Why I Don’t Like Your Logo Design

poor logo design

As graphic designers, it is sometimes necessary to go through a crash course in Branding 102 – Logos, Emblems and Trademarks. I made that up but I just want to highlight the fact that maybe we don’t care enough about the faces we create for our clients’ businesses (i.e., their brand identity). Maybe we really don’t care and are more concerned about getting the job done fast, getting paid and becoming successful. But I believe if we cared more, the rest will naturally follow.

True, the logo is only a part of a larger branding strategy, much like your face doesn’t tell us everything about who you are. But you would take pains to wash up, shave, put on some make-up and fix your hair before you go out the door, right? And if your client were your friend, you’d be embarrassed if he/she was going about unwashed and unkempt.  Here’s the difference, though. We are more forgiving of people than we are of businesses. I would never tell anyone “I don’t like your face” but I wouldn’t hesitate to say “I don’t like your logo”.

So if you happen to be one of those designers who creates un-likeable logos, read on and see why.


1. Your logo looks so ordinary

Your logo is one among those thousands of others with globes, swooshes, pointy men and huggers. Steve Douglas of the Logo Factory beautifully highlighted this phenomenon in this blog post. I’m still thinking “face” here so let’s say your logo was a criminal in a police lineup, you might get away with your crime for looking so, well—ordinary. Crowdsourced logos usually turn out like this. Without any outstanding characteristic, your logo is unremarkable and easily forgettable.


2. Your logo has too much going on

Most people are not impressed by complexity. We don’t want to feel stupid because we didn’t “get it”, nor do we want you to think we were stupid that your vet clinic logo has to have a hamster, cat, dog, parrot and horse in it. If your logo had but a single, well-executed idea, I’d be interested in learning more about your client’s business, and so will your client’s customers. Also, if the logo wasn’t too complicated, your client could even have it resized into a cute little favicon for his website’s tab just like that one on his competitor’s site.


3. Your logo is either out-of-place or too in-your-face

You have a pig on your vegetarian shop logo. What’s up with that? Or you have a tooth on your dental office logo. Please, we already know what dentists do. Our brains make connections at lightning speeds. We can spot a mismatch easily, and we can just as easily be insulted. Try to be less uninspired, cliché and uncreative or that *dislike* button gets clicked fast.


4. Your logo will be old-fashioned tomorrow

Probably not a valid enough reason not to like your logo but it wouldn’t be nice of me to say I liked it today then change my mind tomorrow. Fads and trends have their place but I’m sure logos don’t belong there. Unless the logo will be used only for short time like a week-long conference, then it’s acceptable. For businesses who mean to stay in business for as long as they can, make every effort to design their logos for long-term use. Maybe some brushing up will be needed along the way but the idea should be strong enough to last.

To check if the logo you designed is merely part of a fad, think of it in context decades (or centuries!) backward and forward. Imagine yourself as a craftsman in the 1700’s. Would you be able to engrave the logo you designed onto a gentleman’s seal or a nobleman’s signet ring? Fast forward, will the same logo look just as good as it is to you today, as on some futuristic translucent device?


But why should you care if I didn’t like your logo? Because it is more than likely that your client’s customers won’t like it either and we designers are actually designing for those customers. Those customers may not know exactly why they don’t *like* it  but first impressions are not necessarily defined or detailed. Let’s do our “friends” a favor, care more about their looks and do something really amazing about it.

Great brand identities are really just four things:

? unique
? simple
? suitable
? timeless

So, do you think I and your client’s customers, will like the logo you designed?

Your thoughts are always welcome. Please go ahead and add a comment.



  • April 6th, 2011 /

4 Comments to “Why I Don’t Like Your Logo Design”

  1. Mariano says:

    Great article, you made some valid points here. I would say targeting is also a major thing. For instance I’m a wedding photographer and I use an owl for logo because I think they are attractive to women, who are my “only/main?” target, and I want to caught there attention.
    Thanks for the post and sharing this with the rest of us.

  2. Grace Oris says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Mariano. You are right about targeting, thank you for pointing that out. I should have mentioned that under point #3.

  3. Web Design Ventura says:

    Your logo will be old-fashioned tomorrow. Some designers do not consider timelessness when planning for their logo design.

  4. Joni Solis says:

    I really like this article. You have some good points. I try to remind my logo clients that the main people that need to like their logo design is not them but the people they want to market to. I still think most just consider their likes and dislikes.