Generic Logos: Bucking the Trend


Have you noticed there’s a trend toward the generic in logo design? We sure have. The still-popular ‘swooshes’ from the ’90s, overused fonts, people as nature objects – all are cliches. Granted, thousands of business are started every year, so we’re bound to see copycat logos. But the dumbing down of logos is largely due to the availability of “free” resources on the web.

Any successful business should have a logo that is unique and well thought out. Quality branding demands a logo that is designed by a professional. This means no crowd-sourcing, nor buying a generic logo online for fifty dollars. Aside from running the risk of blending in with everyone else, these free (or very cheap) resources usually backfire and end up costing a company in credibility – and dollars, too.

Nine Times Out of 10, a Crowd-Sourced Logo Doesn’t Work
Say I’m designing print or web collateral and the client sends me their logo to incorporate into their materials. They send the one file they received via crowdsourcing, a lo-res (72 dpi) file with a white background. This file can’t possibly be used for print, which requires a high resolution. It also can’t be enlarged at all without pixelation (fuzziness). It can’t be placed on another background. Its colors are in RGB, not process or Pantone (which is required for accurate printing). It’s virtually useless to a designer or a printer.

What happens then? I get the lucrative task of re-creating the logo the proper way, as a vector file that is then converted to use for web and print. With any luck, the client also recognizes the blah-ness of their logo, and requests a refinement or a complete re-do. Yay for me! – my favorite project is logo design.


Do It Right the First Time
Tired, stale logos such as those seen here are all just too easy. Good logos take time. Time to research the competition, the market, the company culture. Time to develop a unique look. Time to develop a tagline, if one is called for. “Complex” doesn’t enter into it; knowledge, experience and time do. Because in the end, a great logo’s beauty lies in its simplicity.

Read more on what makes a good logo:
The Good Logo from the Young Design Blog
The Makings of a Great Logo from Fast Company