my lemon logo - or, how NOT to design a logo.

Your logo acts as your silent salesperson. It's your representative and you want people to notice, recognize, remember and take action when they see your logo. These days, though, there is SO much information all around us. It's a noisy world - logos and design are everywhere and that makes it seem like it's easy to design and create a snazzy looking logo. There are lots of companies that offer quick and inexpensive pre-designed stock logos.

If you follow these guidelines (or get it done quick, cheap and dirty) you'll be sure to have a logo created for you that won't do the job you want it to do. In fact your logo could end up driving business away and costing you more in terms of money, time and effort.

Here are 10 ways to create a bad logo:

1. Use lots of fonts and break all the typesetting guidelines.

2. Use Papyrus, Comic Sans, Apple Chancery, Brush Script or another inappropriate font and especially an all caps version. The fonts either look cheap or they've been overused so your logo will look amateur and cheap.

3. Use the wrong format for the artwork. Good logos are vector images and can be scaled and easily edited.  Raster images can cause problems with reproduction at larger sizes and they're harder to edit. This way you'll ensure printers have problems reproducing your logo and it'll cost you more if you need your logo edited or revised.

4. Use stock art or photos. This can put you at risk of copyright infringement and will also ensure your logo isn't unique.

5. Rely on colour for its effect. Lots of colours can look the same when printed in black and white - this will ensure detail is lost and the logo looks different than it should.

6. Make your logo overly complex so it doesn't reproduce well and maintain its integrity when it's used at sizes smaller or larger than the logo was designed.

7. Design for design sake. Let your designer design the logo to suit his tastes. This way you'll have a logo that doesn't represent you at all.

8. Follow the latest trend. If you want your logo to last for just a short period of time and like having to spend money on new logos every year or two then do this. Otherwise have your logo designed to reflect your company not the latest trend.

9. Copy someone else's logo

10. Have an amateur, friend or relative design it for you - especially if they know nothing about design, communications and marketing but have a really expensive fast top-of-the-line computer. Or do it yourself. Heck, you just upgraded your computer....anyone with a great computer can design a logo! It doesn't matter that it breaks all the guidelines of good design or is hard for a printer to use it must be good if you did it on some really expensive equipment and have expensive software. It's like if you have the best cookware and knives you’ll be a world-class chef. If your logo looks amateurish so will your business.

If you don't want your logo to fall into any of these categories hire a graphic designer who knows how to design a logo that is unique, lasting, memorable and suits your image.

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