake.

Standard practice when designing a logo is to use vector graphics software, such as CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator. A vector graphic is made up of points, lines, and curves that are based upon mathematical equations. This means that they remain smooth or crisp, no matter how big or small you scale the graphic.

The alternative is a raster graphic, which consists of solid-colored pixels. These images can’t be scaled to just any size without losing quality, which means that your logo will start looking blocky, blurry or pixelated at a larger scale than that of its original design.

Quality aside, vector files are also typically much smaller than raster images, since they only process a handful of points and lines, as opposed to the possibly thousands or millions of pixels within a raster file. They can though become bigger than raster files if you have complex- gradients, smart objects, or effects for example.

So even if you feel you are a raster master and can design the most beautiful logos in Photoshop, rather take the time to learn a vector-based program before you jump into logo design, it will save you a lot of effort, time and embarrassment moving forward.



½. and a half...

Not realizing that there can be no half measures in professional logo design. Make sure that you give attention to every detail, it could mean the difference between you being a logo designer, or being THE logo designer.


By Rolina Vorster


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