A good logo should be memorable first and foremost. A memorable logo promotes brand awareness because it makes people stop and pay attention. It also promotes brand recognition for both new and returning customers.
Now, don’t think that you need to Amazon or Walmart, or some other behemoth brand for people to remember your logo. For example, earlier today I passed a Bin There Dump That truck and the logo caught my attention and stuck in my head. I don’t have any use for a residential dumpster service right now, but should I find myself needing one in the future, I’ll probably remember this business because of their clever and catchy logo even though I had never even heard of them before today. That’s what a good logo does!
2. Unrelated to Your Business
You like ___________ (fill in the blank… stars, flowers, sports cars, lizards, whatever). Great! Does that have anything to do with your business? If it doesn’t, don’t use it. There’s nothing worse than a logo that’s just totally unrelated to the business – it’s disorienting and confusing. An unrelated logo doesn’t do anything to serve the business that it represents and can even do brand damage by turning people off.
3. Unclear from a Distance
Logos that can’t be made out from afar fail at generating brand awareness effectively. If your logo is incomprehensible at distance, you’ll only be able to appeal to consumers who are viewing it on personal devices or up close. This means that whenever you invest money into things like company polo shirts, car wraps, yard signs, and the like, you’ll only get a fraction of the return that you were expecting.
Unless you’re a graphic designer or artist, your logo is going to stink if you make it yourself. You might think it looks okay, and your friends or family might agree, but the general public won’t! You have to be willing to spend a few bucks to get a professional logo made because it’s worth it. The future of your business hinges on your logo – it’s too important to just cobble something together and call it a day. A graphic designer can create a logo for you for far less than you might think. (If you have enough money to pay the business registration fees for your state, you have enough money to have a logo created professionally.)
5. Too Complicated
On the other end of the spectrum is a logo that’s too complicated. Keep in mind that there may be times when your logo will need to be reproduced in lower quality (for example, embroidered on a shirt or printed in a brochure). Logos that are too intricate will just end up looking like a blob when they’re scaled down. (Full disclosure: This is actually a problem that we have with our LionShark head sometimes, so we have to kind of play with scaling our logo down when putting it on promotional materials and other small things. We didn’t think to test this before deciding on our adorable little critter head.)
6. Low Resolution
Hopefully, if you paid a professional to create your business logo, you received the image in multiple formats to make it easier to use across the web and in print. If you didn’t, you’ll probably find that your logo ends up looking like a low res blurry mess as you move it from one place to another.
7. Too Many Colors
If your logo has a lot of different colors, then it won’t render well in grayscale. You may not think that you’ll ever have a need to make your logo black and white, but I promise you that there will be times when this will be a necessity. Plus, no matter how you intend on having your logo used, other people may print materials from your company or reproduce your logo in grayscale. These situations where you can’t control how your logo will be seen or used are just as important from a branding perspective as the times when you can control how your logo will be viewed.
8. Can’t be a Square
There are plenty of times when you’ll need a square logo – to create a favicon, to use in online image ads, to use on event sponsorship materials, etc. If your logo can’t be made into a square, you’ll either have to forgo these opportunities or try to chop up your logo to meet the requirements. Avoid ending up with a Frankenstein-logo by ensuring that your logo can be made into a square before finalizing it.
9. Bonus: Confusingly Similar
Want to be sued? Yeah, I didn’t think so! “Confusingly similar” is the legalese that goes along with trademark law. Basically, if your logo looks too much like your competitor or someone that has a lot of brand equity in their logo, you could be sued for trademark infringement. So don’t copy (or “borrow”) from anyone else’s logo!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!