Logo No-No’s

by Amanda Barnhart

What’s in a logo?  An image?  Does the graphic representation of ALL that your group stands for really matter?  The answer should be obvious: your logo is priceless!  It is the biggest megaphone your group has to promote its message. So, if you want your nonprofit to grow and achieve success, sometimes what you DON’T do matters more than what you do. When designing your logo, try to avoid these common pitfalls.

1. Following trends today leads to an outdated logo tomorrow.

Trends are ever-changing, but your brand is not. When you invest in creating a mark that will represent your organization for the long haul–it is important not to focus on what everyone else is doing at the moment. According to Smashing Magazine “A well-designed logo should be timeless, and this can be achieved by ignoring the latest design tricks and gimmicks.” Even if it looks great today, will it still be doing wonders for your company in 10 years?

2. Rasterized logos are difficult to work with.

You may be more familiar with the term”bitmap,” but a raster graphic is an image comprised of pixels. The problem with pixels is that they do not scale well. In other words, you won’t be able to resize the image without losing quality. This creates countless problems when dealing with a logo. Your logo won’t be easy to edit and it won’t be compatible with today’s media formats.  So really, why even go there?

3.  Counting on color to complete the message is limiting.

As a designer, my #1 goal is to make sure a logo looks good in black and white. Why? Because at some point, your group’s logo will be displayed in black and white. Trust me. Whether it’s a poster for a charity event – that you didn’t design – or a rushed, low cost print job, you will see your logo without color. In these situations, if your logo needs color to work…it’s an immediate failure. Color should be the last feature picked.

4.  Complex logos are sometimes difficult to understand, and the message can get lost in translation.

A good logo is simple. Your logo has 1 second to leave an impression on the minds of the viewer.  If your logo has multiple, complex elements, people won’t be able to decode all it is saying in that 1 second. Target is a bulls-eye, NBC is a peacock and Nike is a check. Force yourself to include the fewest elements possible to get your message across, and you will always win.

5.  A logo created without regard to audience may be speaking the wrong language.

Is your group web-based?  Will you use print pieces? Billboards? Business Cards? Or maybe just websites and social networks to promote your message? If you are ignorant of your market, you won’t know what message moves your target audience to action.  Your logo is the one element that represents all that your company stands for.  Make sure it’s translating the right message.  Do some research, find out who your competitors are and rise above what everyone else is doing.

Now that you know what not to do – go get started doing.  Keep your logo timeless, simple, compatible to modern media formats and relevant to your target.  Do this and you’re image will succeed every time.

RSVP for Our Upcoming Web Clinics
Don’t miss out on our marketing web clinics designed to equip and teach non-profits and churches to leverage marketing to build success. Learn more >>

Disclosure of Material Connection: The Winn Group has not received any compensation for writing this post. We have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that we have mentioned. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>