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Back for more? In the following post, we will continue destroying 10 of the world's greatest logo designs to demonstrate some of the worst crimes of logo design. Hopefully, your business won't repeat these mistakes. 

In case you missed it, you can catch up on the first 10 logo mistakes here.

1. What McDonald's didn't do: Incorporate logo mark into their logotype

"cDonald's." That is effectively how this version of the McDonald’s logo reads. If your company utilizes a stylized letter mark, incorporating it within your logotype will make your logo difficult to read, unbalanced, and all around bad. Please don't do this to your logo.

What they did

The separation of the letter mark and logotype allows the viewer to gain written, mnemonic association between the elements without compromising the legibility of either element.

2. What Hulu didn't do: Copy a competitor

Of course, the example above is dramatic, but hopefully you get the point. The purpose of a logo is to distinctly identify your business. Copying a competitor can not only weaken the effectiveness of your brand, but it could also result in a lawsuit in the case of plagiarism as overt as the example above.

What they did

Great logos are nothing like their competitors. The Hulu logo avoids potential similarities between its competitors by being entirely different in color, typography, and execution.

3. What Disney didn't do: Choose the wrong font

Yikes. Can you imagine if Disney used this for their identity? Fonts carry personality and emotive qualities. Typography lays the foundation for an appropriately styled logo that will accurately reflect the business it represents and attract the intended audience. A fun, family company wouldn't use a bold, sharp, industrial style font. Well, they shouldn't.

What they did

Disney's logotype communicates joy, approachability, honesty, and friendliness. The elegant script also honors founder Walt Disney himself, whose signatures inspired the iconic logotype. 

4. What Nike didn't do: Create logo files in raster format

One of the easiest mistakes in logo design is to fail to properly set up the delivered files. This portion is a little technical in understanding the difference between raster and vector images. The example above is a raster image, a graphic created on a grid of pixels that is ultimately limited to the size of its original creation. 

A logo that is designed and exported exclusively in raster format will often appear pixelated or blurry and will be unable to be scaled properly for large applications, to have colors altered for production, or to be appropriately applied in marketing materials.

What they did

On the other hand, a properly designed vector image is essentially a mathematical equation that can be scaled up or down, remaining crisp and clear at any size and in any application.

5. What Walmart didn't do: Provide disproportionate scale

When viewing a logo, you shouldn't have to ask yourself, "What's that?" Walmart didn’t make their logo mark tiny. If they had, the logo mark would appear as an unrecognizable afterthought. 

What they did

The relationship between logo mark and logotype provide a balanced visual weight. The elements do not get lost, distract, or overpower each other.

6. What National Geographic didn't do: Ignore practical application

Nothing about this iteration of the National Geographic logo is practical. Your logo is a tool that carries out a specific purpose: to identify simply and clearly. In doing so, your logo will be used across a wide variety of applications, both digital and physical, in different spaces. A logo mark or logotype that is overly horizontal or vertical will hinder its versatility in application, forcing the design elements to be smaller within the available space. 

What they did

The National Geographic logo features a balanced logo mark that fits well within a square or circle proportion (think social media, web profiles, website favicon, etc) and stacked logotype to account for the long brand name, keeping the logo lockup contained for practical application.

7. What Shell didn't do: Poor color choice

This example was painful to create. Like fonts, shapes, and symbolism, colors carry emotive qualities. Shell didn't make haphazard color choices, ignoring color psychology and contrast.

What they did

Shell's intentional, limited use of color , red and yellow, provides positive psychological associations with strength, passion, energy, optimism, and success while maintaining a visually pleasing aesthetic of effective contrast and simplicity.

8. What Amazon didn't do: Include legal terminology

Inc, Co, LLC, PLLC, Corp – these legal terms have no place in professional logo design. The inclusion of such elements is distracting and unnecessary. Ultimately, they will impact the versatility and memorability of your logo.

What they did

Amazon is an incorporation. However, there is no need to communicate this information in their visual identity. The Amazon logotype is free from extraneous legal jargon. 

9. What Verizon didn't do: Use visual clichés

Sure, Verizon sells phones and provides network services. Thankfully, their logo didn't incorporate anything along the lines of this horrible design. Countless local phone companies and sellers have used and are using the same tired imagery of a phone silhouette.

What they did

Verizon chose to go abstract on their logo. The conceptual logotype incorporates a checkmark, representative of getting things done, simplicity, reliability, and focus. 

10. What Mobil didn't do: Multiple points of focus

Can you imagine if Mobil had adopted such a cluttered logotype? The design elements in the logo are distracting and visually overwhelming. Your eye doesn’t know what element is most important, making none of it important. When there is not a single, clear point of focus, your logo will be forgettable.

What they did

The best, most iconic logos all feature a single point of focus, a single element making the design unique enough to persist in one’s mind. This classic identity relies on basic design principles of color psychology and strong typography with an unexpected – and unforgettable – red letter “o”.

Recap: 10 Ways to Ruin Your Logo (Part II)

  1. Use logo mark within logotype
  2. Copy a competitor 
  3. Inappropriate font selection
  4. Design or export files in raster format
  5. Disproportionate scale
  6. Not versatile proportion
  7. Make poor, haphazard color choices
  8. Include legal terminology
  9. Use visual clichés
  10. Too many points of interest

We hope you have found value in this series. In case you missed it, be sure to check out Common Mistakes in Identity Design: 10 Ways to Ruin Your Logo (Part I).

Are there any other logo design mistakes we missed? Drop us a line; we love to talk all things graphic design.

© 2006-2020 Stewart Design

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