9 Common Features That Bad Logos Have in Common

bad logos

With more than 627,000 new businesses opening each year, standing out from the crowd is the only way to grow your brand.

Stellar customer service and fantastic products will help you solidify your reputation, but it may not be enough to keep your brand in the forefront of your clients' minds.

What represents your brand to your customers? It's not your storefront. It's not even your management team.

It's your logo.

A good logo makes people remember your company whether they need your services at that time or not.

Unfortunately, many small businesses end up settling on a logo design that's lackluster or just plain ineffective.

Wondering how to avoid ending up with bad logos from the get-go? Read on to learn some of the most common mistakes businesses make when designing a logo.

1. The Design Looks Cheap

When it comes to logo designs, you get what you pay for. Hiring an amateur may seem like a great way to save money, but it's also how businesses end up with bad logos.

Amateurs don't always know what works for businesses and often accidentally replicate an existing design, putting your company at risk for lawsuits and fines for trademark violations.

You may save money upfront, but when the logo looks unprofessional or can't be replicated due to an existing trademark, it won't do you any good.

Working with an experienced graphic designer will help you avoid those pitfalls.

2. The Logo is Overly Complicated (or Simplistic)

Many bad logos have one thing in common: they're overly complicated. The more features used in the design, the more it stands out, right?


When a logo has too many elements, it makes it look messy and confusing. This can carry over to your reputation, leaving customers wondering just what it is that your company does.

Worse, it makes it tough to remember. The same is true for overly simplistic designs.

Plain text or a simple image may be affordable, but it doesn't show your brand's personality. This can lead customers to forget what your logo looks like immediately after they see it.

It just won't stand out.

3. Designs Blindly Follow Existing Logo Trends

Your logo should be as unique as your business.

Following the trends and mimicking logos other people have designed won't help improve brand awareness.

You can use other brands for inspiration and discuss the elements you love with your graphic designer. Just don't ask for a copy of an existing logo.

When your logo looks like your competition, it won't help you stand out!

4. Using Stock Images and ClipArt

Bad logos often use free images or clipart available both online and in basic word processing programs.

These images are free for a reason: they're generic and can be used by just about anyone for any purpose.

Good logos use custom designs and images to create a visual representation of your brand. By avoiding stock imagery, you'll ensure that your logo stands out and looks as unique as your business.

5. Letting Designs Represent the Designer, Not the Business

Graphic designers are artists and sometimes, their personality ends up in the logo design. But that doesn't mean you have to settle on a logo that sends the wrong message to your clients.

If a logo design doesn't feel like the right one, don't just settle on it. Work with the designer to come up with a few different options.

You don't have to choose a logo just because the graphic designer was incredibly passionate or excited about the way it turned out.

It's your brand, your logo, and your company.

6. Going with a Font Because It Looks Interesting

Interesting does not always mean easy to read. If your target market can't read your business name, they won't be able to remember who the logo belongs to in the first place.

Instead of choosing a font just because you like the way it looks, focus on readability.

Your business name should stand out just as clearly as the art of the logo itself. Pick fonts that work in both large and small sizes and won't leave your customers squinting in confusion.

7. Choosing the Wrong Format for Artwork

Ordinary images, like the ones from your smartphone's camera, are rendered in pixels. For most purposes, pixels are perfectly fine.

However, for logo design, those pixels can become a big problem. When the design is enlarged, the pixels become visible, leaving you with jagged edges at best and a blurred design at worst.

Great logos are always rendered with vector images. Vectors use more complex and detailed data for each aspect of the image. This results in a smooth and crystal-clear line no matter how large or small the image becomes.

For businesses planning on reproducing their logos across multiple mediums, vector designs are an absolute must.

8. Relying on Color and Color Alone

Sure, color can make your logo design pop, but it should never be the detail that makes your logo what it is.

Logos should still reflect your brand when printed in black and white. If color is the only distinguishing factor of your logo, it won't look right or have the same impact when printed in grayscale. Worse, it may be unrecognizable.

Before deciding on a design, make sure the logo still looks great when color is removed. If it doesn't, keep tweaking the design!

9. Designing the Logo On Your Own

When a small business owner tries to design a logo on their own, they often end up with disappointing results.

The best logos are designed by experienced graphic artists in high-tech design programs.

Unless you're a budding graphic designer yourself, leave the logo creation to the professionals.

Avoid the Pitfalls of Bad Logos

Bad logos can leave your business looking lackluster and make growing your company's brand an even bigger challenge.

By designing a functional and recognizable logo, you'll be able to increase your brand's visibility with ease no matter how much technology changes in the future.

Interested in learning more about how technology is changing how logos are used? Read more here.


Thank you for reading this article!

Back to Introbrand