August 3, 2013 Alchemist Studios

10 Reasons Why Your Logo Doesn’t Work

After a flash of inspiration and hours at the drawing board you’ve created a labour of love, a thing of beauty, a work of genius: in short, your client’s new logo. But if you find that it’s being greeted with somewhat less enthusiasm by your colleagues and, even worse, by your client, then it’s time to face up to the fact that your logo might not be all you thought it was. What do they know? Possibly more than you!


So what’s the problem?

There are a number of classic mistakes that you might have made in designing a new corporate logo – any experienced graphic designer will tell you that it’s one of the toughest design challenges on the drawing board.


Address the issues below and maybe you’ll end up with a logo that’s worthy of attention.

  1.  There’s no indication of what the company does. If the company name doesn’t give any clues, then the pictogram should. A corporate logo is the distilled essence of what the business is all about; if it seems to be a bit random, it’s unlikely to arouse the interest of potential customers.
  2. It looks outdated before you’ve even introduced it. This is a problem when you try to jump on the bandwagon of a logo trend.  By the time you’ve gone through the design process, had it approved and rolled it out across the business, the trend will have moved on and you’ll look like you missed the boat.
  3. It’s too pale to work on a white background. This mistake is self-explanatory and the same goes for a black background. A good logo will stand out on either background or, at a pinch, you can design a dark version for light backgrounds and a light version for using on dark backgrounds.
  4. Multiple fonts look messy and give the impression that two logos have collided. Keep it clean and simple with the minimum amount of text in a single clear font. I would suggest something clean and modern, probably sans serif, and even though it might suit your product I would steer clear of a cursive script.
  5. If you use a stock image of a wrench to design a logo for your plumber, don’t be surprised if he threatens to use it on you when he discovers his main rival is using the same image for his logo.  The whole point of a logo is to be unique.
  6. More often than not, logos are reproduced on a small scale so if your logo becomes unclear when it’s reduced in size then it’s back to the drawing board for you. Every logo needs to work in a variety of scales from a thumbnail to a billboard poster. To do this adequately you may need to design several versions but they should be essentially the same as far as the customer is concerned. You’re trying to build brand loyalty not confuse your client’s target audience.
  7. On a technical level, you need to use an image that is appropriate for resizing and presenting in different media. If you design a logo using a raster image, your client will run into problems if they try to blow it up – it will become pixelated. Instead make sure you use a vector graphic as this will allow you to rescale the logo as necessary.
  8. It looks good on paper but doesn’t work on the screen, or vice versa. When you start designing a logo you need to bear in mind that it will be used in multiple media, both electronic and paper based. Be sure to design with this in mind.
  9. You’ve used too many elements. Including a graphic, the company name, a tagline in a fancy font and background texture will result in a dog’s dinner rather than a successful logo. Rein in your excesses and remember life’s most valuable maxim works for logos in particular: less is more.

10. If the logo you designed can be muddled up with one of the company’s competitors’ logos, you might be handing the rivals potential clients on a plate. Although imitation may be a form of flattery, a logo needs to stand out from the crowd rather than flatter rival businesses. Don’t try and design a logo that’s similar to theirs; design a logo that’s better.


It’s a lot to remember for something that should be a very small and simple design. But who ever told you it would be easy?


(c) All rights for this post belong to Alchemist Logo Designleading London graphic design agency

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