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The 7 Deadly Sins of Logo Creation

Entrepreneurs who get over-consumed with building a website and logo are often putting the cart before the horse. You should map out your brand promise, brand personality, ideal customer, and product value first before worrying about visual design. However, once your foundation is laid and it’s time to produce a logo, make us all proud, Sis. Avoid these 7 rookie moves that leave your logo screaming ‘amateur!’

Sin #1: You’re careless with DIY design

When you’re a solopreneur on a budget, it’s tempting to create your own logo and easy to underestimate the value of a credentialed, skilled designer. Creatives who are formally trained can often see and build more than your untrained, non-designer’s eye. Expert designers understand how to design and manipulate things like balance and symmetry, rhythm, negative space, and flow. They understand how to select or build abstract visuals or icons that communicate effectively and tap into a viewer’s subliminal needs and thoughts, and all of this experience is directed toward helping your business stand out from the competition.  If you still decide to create your own logo, or outsource to a low-cost designer, make sure that the images are properly licensed and keep the final version simple.

Sin #2: You’re doing way too much

Speaking of keeping it simple, don’t go overboard with your design because it’ll quickly become an eyesore. I often see logos that use a heavy or fancy cursive font when a clean-cut, simpler font is called for. Sometimes the cursive font is used too much when it might have been toned down by pairing it with smaller non-script letters for the subtitle. Doing too much on a logo is like wearing too much makeup. Mama always said less is more.

Sin #3: The logo is an obvious, literal graphic of the product or name

Great identity design often includes some type of graphic for the visual brand. While it’s helpful to have people look at your logo and know what you sell, you do not need a literal image of the company name or product. Often, going with a more abstract image or representative icon is more interesting and tasteful. For example, a doggie daycare might opt for letters that have dog ears versus an actual dog in the logo. Just because the name of the company is Aunt Bertha’s Barbecue Joint, doesn’t mean that you need a whole cartoon picture of Aunt Bertha.

Sin #4: Your image is unrefined and low resolution.

Sin #5: Your logo is putting me to sleep

If you’re logo is curing my insomnia, we got problems. Make it mentally stimulating, vibrant, and memorable. Choose colors that bring life to the design and draw people in. The unoriginal, dull and uninspired logo is sleeping on the job, and slowing down your business revenues.

Sin #6: Your fonts and colors are a hot mess

There are too many sistahs out here with no color palette and using whatever font their heart desires on any given day. Learning to pair fonts with colors and each other is hard work, but there are many font pairing blogs and color generator websites, like

Canva Color Palette Generator and Adobe Color Wheel. I always say choose font pairs and colors like you would wine and meat – that is, choose them intentionally. They shouldn’t be misaligned with brand personality or company culture. For example, if your company personality is fun and edgy, your colors shouldn’t communicate warm, cozy, and relaxing. Similarly, typography is crucial to logo design because lettering is always part of branding, and you’ll probably need to match your other professional company documents to whatever font you have on your logo. Given this, the lettering you choose should match the company’s goals and products.

Sin #7: Your image already means something else to viewers

Some images already have a brand from a previous experience or application of the name or graphic. For example, I had a client who used the black power fist in a logo and later decided to remove it. Her decisions were personal decisions with many layers to it. The important point is that the Black power fist already means something to most people. So if you’re not trying to tap into that existing messaging, then it probably isn’t the graphic for you. Also, you might want to consider issues of intellectual property. Who owns that image of the black fist, anyway?

In conclusion, your logo is a company staple. It isn’t something you can or should change often and it’s posted everywhere your company’s name goes, so make sure that you get it right. It’s a visual symbol that shares a little piece of your business with everyone it touches, and an advertising symbol that speaks for you and your brand even in your absence. Be thoughtful about what the visual is communicating. Make it a polished and powerful statement that resonates with your ideal customer.

Makisha Boothe

Makisha is Head Business Coach and founder of Sistahbiz Global Network. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business startup and design.

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