There are many mistakes we can make when designing logos for our clients or even ourselves. I have compiled a list of 10 common mistakes I’ve seen in mine and others work. This list is merely my view of a Top Ten. Please feel free to add to list or submit your own list via the comments.

  1. Beginning the design process without an explicit objective
  2. Take the time upfront to meet with your client. Ask them questions about their business, who are the major competitors, what are the goals of this company, who is their audience, etc. Filling out a creative brief with your client is a good habit to get into for starting new projects.

  3. Designing in a vacuum
  4. Not knowing what your clients competition is doing can be detrimental. Take the time to talk with your client about the competition, then do some further research on your own. It will help you to arrive a stronger solution in the end.

  5. Not being able to answer the question “Why?”
  6. Not having a solid strategy or rationale behind your design that ties in with the clients business objectives can make it hard to defend and sell the logo to your client. Personal tastes are easily introduced when all the designer has to say is, “This logo is cool.” If you can’t answer why, it’s also highly likely, you as the designer haven’t adequately considered your clients needs and business strategy.

  7. Going to the computer too early in the design process
  8. Start your concepts with paper and pencil. Going to the computer to early can limit your creativity. It is much easier to work loose and quickly on paper.

  9. Not listening to feedback from someone because of who they are
  10. All feedback is valuable. Swallow your ego, and listen, you never know what insight you might find.

  11. Not choosing the right typography
  12. Choosing a typeface is an important part of the logo design process. Helvetica and Times are not the only options and in most cases are not the appropriate option either. Take the time to find the right one and then refine and tweak it as necessary.

  13. Not considering the applications the logo will need to be used in.
  14. It’s easy to create a detailed logo that doesn’t reproduce well in all applications. Understand your clients needs and limitations when design the logo.

  15. Using computer/application tricks
  16. The computer is a great tool, but it will not make your bad logo good. Adding effects, like bevels or shadows, etc., to dress up a bad logo will not make it better.

  17. Showing too many options to the client
  18. Narrow down your concepts for the first client review to about 3-5 concepts, which is adequate in most cases. Use your skills as a designer to pick the most appropriate designs. By doing this you eliminate the crap and will also streamline the whole process.

  19. Presenting a design you don’t want the client to choose
  20. If you have a design you don’t want the client to choose, JUST DON’T SHOW IT. All too many times the client chooses the one we don’t want them to. Why give them the option?

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40 Comments so far. Keep 'em Coming.

#1

By Phil

03.19.2009 at 04:37 PM

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Great tips. Quick edit on #9, should read: “Showing too many options…”

later

#2

By Matt Fouty

03.19.2009 at 04:48 PM

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Great list by a designer for designers. Even though we’ve heard this all before, we need to be reminded occasionally. At least I know I do!

#3

By Erik Peterson

03.19.2009 at 05:30 PM

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@phil thanks for the comment & correction. You are the second person to point it out… I’m sure others noticed also. It has been corrected.

#4

By Ryan Colgin

03.20.2009 at 05:48 AM

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#10 is huge! Glad that was noted.

Also, when presenting logos, we show black and white versions first so color has no effect on what concept is chosen. Then we go back and present color options for the favored logo.

#5

By Franziska

03.20.2009 at 08:17 AM

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@Ryan Colgin
I think this is a very good one. When I designed my first logos I presented the first versions in colour, too (although I had designed them in b/w), but it’s probably just an avocation for the client!

Good list!
My addition would be: take your time. Don’t rush it; especially when you’ve chosen the final ones to present - sleep over it before sending them. Sometimes the light of another day is more clear!

#6

By Longbrook

03.20.2009 at 12:51 PM

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great list! i’ve just completed a logo project for a client, and used a lot of these points to help avoid frustration, for both the client and myself.

#7

By Ahmed elmasry

03.20.2009 at 01:36 PM

Ahmed elmasry Profile Image

very useful article Eric, thank you

#8

By serj

04.13.2009 at 04:58 PM

serj Profile Image

grate tips, hope to see more info like this coming up in your site

#9

By Ivy Clark

04.21.2009 at 02:45 AM

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Nice list.  One I’ve learnt the hard way - Don’t show too many options even at the black/white stage as it will only confuse the clients.  Pick only 2 or 3 of your top choices.

#10

By TIm Wright

04.21.2009 at 04:30 PM

TIm Wright Profile Image

Good list. I always struggle with choosing the right font

#11

By Kumail.H.T

04.21.2009 at 04:40 PM

Kumail.H.T Profile Image

The best tip was 10! I have regretted doing that and will never do it again.

#12

By Rey Palacios

04.21.2009 at 06:49 PM

Rey Palacios Profile Image

Yes, thanks for the list as someone who is looking to get a logo created I believe the information will help me sort out how best to support the creativity of the designer.  Thanks

#13

By HM2K

04.21.2009 at 07:41 PM

HM2K Profile Image

Showing some examples would have made this more worth while.

#14

By Casualblogger

04.21.2009 at 11:57 PM

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I totally agree! I was kicking myself for committing #9 and #10 in the past. Never again!!

#15

By Kim

04.22.2009 at 12:48 AM

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Loved your list.  You are right.  Research and narrowing options before you begin the design process are critical.  I’m a big proponent of understanding colors and their messages also.

#16

By Eva

04.23.2009 at 12:29 PM

Eva Profile Image

Great list - the one that made me smile is, dont show concepts your not happy with, the client will ALWAYS pick this one!.... its like they know! Also presenting in BW first is a great idea, people notice colour before they notice shape and form, and their judgment will become clouded by there colour likes/dislikes.

#17

By Claudiu Ludosan, Master of The Luggage

04.30.2009 at 06:06 AM

Claudiu Ludosan, Master of The Luggage Profile Image

True! I especially like number 5 and 10! You never know from where your inspiration or your “logo’s salvation” will come from.  Don’t show concepts you’re not happy about because they will always, always pick that one: MORE THAN TRUE!! grin

#18

By majorca

05.01.2009 at 03:31 PM

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I never know “why” - ever…
anyway, great list of tips wink

#19

By Jonny

05.04.2009 at 07:02 PM

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So I could use a few tips from those of you who have had experience regarding these! I’ve tried to show the logo design in b’n'w, but they disregard it because they are concerned that their color choices aren’t in the logo!

Also how do you prevent a client from asking you to design a dull, ineffective logo? (ie. they turned down the good ones and specified for one that I and other disliked.)

#20

By Erik

05.05.2009 at 04:03 PM

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@jonny On the B&W issue, have you set the expectations up front? Consider reviewing your process with the client before starting the project so they know what to expect. Tell them why it is important to look at the the logo in B&W and so on.

You shouldn’t be showing dull & ineffective logos to your client. Then they won’t choose them.

#21

By Fabian

05.24.2009 at 12:59 AM

Fabian Profile Image

Great article mate,

As designers we know that a logo should work in B&W firstly.

Clients, they don’t give a rat’s ass…if it don’t look pretty and shiny..take it back lol

Moral of the story,always show a colored version as well.

#22

By Lawrence Dionisio

05.29.2009 at 02:16 PM

Lawrence Dionisio Profile Image

great article. really helps alot of young blood designers. thanks for sharing!

#23

By Lara

06.14.2009 at 07:02 AM

Lara Profile Image

gr8 article!! I actually was trying to kid myself with something I did wrong which you mentioned in #8, thxxx for setting our conception of it straight. I know i wont do that step anymore!

#24

By Daniel Hunninghake

06.25.2009 at 01:50 PM

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Fantastic points. I feel like another killer is not being confident in your work and defending it if a client doesn’t quite understand it. Of course, a fine line between defending and arguing, but it’s like #3, know why you designed it that way. Thanks so much for the article,

#25

By koko

11.17.2009 at 03:52 AM

koko Profile Image

Thanks for sharing~very good

#26

By Tonic Micheal

12.21.2009 at 10:11 PM

Tonic Micheal Profile Image

great trick and logical method we will share this resources with our designer thank you

Regards
http://logodesignswork.com

#27

By Graphic Design Blog

12.22.2009 at 10:18 AM

Graphic Design Blog Profile Image

Just a week back even I posted a similar topic
“12 Silly Logo Designing Mistakes”

My followers on digg and twitter loved the post, so I am sure you all will agree to the list too smile

#28

By Roy Barber

01.14.2010 at 04:23 PM

Roy Barber Profile Image

Hello,

I decided to copy your post. I hope you don’t mind?

http://www.brandsprout.co.uk/services/logo-design/10-mistakes-logo-designers-can-make-when-designing-logos/

Is this fraud?

Roy Barber
Brand Sprout
brandsproutuk@googlemail.com

#29

By Roy Barber

01.14.2010 at 04:30 PM

Roy Barber Profile Image

I always copy content from blogs and I don’t think it is a bad thing.  Look at my site for example - just a mash-up of other people’s work but looks cool altogether.

#30

By Marc Posch

05.13.2010 at 03:43 AM

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Great tips. Also, presenting the favorite logo in various sizes on one chart makes it more approachable for a client. Repetition does magic

#31

By Ted Thompson

05.17.2010 at 09:24 AM

Ted Thompson Profile Image

Great article, very helpful, thanks for sharing.

#32

By peninggi badan

06.22.2010 at 06:37 AM

peninggi badan Profile Image

Ive seen in mine and others work. This list is merely my view of a Top Ten. Please feel free to add to list or submit your own list via the comments.

#33

By Manik

10.11.2010 at 10:34 AM

Manik Profile Image

Great article and very useful tips. Thanks for sharing.

#34

By blogger

12.15.2010 at 08:22 AM

blogger Profile Image

A good logo design seeks to do several things for the company that it represents. It serves to give a good first impression of the company it represents to whosoever its customers happen to be. Before the company is known well it is the logo which will attract the attention of potential clients and customers. stock icons

#35

By rash guards

12.16.2010 at 05:49 AM

rash guards Profile Image

In British English, the term jumper describes a sweater. Also, in more formal British usage, a distinction is made between a pinafore dress and a pinafore, which, though a related garment, has an open back and is worn as an apron.
A sundress, like a jumper, is sleeveless and collarless. However it isn’t worn over a blouse or sweater, and is of a distinctly different cut and fashion.

#36

By Tonic Micheal

12.16.2010 at 09:21 PM

Tonic Micheal Profile Image

Nice Tips for logo design..great

#37

By Tonic Micheal

12.16.2010 at 09:24 PM

Tonic Micheal Profile Image

Very Usefull stuff for logo designers
crea8ivedesign.com

#38

By Marius Wathne

04.22.2011 at 12:54 PM

Marius Wathne Profile Image

Nice list, but i don’t totally agree to number 10. Because after all it is about the client to get what he/she wishes for. If you do not think it is a good design or appropriate then I think that you should still show it but explain your thoughts around it and try to make them understand. And if they still want it, let them have it. Because after all they have hired you to do a job to fulfull their needs, not to make something that you think is really cool.

#39

By Dempjohnson

01.07.2012 at 08:34 AM

Dempjohnson Profile Image

I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine.

#40

By Rodrigo

03.17.2013 at 03:09 PM

Rodrigo Profile Image

amateur tips…


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