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  • Krista Cavender

Need to DIY Your Logo? Avoid These Top 6 Design Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Brand





If you're a new business with zero budget to hire a logo designer, opting to go the DIY route to design your identity may be your only option. Here are some top mistakes to avoid when developing your business identity.

Thinking Logo Design is your Brand

Put succinctly, your logo is not your brand. It's a visual symbol used as a tool to help your audience recognize your business quickly. Whether placed on a billboard, packaging, web store or used in social media your logo is the tool that creates instant recognition. Your brand, on the other hand, is the perception your customer has while experiencing different facets of your business like the organization of your website, the helpful call-back from customer service, the sleek product packaging, or immaculate in-store retail. All these touch-points combine together to create an individual perception of your business. With that in mind, be sure that your logo seamlessly integrates into all the places where you want your brand to be instantly recognized. Consider things like horizontal and vertical orientation formats, color formats for print and digital, reverse versions, and abbreviated profile logos. And by all means, make sure it's readable at scale, especially very small scale.

Rushing the Logo Design Process

Once you've decided on a name for your business, your immediate knee-jerk reaction will be to hastily create a logo. Stat! Because you have bigger tasks to take on. I get it. Checking items off your list as fast as possible is a necessity. But rushing into logo design before understanding your customer, your competition, your positioning, and your personality will not only cost you time but money if a rebrand deems inevitable in the near future. Your logo is one of the hardest assets to change without your customer noticing. If you don't have the budget for a rebrand, don't skip the valuable step of discovering who you are, what you do, who you help, and why it matters before designing the symbol behind all of that. Unlocking your brand's personality through strategic discovery will guide the look and feel of your logo, help you choose typography and develop graphical elements. Knowing what resonates with your customer will help establish the visual message that your logo will communicate. Understanding your competition will help differentiate your business and help you avoid a design that looks similar to a competitor. Design decisions are much easier once you've uncovered your unique position in the market.

Being Too Literal

Enforcing literal symbols in your logo dilutes its effectiveness and can result in a boring, unmemorable brand. How many logos for "global companies" have you seen with a globe in their logo? And don't get me started on all the other clichés like swooshes, gradients, and reflective surface logos. Literal logos are a branding cop-out. They signal zero differentiation and a lack of creative thought. Try to avoid literal imagery. Do your best to incorporate a unique and simple concept or idea into your brand mark that communicates what your brand represents. Below is a good example of a conceptual logo. The Beats by Dre logo uses the letter "b" to create a side profile of a set of headphones. It uses a simple shape to communicate a message and reinforce recognition. Simple and conceptual logos ensure that you stand out, be noticed, and be remembered.


Head with headphone
Literal Logo

Conceptual Logo (Beats by Dre)

Making Design Decisions Based on Personal Preference

Your personal preferences are subjective and influenced by your own culture and life experiences. When developing your logo and company identity leave your personal preferences out. Instead, consider the preferences of your audience and the perception you want them to have of your brand. For example, deciding that you want to use your favorite color red in your logo could be detrimental to a brand that promotes safety and security. Red is the color of warning and danger and could subconsciously dissuade the viewer from interacting with your brand based on color alone. Always consider your audience, your messaging, and your strategic objectives first when creating your visual identity.

Being Too Trendy

While design trends can keep your brand relevant in the eyes of the consumer, they come and go. When developing your brand identity it's important to consider longevity and choose a style of design that will stay meaningful over time. While a rebrand or refresh can help to enliven an outdated look and feel, it can be costly to update your logo on the regular. And I'm not just talking financially here. Rebranding too often can destroy the awareness you've worked hard to build and lead to distrust and ultimately the loss of loyal customers. Make every effort in the beginning to establish a timeless design that is true to your authentic brand personality so you won't feel the need to rebrand too early.

Alienating your Audience

Did you know that 60% of people say they’re more likely to avoid a brand with a weird or unattractive logo design? (Study Finds, 2020) Doing your due diligence and learning about your customer's motivations and desires along with the other brands they are loyal to will give you potent information on their own personal preferences. If they hate your logo chances are they won't love your brand and they'll be less likely to wear or share your brand with friends and family. Your brand is built over time on word of mouth, influencer chatter, and all the die-hard fans who are proud to be part of your tribe. 57% of consumers say they will up their spending with a brand they feel connected to (Sprout Social, 2018). By aligning your visual identity with your target audience you maximize your chances of success.


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Need help crafting your brand or designing your logo? Reach out. I can help.


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