When you take your car in for repairs, you want to know that a professional is fixing it. Does your logo look like a professional is running your business? Or are logo mistakes dooming your enterprise to last place in the marketplace?
Your logo is the face of your business. In far too many cases, the faces of the businesses we’ve seen look more like Mr. Potato Head than George Clooney.
Your company’s logo design is important. It is a statement of business intent. Your logo should last for years. Thousands of people will see it. When you paste your logo into a Word document, you can be assured that your logo is a non-verbal way to say the things you can’t say in words: Things like, “We’re competent”, or, “Trust us”.
When a prospective customer is looking to buy, she is sensitive to risk. A good logo reassures her that trusting you is a good idea.
But the messages your logo sends may not be so reassuring. Here is a list of popular logo mistakes that are killing your business.
The first of the logo mistakes: Your logo has the shape of your province or state in it
In your logo, you need some kind of image to go with the name of your company or organization, right? Actually, no, you don’t! Many great logos are simply a treatment of the name of the company and no more.
Look at the FedEx logo; it’s about speed and efficiency. (See the arrow between the “E” and the “x”?) Look at ABC. It’s the spot to have fun — no pointy edges here. Including an image of your geographical area says nothing about your business: The people who live in your area already know what your province looks like. And the people who don’t live in your province don’t care.
As a result, the problem with using the shape of your state or province in your logo is that it communicates nothing about your company — except your limited aspirations.
Your logo uses clip art
The obvious problem here is that your logo should be unique. So if you’re using clip art for your logo, chances are that some other company is, too.
And besides, stock image companies such as iStock and Dreamstime prohibit using their images in a logo. Stay away from stock services for your logo.
Hackneyed fonts is #3 on the logo mistakes hit parade
People overuse some fonts. Stay away from these! For example, don’t use Lithos for any ethnic event. Don’t use Papyrus or its sister, Tempus, for any spa. Don’t use Comic Sans for … don’t use Comic Sans. Let’s take a closer look at these big offenders.
Lithos had the misfortune of being introduced just as interest in computer fonts was growing. It was hugely popular. And that is now its downfall.
Chris Costello designed Papyrus in 1982. The rub-on lettering company Letraset made it available the next year. The designer has remarked that Papyrus has been overused. When even the designer thinks the font is overused, that’s overused.
Comic Sans saw first light in 1994. Before all this misuse, it actually had a solid design beginning. According to the designer, Vincent Connare, Comic Sans was not designed as a typeface but as a solution to make the interface of the Windows operating system more user-friendly. But every kid’s event, restaurant, and pediatrician’s office uses Comic Sans. It can be used appropriately. Wait a minute … no it can’t. Sorry.
Other contenders for overuse, in addition to Times Roman, Arial, and Helvetica include:
We left Trajan for last. It’s known as “The Hollywood Font” because you’ve seen Trajan a thousand times on movie posters.
Your logo has a complicated drawing
Clip art usually has far too much detail for a logo. Logos need to be simple so they work well at small sizes, or when seen quickly, or in less-than-ideal light. Don’t make it harder for people to remember you. Using a complicated drawing is one of the logo mistakes consigning your business to the scrap heap of history.
Little people infest your logo
Health-care organizations are notorious for this. Their logos show little stick people working together, growing together, and are probably on their way to a nutrition break.
The drive behind this is to somehow humanize the health-care organization. But all it’s doing now is creating a mind-numbing sameness.
Your logo celebrates the digital age
The Internet was growing in popularity back in 1998. Computers and the digital age excited us. We’d represent the new age as little squares that would come together and form things. Like circles. And windows. That new age is old enough to have graduated from university by now; it’s time for your logo to move on, too. If your logo is refusing to graduate, it’s making one of the big logo mistakes. The digital age was a fad, but such a popular one it gets its own niche in our logo mistakes listing. While we’re on the topic of fads …
You’ve hitched your logo to a fad
As humans, particularly humans in business, we like the arc. Designers like arcs because they symbolize protection. Or they suggest having a lot of choices. Or they look like a horizon.
Encana Energy, Tenneco, Dow Jones, Lease Advisor, and Hyatt Hotels all use arcs. Unless you’re the Australian Research Council, or the American Refugee Committee, don’t use an arc — and even then, think harder.
Design fads have been around for a long time. A short list of fads in this designer’s memory includes big drop shadows, bevels, ellipses, shiny buttons, chrome text, flying geometric shapes, and grids. If your designer is recommending some work based on a current fad, it’s time to find another designer whose more aware of this most popular of logo mistakes.
Don’t let an amateur design the face of your business
Logos are advanced business communication. If you create your own logo, it’s consequently going to go head-to-head with logos created by professionals — and your business will suffer for it.
At Pitchgreen we design logos for organizations of 101 — or one. Contact us today for a complimentary 30-minute discussion about how we can put the right face on your enterprise.