Have you ever seen a logo for a brand and felt like you’d seen it before, but for a different brand? Unless that brand has a highly unusual name, you’ve been exposed to a logo cliché—a generic, uninspired graphic that doesn’t do much for the brand it represents. This can happen when a company settles for the first design aesthetic it sees or when the logo is based on an earlier design and doesn’t build off the earlier concepts.
A logo design is the face of an entire brand, which means that an unoriginal and overused design signals to potential customers that the brand is also unoriginal. Why would people want to give business to a brand that feels generic in today’s crowded marketplace? A customer may take their business elsewhere based solely on its image.
A compelling logo design is the first opportunity to send the right messaging out into the world for a brand that wants to attract customers and stand out from the competition. Here are generic logo design no-nos you must spot and avoid for better branding:
Don’t Go Globe
Another unoriginal logo is the globe, considered a “tale as old as time” design choice. While companies want to represent themselves as a worldwide force, logos with globes are so dated because they’ve been used so often. Many other brands with a global presence don’t use the symbol yet still get their point across—Amazon, Google, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
Unless you’re a logistics company, avoid a globe in your logo design.
Don’t Go Graphs, Too
A graph that heads upwards and to the right means you’re successful. However, a graph-like logo design does not convey the same vibe, so not even successful companies use it in their branding. It looks like a design font from a PowerPoint presentation.
Inutile Industry Logo Designs
Industries have standard logo design defaults that convey what they are but don’t set them apart from the competition. These can include:
- Accounting, finance, business: These companies’ icons defer to lettermarks or wordmarks that are clear to read but are devoid of creativity.
- Real estate: These logos feature square or rectangular blocks to represent a building or even add the outline of an angular roof.
- Retail: No surprise that this industry loves to showcase currency symbols, carts, or bags, which don’t say anything special about the establishment.
Lose the Lettermarks and Wordmarks
A wordmark or a lettermark logo design can be an elegant way to brand your business—as long as it’s in a font representative of your brand and is not overdone. Make sure your wordmark or lettermark is unique and says something about your business while still appearing memorable. Brands like Google, Coca-Cola, and HBO use this logo design but customize the font style in a visually-pleasing, brand-aligned way.
Veto the V-Person
The V-Man, or the instantly recognizable, gender-neutral humanoid, has been used across various industries, from social media to service-oriented businesses. While it’s great in theory—all customers are humans, and excited customers about your brand are the best—the V-Man reeks of unoriginality and blandness.
Avoid bland logo design by reviewing this article and applying it in your next design job. Just because your service reaches across continents or specializes in a particular product, that doesn’t mean it should encompass your visual identity. Instead, find out who the company is, not what it’s about. From there, you can capture the essence of your company with the perfect logo design.
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