Designing a logo? READ THIS FIRST.
Updated: May 11
Having worked with small businesses and start-ups for more than a decade now let me list out some deadly mistakes small businesses often commit.
Using plagiarized material- Copying is an act of theft, using plagiarized content for your business since the very beginning for the very identity of your business is the mother of all evil. Don’t start your business on an evil note. Apart from the moral aspect, the copied logo will lack distinction and hence will not solve its purpose. Moreover, it downgrades your brand’s image and may lead to unwelcomed legal proceedings.
Here's a huge faux Facebook committed, a simple reverse search could have saved them huge dollars. The worst thing is, both logos were done by the same agency.
TIP 1: Never fall for “I’ll design your logo for 5$” bullshit, it is actually “I’ll copy someone’s logo and give it to you for 5 $” A logo design process demands too much to be delivered within a day or a week and in 5$.
TIP 2: Explicitly mention to your logo designer you will not accept plagiarized material. The simplest way to check that is reverse image search.
Compromising on legibility- You are considering an entire logo design exercise for the sole purpose of building a brand, for people to remember your name, What’s the point of this whole exercise if your brand name isn’t even properly readable. This sounds quite obvious and easily avoidable but small businesses often commit this mistake. There are case studies of even big multinational committing this mistake.
Here's an example of legibility test done by big corporations. You can do the least bit.
TIP 3: Don’t trust your eyes, show your logo to different sample groups (Small Kids, Adult Men & Women, Old people ) Show them the logo without any context, just ask them to read and gauge their perception about the logo. Never start using a logo without doing this.
TIP 4: Consider the cultural background of your target audience. In a country like India with such a diverse audience. It is important to make sure that the name of your brand is easily readable and does not mean anything negative in different cultures or languages.
Trying to put too many things in the logo- I have often seen businessmen desperate to include every aspect of their business. It is not necessary that a pizzeria should have a pizza in their logo. This topic was debatable and the research papers are out. Having a business element added to the logo can be a good add-on but it is not necessary at all and does not put any real weight to the brand’s recollection.
TIP 5: Keep it simple. Do not overdo your logo. The best logos are simply written out in clear decent font. Look at Google, Lenovo, Fedex,
TIP 6: Monogram/ Brand symbol is not a necessity for every brand- Do not opt for a monogram/ brand symbol unless it is very important in your industry. and if you do, make sure it is justifying its presence and solving its purpose.
TIP 7: Check the black and white version of your logo. Make sure it does not lose its mnemonic factor when presented in monochrome. Your logo is something that can go anywhere, can be printed on any media, in any way. Make sure it looks the same all the time.
TIP 8: Make sure your logo is easily adaptable and fits well on different layout settings, Easily visible in extremely small or large spaces.
Budgeting for your logo- Do not overspend on your logo, understand how important it is for your business at this moment and invest accordingly.
Tip 9: If you are just starting out, bootstrapping, testing waters, simply type out your brand name in a decent relevant font and colour and use it as your logo. Keep it constant across all touchpoints.
TIP 10: A good logo is one of the most important pillars of brand building but it does not supersede solid product and service. The brand is all about consistency delivering the same reliable experience every time, Logo is one part of the experience that helps them remember and reconnect.
TIP 11: Trademark your logo as soon as you can- Do not apply for name and logo separately (as advised by a majority of trademark consultancy firms just to milk more money from clients), You’ll get the same protection when applied in a single application. There is no point spending 2–5 lacs on trademarks in each and every category if you don’t have a business in that category to prove you will any way loose the case. Select only relevant classes according to your scope of business.
Sorry for the 11th Tip, That’s me often going the extra mile :)
I work closely with small businesses and start-ups to help them build better brands.
Here's some logo design we did in its actual application on brochures, business cards, letterheads, envelopes, etc.
Check more of our work here http://www.idbc.in
You can reach us via mail firstname.lastname@example.org