A logo speaks volumes about a business. It can capture its spirit and its message. It can spark emotion, making a customer happy or empowered, moved or inspired. A logo design expresses a brand’s identity.
The chances are your logo will be seen a lot, whether via your online presence, advertisements or business communication. The repetitive nature of a logo means it’s the perfect marketing tool. A logo is in a prime position to be remembered.
It goes without saying, therefore, that choosing a logo is no small decision. That’s why we’ve put together this list of Don’ts when designing your own logo.
#1. DON’T plagiarise
If you’ve reached the point of starting your own business, chances are you should be past the point of plagiarism. Yet, the reality is that plagiarism is just as rife in business practice as it is amongst school students. Yikes.
As a new player in the competitive world of business, it is vital you appear unique. Otherwise, you simply won’t stand out. When designing your logo, think about how this is your chance to express your innovation, creativity and defining characteristics.
Whether your logo is detailed or straightforward, the most important thing is that it’s yours.
#2. DON’T use cliché
Just as you don’t want your logo to look the same as another, you also don’t want it to look totally obvious. There’s a fine line between being familiar – and therefore implying trust – and being so familiar that potential customers lose interest.
When it comes to designing a logo, you don’t want people to get lost in a haze of confusing metaphors and abstract concepts. But at the same time, when a bookseller’s logo is just a book or a shoe manufacturer’s logo is just a shoe, it can be a little… passé. These images have been exhausted, so it may be time to get creative.
Instead of using a logo which is merely a literal representation of what your business does, try and think of a logo that expresses what your business means. Think of all those emotions you want to incite, and then think of ways those emotions can be captured in imagery.
#3. DON’T skimp on the research
Perhaps you’re imagining that because a logo is just an image, it doesn’t require the same level of research as other aspects of your business. Wrong! A logo has infinite marketing potential and, as such, it requires the same level of research as any other business decision.
Whether you intend to outsource the design duties or hire an in-house designer, the decision-maker must be able to communicate exactly what they require to the person responsible for the finished product.
This doesn’t mean that everyone has to be an artist. It simply means that a logo is an expression of a business’ mission statement. You need to know what you want people to associate you with.
A lot of people look to the logo before they read the copy. That’s why it’s paramount that you do your research and decide what impression you want to leave with your potential customers.
For example, you may have thought you wanted your logo to be a deep red, in order to stand out. But did you know that darker reds can connote aggression? That may be fine for a sports brand, but less ideal for a floristry business.
Without research, you may end up undermining your messaging through a lack of knowledge. Make sure you hire a professional logo designer to either create your logo design, or consult with you during the process.
#4. DON’T hire the first person you find to design your logo
So, you’ve decided upon your mission statement, and you’re ready for your message to be transformed into imagery. But don’t make the mistake of hiring the first person you find.
Given the simplicity often associated with logos – the easier they are to interpret, the easier your customers understand you – there may be a temptation to get your receptionist who just learned Photoshop to do the job for you. But although you might be less out of pocket, you’ll also be sacrificing the chance to utilize experience. Guess what? The professionals know what they’re doing.
If you wouldn’t let a newbie look after your finances, then you probably shouldn’t let one look after your design. After all, a logo is the face of your business. It’s a chance to make a great first impression.
#5. DON’T forget to optimize your logo’s SEO potential
Any copy you put out should utilize key phrases that potential customers regularly look-up on search engines. This is standard knowledge amongst businesses. However, perhaps a lesser-known fact is that images can also utilize SEO tactics.
Within an image’s coding is an opportunity to add ALT text. ALT text is essentially a way to add associating words to your image. This might be your business name, snippets from your catchphrase, or other keywords associated with your business mantra.
If you’re not using SEO in your ALT text, you’re missing out on a key marketing strategy. Remember: knowing the usefulness of a logo is imperative to marketing your business.