Regardless of whether you’re a small indie designer looking for ways to improve and expand your current skill set or a small business wanting to wrap your brain around the process of creating a logo for yourself, the following tips and thoughts are designed so you can learn from other peoples’ errors and not get tangled up in them yourself.
Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it designing in an incorrect manner.
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The following are some common logo design mistakes to watch out for.
1 – Designing Blind
What do I mean? Working without any kind (or an extremely vague) briefing from a client. I can’t stress how much of a recipe for absolute chaos this is. It’s so simple that it almost sounds stupid. Going into a project completely blind is almost certainly going to fail. You can also check Informative Details for Organizing Your Graphic Design Process.
2 – Designing with Only You in Mind
Design is of course a deeply personal form of creative expression. But it’s important to learn quickly that each product is designed for a target audience, and letting your own preferences and thoughts clouding this process can compromise the work you’re doing. It’s fair to say that sometimes the client can let their tastes influence their judgment over what would be better for the project. Learning to see from the audience’s point of view is a hard lesson but it’s better to nail it quickly.
3 – Missing What Makes a Client Unique
Every client is going to have a unique selling point (UPS). These vary greatly and are a crucial element to keep in mind when designing. Failing to locate a client’s UPS is a common logo design mistake. Keeping it in mind and then subtly molding your design around it (obviously you don’t want to ram it down people’s throats) is a sure fire way to tap into the correct design.
4 – Ignoring Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is something that reaches way beyond a logo or a brand identity; it’s deeply ingrained in the genetics of a product. In essence, it’s where a brand is perceived to sit when compared to other brands selling a similar (or the same) product. For example, Mars bars are down around the low price but not low value end of the chocolate spectrum whereas Lindt chocolates are perceived (and present themselves) as high value and fairly high price, and their marketing logos reflect this. Being aware of roughly where a client’s brand sits in comparison to others around them is integral to getting the correct tone for a logo when designing.
5. Lacking Research
Make sure you thoroughly understand every aspect of the client you’re designing for. It’s more than likely that the business that’s hired you may not fully understand the potential of a good logo design and may have omitted information that they think unnecessary. But of course, they don’t know how to differentiate, from a design standpoint, what is and isn’t needed. You don’t want to try and relay on luck when designing, you want to fully understand what makes your design good for a client. Learning everything about them is integral to this. Check Examples of Creative Logo Design
6 – Limited Application
It’s an easy trap to fall into: only designing with one surface in mind, a website or a t-shirt for example. But what if the client wants to take your logo and put it on a host of different things? You need to be conscious of this possibility and design something that can easily be applied to various different places; a perfect example is the Nike “tick” logo.
7 – Too Much Choice
This is something that will evolve from experience. It’s not always for the best to present a client with a vast array of potential designs. Ultimately, they are only going to choose one from you and instead of focusing your time and energy into one or two that are exceptionally good, you’ve spread yourself thin on a host of lesser ideas. Clients will likely ask to see several examples, but remember, it’s you who’s educating them on why your design is right for their brand, not vice versa. Check Making Sense of Clients’ Inputs.
8 – Does It Work in Its Simplest Form?
If you take away all the digital wizardry that can so easily get piled on top of a logo and you find that it’s still a good piece of work, chances are you’ve produced a strong piece of design. A weak design can be made to look stronger through the infinite possibilities of Photoshop, but in the long run this is a bad idea. You want something that stands tall in its most simple version.
9 – Giving a Good “Why”
It’s a hideous feeling when a client asks why something has been designed this way, and the only answer that springs to mind is “I thought it looked nice.” Bring your personal tastes and feelings into a logos explanation is a serious no-no; every element needs to be thought out and backed up with a strong “why.” Every single pixel in your design must have a concrete reason for being there.
Keeping all this in mind is a creative way to avoid some common logo design mistakes. However, there is no stronger or quicker learning curve than going out and actually learning from your own errors. Once you’ve personally fumbled through something in the wrong manner, there’s no way you’re going to do it again. Screwing up is a good thing, embrace it.