Attack of the Killer Logos

Whether you realize it or not, you are being bombarded by hundreds of logos everyday. Wake up in the morning, sit down for breakfast and reach for a box of cereal…BAM…logos cover the box. Brush your teeth…BAM…there’s a logo on the tube of toothpaste. Searching through your closet for the perfect outfit…BAM…more logos all over every article of clothing that’s in there. Finally you’re in your car and driving to work and everywhere you look there’s a logo; from the emblems on cars to the signage on the storefronts you pass by on the highway. You can’t escape it. They are everywhere. And they are all yearning for your attention.

But why have a logo in the first place? What makes one logo better than another? What should YOUR logo look like? A logo is a symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify its products, services, style etc… In short, a logo is considered the mark that will define your business.

Logo Design for the Modern Business

If you consider some of the world’s most popular brands, few of them have logo depictions of what they are actually about. The Coca Cola logo does not show a bottle of Coca Cola. BP’s logo does not show an individual pumping gas. The Lexus logo does not display a car and driver. The truth is, that a modern logo will not display everything that a company sells. A modern logo is far more about the image the company wants to portray to it’s customers.

A business’s logo should embody the culture of the company. Often, the culture of a company has little or nothing to do with what it sells. So while Coca Cola’s swirly typographic logo without showing a glass of liquid, or a person consuming one, it does give the feeling of history and fun. This is a perfect example of the culture of their business without displaying the literal products that they produce.

Stop Thinking so Literally

Try to remember that what your logo does not say, can be just as important as what it does. When considering a new logo, or even an update on your worn out old icon, try to consider the qualities and culture of your company instead of what you literally sell. This will provide you with a cleaner and attractive logo that will have longevity. Make sure your logo shouts self-assurance, and breathes professionalism.

Common Mistakes in Logo Design

There are a few common mistakes made when considering your logo design.

Amateur Design

Maybe you didn’t have the time to consult a professional and thought that your minimal graphics skills would be enough to scratch up a quick logo. Wrong. Logo designers and other graphic artist usually know all of the tips and tricks that those who design some of the world’s greatest logos know. The money you are losing because of an amateur design will outshine the money saved in creating your own logo.

Relying on Trends

Trends are just that. Designs, clothes, and architecture have historically been expounded upon because many others have found them to be appealing. However, trends change, sometimes on a daily basis. Don’t create your logo based on current trends in logo design. Those trends, just like the others, will soon be outdated, and there you will be with an outdated logo that is no longer relevant.

Contains Stock Art

Your logo should always be original and unique with a licensing agreement exclusive to you. Chances are that if you are using a stock art image, someone else is using it as well. There goes unique.

Too Complex

Complex designs will lose detail when they are reduced to smaller sizes. The more detail, the more difficult the design can be for the brain to process. A logo should work whether it is the size of a postage stamp or a billboard. And a logo should work in black and white as well as it does in color.

The best option, of course, is to have a professional design company produce your new or improve your outdated logo. Professional graphic designers are educated to understand what makes a logo great, memorable, and the best representation of your businesses culture and goals.



How to Not Design a Logo

What Your Logo Says About Your Business?

Your Business Card Logo

Your Logo’s Job in Your Business



  1. John,
    As a fellow graphic designer and DBMEi author, I am inspired by your writing on one of my favorite topics, logo design. In fact, I was so inspired by your post of June 21, 2011 on logo design, that the comment I started to write became a blog post. It is being published today. I am eager to hear what you and others think of it.

  2. can’t wait to read it!

  3. I think we are overdue to connect at least by phone and have a colleague’s chat. We might be able to team up on somethings or at least brainstorm which can lead to great ideas and things. Is there any particular day or time of day that would be best for me to contact you? Looking forward to it.

  4. John,
    I just finished reading you ‘Killer Logo’ blog post. Three cheers for the graphic designers. I could not agree more. Unfortunately, digital technology, companies online that offer logos for $100 and clip art have cheapened the value and understanding of a professionally crafted logo.

    Your reminder of the importance of investing in a well designed logo and the impact it can have on one’s brand is so important. I hope people will listen. I shudder to think about how many times small business owners and even some corporations don’t.

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