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A Layman’s Guide To Getting A Logo: Mistakes And Choices!

By Eva Barnes , Mar 14 2017

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Getting a logo for your business is a big decision, it might not appear to be something substantial, but it has its own function. Therefore, great care should be taken while selecting one. The process however isn’t easy, you’ll have many choices, so the chances of making the wrong decision will also increase.

Not to worry, we’ll help you through the task, but before you start, you need to ask yourself one important question…

Why Do You Even Need A Logo?

Without having a proper answer to this question, moving forward would be unwise. No offense meant to whoever came up with the proverb ‘Ignorance is bliss’, but we believe a person should always know what they’re getting into. Thus it’s vital that you are aware of these two facts (below):

Importance Of A Logo For A Business

A logo basically has three functions; building a corporate identity, enhancing branding, and making advertising plans easier. The logo quickly becomes the face of a brand, as it is easier to remember in comparison to the company profile, product list, or the ever-changing managerial personnel in the hierarchical structure. We aren’t saying that a logo is forever (it isn’t a diamond duh!) because they also have to evolve with time, but they are, more often than not, the first thing a customer recalls about a brand.

Getting A Logo Right Away

When you start a business, you don’t need a logo, you need clients, but this is just my opinion. Getting a logo in the initial stages is a waste of valuable resources; money that you are short of and can invest elsewhere. Once your business starts making some profits and getting some recognition, then you can get one. For the time being, you can work with a logotype or word mark.

If you’re getting a logo just to look professional or if it isn’t a necessity at this point, then we’d advice you to skip it. However, if you have to get a logo or badly want one, then avoid certain mistakes that could mess up the entire thing.

Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Designing A Logo!

These are all the mistakes that a rookie like you should look out for in the logo design process:

Having No Plan Whatsoever

Starting the logo design process with no plan of execution can lead to chaos. Also, you should do ample research on logos, the industry you are operating in, and your clients. Research will help you devise an idea about how your logo should be.

Copying Your Competitors’ Logos

Some resemblance can work, but making your logo look exactly like that of your industry leaders will cause trouble. Firstly, you will have a hard time getting out of their shadow, if you give up your uniqueness. Only a certain few have been able to pull it off, like Gucci and Chanel, or Bentley and Mini Cooper. Secondly, they can sue you, like Starbucks dragged Starpreya to court for plagiarizing their logo.

Copying Your Competitors Logos

Making Your Logo Atypical

Businesses sometimes go too far in trying to make their logo unconventional. There is a fine line between unique and senseless. Your logo should represent your company and nature of products, or at least the industry you are in. A steel producer shouldn’t just have a spoon and knife in his logo or it could be mistaken for an eatery. A real life example of a logo that makes no sense, is the Cattleyard logo.

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Going Overboard With Your Design

Blindly following trends and ideas will set you up for failure. Adding too many or not enough elements, without paying heed to how your logo looks, is also disastrous. Some examples of this are the old Opera logo that was too minimalistic, or the National Association of Black Journalists logo which has too many elements.

Going Overboard With Your Design

Not Knowing Basic Principles Of Logo Design

Business owners, like yourself, are usually clueless about the basic principles of logo design. Its okay for you to get confused or feel blank once in a while, but messing up isn’t an option.

Make sure your research is complete! You should know what colors are right for your industry, and how color psychology affects consumers. For example red is a common color for logos in the food industry, especially restaurants like KFC, Hardee’s and Chili’s.

Basic Principles Of Logo Design
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Same goes for shapes; you should determine the shape of your logo depending on the industry. For example, General Electric is in the service industry, so its logo is round to depict trust and utility. Another important thing that you should check about your logo is its scalability. Your logo should look good in different sizes, and on various textures (like on office stationary, letterheads, merchandise, etc.).

responsive logos
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Not Getting Involved

Whether you are hiring a designer to make your logo, or pulling a DIY; you have to stay involved in the logo design process. Your company is your brainchild, no one can decide what the face of your company should be like, better than you. Communicating with the designer every step of the way, is the key to getting an awesome logo.

These were all the areas you needed to concentrate on most, to avoid any blunders. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can safely move forward to the next step.

Common Choices Small Businesses Have, To Get A Logo Designed!

Here we’ll explore how and from where, small businesses (like yours) can get their logos designed. Basically we’ll help you choose what the best option for you is. Let’s have a look!

Logo Design

Image: iStock/geopaul

Hire A Designer

Hiring a professional designer is the best option, if you can afford that luxury. Seasoned designers have the knowledge and experience to design a first rate logo. However, eminent designers will cost you nothing less than an arm and a leg. And even if you hire a good designer, there is no guarantee that they’ll understand exactly the kind of logo you want.

Also, the awful part about appointing a designer is the uncertainty and apprehension… You won’t know for sure how good or bad your designer is, until you receive the finished logo. And then it will be too late.

If the logo doesn’t turn out satisfactory, then you’ll have to invest more time and energy into the logo design process. Whether it entails hiring a new designer, or keeping the existing one on board. Overall, it’s a costly bet.

Crowdsource A Design

Crowdsourcing is a good option; new ideas, different designs and above all, it’s not expensive so you don’t have to raid your investment capital or sell a kidney. Also, it can function as a tool to increase brand awareness and customer interaction.

The main issue with crowdsourcing however, is that it can be too much of a hassle. You’ll have one too many options to choose from. You’ll have to go through lots of different designs submitted mostly by amateurs, which will take too much of your time and energy. And still, it isn’t necessary that you find something you like.

Another drawback is that you’ll have no involvement whatsoever in the logo design process. You’ll only be providing the basic guidelines; so all this could just turn out to be a waste.

DIY It Your Way

DIY logo design is the best option if you have a tight budget and can’t spend much on your logo. Or even if you don’t have the time, energy, or patience to deal with a designer. The most appealing aspect about DIY is that you can design it exactly the way you want. You won’t have to waste time on explaining someone else your idea, nor will you have to see them messing it up.

The Best Choice

If you can afford it, then definitely go for an expensive top-notch designer, otherwise DIY to save money. Even if you botch up the logo while DIYing, it won’t cost you much. DIY logo design is generally cheaper and doesn’t require much effort, so you won’t be risking much.


On a different note, don’t forget to test your logo and get feedback on it from the general public. Testing what response your logo will get is essential, otherwise you might just end up with something like the logos of The London Olympics 2012, The Detail Doctor (who doesn’t look like he cares for any detailing), the Cleveland Browns football team, or the Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission.


About The Author

Eva is a marketing major with a keen interest in web design. She is also an explorer and loves to dig into web trends from mobile apps to visual communication and everything in between. Feel free to send her your web design queries or blog related feedback in the comments below.

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