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Logo Design – Avoiding the Danger Zone of Bad Logos

Logo Design – Avoiding the Danger Zone of Bad Logos

Logo Design Vikings

You might come across countless logos every day with some being classy and memorable while others being outright ugly. Have you ever thought of the science that goes behind logo design creation? Well, certainly you might have given it a thought. Still, you must wonder what is the reason that people still, with such advanced tools and designers capable of creative liberties create logos that just simply do not strike a chord with the audience.

Setting the Scene

Every professional designer was once a beginner – and through their professional journeys, they have made certain mistakes that led to the creation of visually unappealing logos. However, people tend to learn from their mistakes and become better at their artistic skills to create masterpieces. From the designer’s experience, today we have created a list of factors that contribute to the bad logos, so you can avoid treading on dangerous grounds and create effective logos.

Outdated Logos

What would you think if you see a retro-type logo giving a vintage feel? You would feel mixed responses, right? But think of a logo using clip art made when the internet boom just started. Its outdated appearance fails to make an impact on anyone, as the logos seem very old-fashioned, thus harming your brand. Consider Pan Am Airlines, RadioShack, or Blockbuster – their logos were deemed highly appealing and creative in the 90s, but if someone used them today, people would not even bother to consider them.

Although the vintage look is in trend, the designers need to instill their creativity to make them still look relevant in the 21st century. Don’t make people feel that you foster a long-gone and outdated mindset by adopting the creative style along with a vintage feel to make your logo stand out. Look for trendy designs even in vintage form and select carefully what suits you.

Detailed Logos

Detailed logos are cool and all, meaning that they might look very interesting and curious at first look. This will entice the customers towards your brand and help you get new eyes towards your brand and business. However, as good as they appear in larger displays, detailed logos fail to scale for all your branding needs. Think of logos that contain intricate details and look very edgy and modern that impress you. Now see that from two perspectives – one on a billboard and another one on your smartphone.

The billboard will look extremely satisfying because of a large canvas and you can see the vibrant colors and the detailed feel of the logo. However, when you see it on your smartphone, the logo will appear very confusing as well as the impressiveness will deteriorate and will not motivate customers to come to the brand. If you’re choosing a detailed logo, don’t forget to make logo variations that make your brand scalable. Use the detailed versions on larger displays while a concise variation for smaller spaces to have an equal impact on all fronts.

Irrelevant Images

No matter how good a logo you design, or how much your logo is visually appealing, using irrelevant imagery that does not define your business or goes against your business philosophy, you are bound to fail in the quest for a successful brand. Although this cannot be true for every brand, the brands that do not use relevant imagery will confuse the customers. Suppose that you are an adventure sports brand and how to depict astral grids in your logo background or foreground. See how two unrelated things can affect your brand reputation.

You can always design something extraordinary that appeals to the customers – but badly matched images will leave it without an impact and affect your brand recognition and customer loyalty. Always make sure that whenever you design a logo, use images that either depict your brand or images that are closely related to what you do. Differ yourself from displaying or using something generic that might confuse your brand with others, and act upon the principle of relevancy to shine bright.


Irrelevancy is a common factor in ugly and bad logos. But what’s worse than irrelevancy? It’s vagueness. You have everything in place – a good design, brilliant typography and visually aesthetic logo but the core element is missing; it’s meaningless. It doesn’t say anything about your brand and no one can recognize you just simply from looking at your logo. Simply using random images and replacing the typography with your brand name will not fulfill the purpose and is a bad logo choice. It is imminent to just add a little bit of information or add elements that defined your business.

The solution is obvious – just add a small description of your business. Remember, less is more in terms of logo text so do not fill up the logo with large sentences and words giving an elevator pitch. Just make sure that two to four words describe what you do. Also, you can use elements to depict your business while working towards a great logo design that leaves a mark on customers. If your brand name covers what you do, make sure to add it in full form to the logo making it effective.

Conflicting Themes

Logos tell a lot about your brand. They set the tone for customers to expect what you’re doing and what your business is all about. If you want to depict something serious, try using muted colors and geometric shapes that define professionalism in your brand. Contrary to it, if you are a technology company working with modernistic and advanced technology, try choosing an astral grid, wire circuits and AI background images that depict technology. However, if you mix two different elements, for example, try swapping the aforementioned descriptions for serious or technology feels, you won’t be giving an effective message to the audience.

Would you like it if someone advertised infrastructure for a fishing group/company exercise, it would feel out of place. Using contrasting colors, confusing images or something that defies what your brand is all about, you will be in the danger zone of creating bad logos that aren’t effective at all. It can occur to all brands, whether small or big, such as British Petroleum (BP). The company uses a sunflower with green and yellow colors to show environmental sustainability but its core business is oil and gas extraction – which is the most harmful thing to a sustainable environment. Make sure to always connect the dots property and use complimentary themes instead of conflicting ones.

Indistinct Logos

Generic logos are the most common. Whenever you see a real estate logo, you would have seen the same house shape with different colors, but that doesn’t make you distinct. Medical or dental logos featuring a generic tooth picture, widely used across various dental businesses, lack uniqueness and fail to stand out in the industry. The more you search for logos, the more you see similar designs. This is one of the best examples of generic logos. Standardized and common logos are likely to create confusion among customers, making your brand less distinct and hence less memorable for the general public.

If you want people to remember your brand, make sure to create something distinct and creative, something that strikes immediately with the viewer. Observing similar logos can lead to confusion, making it challenging to remember any specific one and resulting in a loss of interest in the general idea. A ‘V-man’ logo is another great example of an overly used common design that makes it hard for people to get attracted towards a brand. People are curious about brands that intrigue them and having a distinct logo that fulfils all other criterion is the way to for creating a timeless logo.

Confused Logos

Confusing logos are an extension of what we describe above. But they are one step ahead of all of them. If you use irrelevant imagery, conflicting themes or your logo is visually unappealing, you might still have something to work with. With confusing logos, your strategy can plainly backfire and eliminate the existence of your brand from customers’ minds. Having a logo of the north depicting the picture of the south can confuse customers and disconnect the brand and customers. This is commonly seen in the design endeavor; the message that the logo creator or business owner trying to communicate is often implied and misunderstood by customers, thus failing the brand overall.

Clarity is the first principle in logo design. If the business owner or the designer is confused without a clear head in terms of the direction they want their logo to convey a message, it may falter the entirety of the brand and can cause the brand to fail completely. Always take a second opinion and use someone else’s eyes to seek the shortcomings in the design. Since designers can miss trees in the forest, generally a fresh perspective can see what the designer has missed. Taking opinions on clarity ensures that the element of confusion is laid out of the equation.

Conclusive Remarks

If you have just started on the journey to logo design, this list of factors to consider can be the fine line between good and bad logo designs. No one is perfect and the list is compiled from the mistakes that professional designers have made throughout their design journey. They made mistakes and corrected them to improve on every aspect and we have made this list so you don’t have to repeat those mistakes. Make sure to incorporate all elements for a good logo and double-check to validate that your logo does not fall in the bad logo category. Our professional designers at Design Vikings have got everything necessary to create amazing timeless logos for you. If you’re looking for one, contact us today to get your desired logos at amazing prices.