Any designer who tells you that logo creation is easy is clearly running their operation from the back of a Chevy Aveo.
Logo design is more, much more, than coming up with a font and a mascot; it has to clearly communicate not only the message of the product, but also the brand in an evocative and visually appealing manner. If you’ve hired a logo designer that has done any of the following five things, then have his Aveo towed from your premises immediately.
1. Use Other People’s Images
Not only could this hideous mistake result in a wholly unoriginal logo, it could also be legally problematic.
You see, although your logo designer might have used a copyrighted image in a slightly unusual way (traced it, digitized it or used a slightly different color scheme), it is still copyright infringement, and it is quite easy to trace using such sophisticated and James Bond-ian electronic tools as Google.
Even if this fraud is never discovered (yeah right), the logo will by its very nature not be unique, and that spits in the face of the whole point of a visual badge: to differentiate yourself from your competition and visually explain exactly what sets your brand apart from the others.
2. Be Overly Trend-Centric
From a business perspective, it’s very tempting to use a visual design strategy that has a proven record of success. “The public likes this; let’s give them much, much more of it,” seems to echo throughout the halls of many marketing firms. However, the problem with trends is the fact that they, by their very nature, are destined to die. Using a logo design that borrows heavily from contemporary fashions will virtually guarantee that your logo will look dated in only a few years’ time, and possibly less, since globalization has sped up the spreading of trends so significantly that they commonly become laughable before the ink on the trendy logo design is even dry.
3. Makes All Designs Follow a Signature Look
The problem with many artists and designers is that they seem to think that having a style that makes their designs instantly identifiable is somehow a good thing. It doesn’t matter how incredibly prestigious a designer is; if people look at your logo and instantly think of the designer that created it, than the logo has singularly failed in its purpose. You don’t want your designer using your product and your brand to sell himself; you want him to use his skills and expertise to sell you.
4. Uses Overly Complicated Visual Metaphors and Imagery
There are many logos for really, really big brands out there that are so complex that they require a dissertation to interpret them (these logos typically involve automobiles). A logo is symbolic, to be sure, but if the symbolism cannot be grasped within a few seconds of seeing the logo, then what good does it do you?
5. Uses Visual Clichés
Designer 1: I have an idea for the logo design for the Temecula dental office. Stop me if it seems too crazy.
Designer 2: Oooh, I can’t wait!
Designer 1: We use a large banner, see? With the name of the dental practice in, I dunno, the Microsoft Word Kristin ITC childish font, see?
Designer 2: I’m getting excited. What else?
Designer 1: And then on the right side – get ready – a picture of a tooth! Not just any tooth, a molar.
Designer 2: YES, YES, YES…
Designer 1: Hang on. Bookending the typography will be a picture of a toothbrush.
Designer 2: You mad genius, you.
Alright, so this conversation has never happened. But a dental office logo featuring a picture of a tooth, or a multinational corporation with a picture of a globe, or a pizzeria with a little man twirling pizza dough are logo concepts that need never be exploited again. Ever.
So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that logo design is an intricate affair, involving individuality, simplicity and an appreciation of trends coupled with the strength to ignore them. Also, judging from that last exchange, perhaps Graphic Designer 2 needs an everlasting cold shower.