Commentary

5 Mistakes Marketers Make When Choosing A Logo

Few elements of brand identity are as critical -- yet deceivingly simple -- as a logo. After choosing a name, creating a memorable logo is probably one of the first things any marketer or small business owner launching or relaunching a company or product will do. And in the eagerness to jump in and get started selling, it can be pretty tempting to skip steps, cut corners and move so fast you fall prey to some common missteps. 

Here are the five mistakes most likely to trip you up -- and how to avoid them -- when choosing a new logo. 

Simply choosing colors based on personal preferences. Individual colors, and color combinations, have the power to evoke different emotional experiences and reactions in your customers, which means understanding that the psychology of color should play a key role in choosing your logo design. 

Consider the ability of blue to instill confidence and calm, or yellow and orange to spark youthful energy and enthusiasm, for example. 

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However, despite this, 65% of small business owners we surveyed admitted “personal taste and preference” was the single biggest factor in choosing colors for their logos. Avoid this trap by thinking about the emotional connection you want consumers to have with your brand, and choose your logo colors accordingly. 

Skipping the upfront work of defining your brand — before engaging with a designer.  Choosing logo colors according to projections of who your target customers are and what responses you hope to elicit from them needs to be part of the much broader thinking you should apply to the process before even engaging with a designer. 

In order to skip multiple time-consuming (and costly) iterations, it’s best to invest the time upfront defining your overall brand strategy: what you stand for (mission, core values), your point(s) of differentiation and market positioning, and your target audience. Answering these questions will help you create a blueprint from which all the individual brand identity elements will flow much more easily.

Failing to think about how your logo will look on different media and platforms. Logos are no longer a simple, standalone element you’ll print on a business card and maybe see in the corner of your website. Today, a logo needs to translate and communicate to your key audiences across mobile, social, packaging, outdoor and much more. Rebrands in recent years by companies such as Instagram and Pandora, for example, have been inspired by the need to create mobile app icons that will be instantly recognizable for users on a touchscreen.

Falling into the “too trendy” trap. Of course it’s important to be aware of current design trends when choosing a logo. After all, staying current and modern, and avoiding an outdated look, helps inspire consumer confidence in your brand. 

That said, some marketers fall into the trap of following current style fads blindly and risk losing the equally critical trait for most brands: timelessness. Logos need a longer shelf life than some other elements of your brand identity such as packaging or even a website. 

Ideally, your logo will have an enduring quality that pulls all the other elements together into a cohesive look and feel. If you go too trendy, you risk looking dated sooner than you’ll necessarily want to reinvest in a makeover. 

For example, consider some of the most recognizable retail, media and consumer brands whose logos have changed little if at all over the past several decades, such as Nike, Target and NBC.

Being a copycat. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from brand elements of companies and products you admire as a starting point when working with a logo designer. However, there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation. 

By all means, stay in touch with what your competitors and industry leaders are doing to succeed (and learn from this) —but don’t be so attached to their ideas that you miss the opportunity to capitalize on your own unique attributes.

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