7 Common Logo Mistakes

A logo with a black scribbled X over it

Many business owners design their logo when they’re first starting out. When budgets are low, design is often one of the first things to be cut.

While I wish every business owner could afford to hire a professional designer for their logo, sometimes that’s just not possible.

In the five years I’ve been running my business, I’ve seen a lot of amateur logo designs. I’m sharing the seven most common mistakes I’ve seen in the hopes that you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Planets floating in space

It feels separate from the rest of your brand

This one is easy to do if you design your logo before you really refine your goals and target audience. As you continue to focus your visual brand and choose colors, fonts, and photography, it's easy for your brand to drift away from the style and mood of your logo. Designing the logo, color palette, and font styles as a group will help insure that all work together cohesively.

Dots on a grid

It's too detailed

It doesn't matter if your logo is beautiful and intricate if you can't tell what it is on a business card. Your logo should be easily readable at 1 inch tall - if it's not, your logo is too detailed.

Another way of adding too much detail to your logo is adding your tagline, credentials, or extraneous information to your logo design. There are times you may want to add those in a design that includes that information, but your standard logo doesn't need that. Also, you don't need a background in your main logo. You can use it on a background when you choose, but make sure you have a logo that works without a background.


A line chart with two glowing spots

it's too trendy

If it's trendy now, it will be outdated soon. You'll also blend in with all of the other people who choose a trendy logo. Your business deserves more than to blend in now and become obsolete later. 

five clip art buttons

It uses clip art

Even if it's free for commercial use, incorporating clip art into your logo isn't a great idea. Assuming it's actually well-designed clip art (which is hard to find), you still won't be able to copyright your logo because the design wasn't created by you or your designer.

An alternative to this is finding a free for commercial use clip art, and using it for a starting point, and editing it so that it's unique from the original design you downloaded.

A logo that's half pink, half black

It doesn't work in grayscale

This may seem oddly specific, but it's actually a very important design element to check, and very easy to overlook. You may never plan to print any of your brand material in black and white, but if your clients/customers are receiving anything electronically that they may want to print out (such invoices, e-books, even just emails), there's a good chance they'll print it in grayscale. If your logo looks like a gray blob in grayscale, that's not going to leave a great impression.


"D," "U," "H," and "." in speech bubbles

It's too obvious

If you run a landscaping company, you do not have to have a tree as your logo. People know what landscaping is, so you're using an opportunity to communicate with your audience to tell them something they already know, and something that is not unique to your landscaping company. 

You don't have to be super metaphoric with your logo design, but try to showcase what makes your business unique, not simply what it does.


empty space

It doesn't exist

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious. Your business needs a logo! If you have a website, and just have basic typography, it looks like you're using a template, not something custom designed for you business. In short, it looks like your business is still a work in progress.

 What about you?

Are you guilty of any of these logo crimes? Or maybe you feel there's a logo crime that should be included in this list. Let me know!

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And if you’re reading this post, you probably also know that at least for now, having a brand designer create your logo is out of your budget.

So what’s your alternative? Should you design your own logo?



I'm Sierra Kellermeyer, brand designer.

I work with passion-driven small business owners who feel their visual marketing is disconnected from their core identity and ideals. I get to know them, their business, and their services, and design them a Noteworthy Visual Brand that effortlessly attracts their ideal clients.