You know a good logo when you see one, but it’s also easy to spot a poorly designed logo or one that’s been distorted or improperly used. Avoid falling into the bad logo camp by avoiding these common logo design mistakes.

1. Designing a logo that isn’t easy to resize.

If you only view and approve your future logo blown up on a high-resolution screen, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Scale it up and down to make sure it’s easy to see regardless of its size, or have your designer create an alternate, simplified version for smaller applications. A logo should be scalable, versatile, and easy to discern from far away.

Be careful about including too much detail for it to be clear and distinct when it’s scaled down or viewed from a distance. Also, consider the size and orientation of the logo in various applications. For example, a narrow vertical logo that looks great on business cards, signage, and letterhead can be difficult to incorporate into the header of a website without shrinking it down to fit the height of the content block.

Bottom line: Crisp, clear, and easy to see in various aspect ratios is better than overly intricate and hard to read.


Set your logo up for success by keeping its colors simple, distinct, and crisp. For example, a logo that relies on seven shades of pink to visually make sense might lose its intent in grayscale or black and white. Moreover, those shades might not hold up in every application or on every device.

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Above, you can see what happens to the two-tone yellow-and-orange logo on the left when it’s translated into grayscale. Without the colors, any distinction between the two rings is lost.

3. Choosing a logo that’s too trendy to be timeless.

You want your logo design to be fresh and modern, but following a trend that’s likely to be outdated in a few years isn’t the way to go. You want your logo to be timeless, not a flash in the pan.

Trends in fonts do come and go, so you can be faulted for riding the tide of certain designs. Err on the side of classic and you’ll be less likely to have to overhaul a tired design far sooner than you’d like.

4. Ignoring the personality, readability, and mood of a typeface.

To the non-designer, it might seem that all fonts are alike. The reality is that nuances in the shapes of the words we read can affect our feelings toward and perception of what we’re reading. In some cases, fonts can make certain words sound different in our head as we read them. Put simply, fonts can make or break a logo.

Some typefaces are designed to make a bold impact and grab your attention, while others lend sophistication and elegance. Even differences as subtle as serif or sans serif fonts (those with or without curly ends on the letters) can impact readability. It’s crucial to choose a logo that conveys your brand’s personality and also complements the logo icon as opposed to clashing or competing with it.

For example, if a French restaurant uses a fleur-de-lis in its logo and a curly cursive font, it might feel dated and overdone. Pair that classic icon with a simpler font, and the logo has a much more modern appeal.

Tip: Stick to a maximum of two typefaces in a single logo.

5. Resembling other logos too closely or lacking distinction.

The fleur-de-lis example above is a good one, because while classic, the symbol can be overused. Try not to rely on symbols and icons that can feel stale amid a sea of other logos unless your designer illustrates it to be distinctive enough.

Also, try to avoid using any stock art in your logo, and stick to original icons created by a designer. Otherwise you might run into problems with copyrights and exclusive licensing.

6. Creating raster-based files when you need vector files.

Design aside, how a logo is built is one of the most important things to consider. It can be drawn with pixels (a raster file) or with points and lines that are mathematically designed to look the same as the file expands and retracts (vector files).

Zoomed out, raster logos and vector logos might not look that different. But zoom in on a raster file or blow it up beyond its original aspect ratio, and you’ll see a heavily pixelated, blurry mess. If you have your logo delivered in a raster-based file (e.g., JPG, GIF, or PNG), you’re automatically limiting what you’re able to do with it. Note that while you can create large raster-based logo files in Photoshop, vector files are the smart way to go—both for scalability and for ease of editing down the road.

7. Using the same logo file across multiple applications without making appropriate adjustments.

Different file formats are required for different applications—period. The logo you’d use on your business cards will not be the same file you’d upload to your business’s Facebook page. Specify what you’re using your logo for and where, and your designer can deliver a package of files that have the aspect ratios you need.

Tip: Don’t try to resize a logo on your own unless you have the right software, such as Adobe Illustrator, and know what you’re doing. A distorted, warped logo is the quickest way to make your and your business look unprofessional.


Whether you’re designing a logo yourself, holding a design contest online, or using a site that offers cheap logo packages, don’t risk your entire professional identity just to save a couple of bucks. Chances are you’ll end up with a logo that looks as cheap as it was.

Logos might be small in stature, but they’re big in importance. Budget for them accordingly.

9. Hiring someone to design your logo and nothing else.

This is a good one to close out with, because it should help to set the tone of your search for the perfect logo designer. Logo creation is only part of a cohesive branding system, and your logo should complement and be tightly integrated with your other assets.

While a logo is certainly important, it’s wise not to focus on it as a standalone piece.