Is Your Logo Bad? Here Are 10 Warning Signs.

bad logo design

bad logo example

There is nothing more important to your company’s success than a well-designed logo. Your logo communicates your unique message and distinguishes you from your competition.

So you love your new logo and as you proudly show it off you get mixed messages from friends, family and co-workers. Sound familiar? Perhaps your logo isn’t as good as you thought. Here’s how to check……

1) It’s unclear what you do


Bad Logo 2


A pretty major warning sign. Your logo should encapsulate what your business does. If it’s unclear, then it’s back to the drawing board. We don’t suggest that you make it too obvious and succumb to generic or clichéd symbols but your logo should fit its purpose. A tick doesn’t exactly scream running shoes and an apple doesn’t (or didn’t) make you think of computers. However, Nike and Apple invested a lot of money and time into making their logos so iconic.

2) It’s not memorable

Bad Logo 3

Your business is competing in a busy marketplace and so it is essential that you stand out with a bold and memorable logo. The most iconic logos in the world create instant recognition through minimalist design. Here’s the litmus test: Show your logo to a seven-year old for 20 seconds and then ask him to recreate it using crayons. How did it turn out? If a young child can’t easily recreate the core elements of your logo, it’s unlikely to stand out in a crowd.

3) It doesn’t look good big or small

Bad Logo 4

Your logo needs to work well in a variety of contexts from billboards to posters, on letterheads and business cards. While your logo may look great on your 27″ retina display, how will it look in other environments? An overly complex design can look like a smudge at small sizes, and just plain weird at large sizes. Try shrinking your logo down to the size of a postage stamp. If the detail is lost or it looks like a greasy fingerprint it’s probably time to reconsider the design.

4) Your logo was created with Photoshop

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Photoshop is an incredibly powerful application and we use it for many things. Logo design is not one of them! Logos should always be created using vector graphics software such as Illustrator. Vector graphics can be scaled infinitely without losing image quality whereas raster graphics begin to look pixelated at large sizes rendering the design unusable. Photoshop is the choice of amateur designers as it’s relatively easy to pick up. Illustrator requires a lot more technical know-how.

5) Your logo was designed on Fiverr


Fiverr is an online market place where sellers offer their services for, you guessed it, five bucks. Along with dodgy SEO services, logo design is the most popular service offered. A logo design for only five dollars sounds too good to be true…..and it is. Fiverr is bad on so many levels (I will go into this in more detail in a future post). Why would a good designer undersell his services? Does the designer really care about your success? Some of the top sellers churn out 100 logos a day – what are the odds of getting a unique design? Zero.

6) Your logo features a generic “thing”

Bad Logo 6

Your new logo features the name of your company but it’s not quite right. Something is missing. Let’s add a “thing” to bring the design together. In the above example what exactly does that “thing” bring to the design? Absolutely nothing. Does it enhance your brand and make you look professional and trustworthy? Since most of these generic symbols are clipart you can run into real problems if you try to copyright your logo and there is a very high possibility that there are hundreds of other companies around the world with the same logo as you.

7) Your logo relies on current design trends

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Design trends come and go and will ultimately turn into clichés. A well designed logo is one that stands the test of time and will look as fresh in 50 years as it does today. Think Nike, FedEx, Coke. Your logo must be unique so ignoring the latest design trends is a must.

8) Your logo only looks good on certain backgrounds

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It doesn’t matter how amazing or iconic you may think your logo is if it only works on certain background colours. If your design is more suited to a black or coloured background, you should have a version that suits a white background too. The default background colour for magazines, letterheads and email signatures is white. Your logo should stand out on any colour.

9)  Your logo is too “busy”

Bad Logo 9

Your logo has a good font selection, an appropriate, non-clichéd symbol and yet it receives a lot of negative response. Your designer could well be guilty of overdoing the design by adding as many effects as he can think of to the logo. Does your logo really need that drop shadow? Would the logo benefit without the bevel effect? And does it really need that bubble texture overlay? By losing unnecessary effects your logo will undoubtedly look bolder and stronger.

10) Everybody hates your design

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It may seem obvious, but if the majority of people who see your logo develop a strong dislike to it, it may be time for a redesign. While you can develop an emotional attachment to your logo, if nobody likes it, your business is unlikely to be successful. Gap redesigned their logo in 2010, and after a barrage of abuse through Facebook and Twitter from disgruntled consumers, they scrapped it after only a week.

If you enjoyed this post please share it on your social media profiles or leave a comment – it encourages me to write more. Thanks!

Written by Paul Leck Davidson

About Paul Leck Davidson

Founder of Reload Design Agency, Cambridge.

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