Don’t risk a generic logo


When a pro designer creates a logo, they are creating a unique mark that takes into account the hopes and dreams of the client and their customers. They consider competitors, other brands and work to find a unique insight into the values and offering of a client.

The aim is to create something that will inspire loyalty in their customers and take their business forward. To design one logo, a single designer could explore up to 100 vexations and options, refining and exploring to find the absolute best options to present.

Initial concepts for a rustic Italian restaurant.

Initial concepts for a rustic Italian restaurant. All of these concepts are unique creation by a single designer to meet the needs and brief of the client. They all have equal merit as possible logos. There is no filler.

The alternative – 99designs

There is a growing trend , particularly for startups and small businesses with limited budgets to not use a single designer, but go with a competition website like 99designs. On these sites, rather than engaging and trusting a single designer and collaborating with them to create a brand, the client creates a brief, sets a price and a community of designers all submit concepts.

This seems like it would lead to a better result, and for some people it works, but the downside is that the designers on the site don’t have the luxury of spending time face to face with the client, extracting a brief and understanding the unspoken cues you get from direct interaction. They can’t spend hours to research competitors and it’s too risky to spend the time to explore all the possible options.

Instead, they have enough time to work through the initial obvious ideas you always get when you first start designing, or not knowing the client they will work directly to the brief and examples, not risking exploring beyond the client’s imagination to the wild possibilities that could truly create something great. Even worse, they may utilise one of their stock designs for that business type and just add they client’s name and move to the next – a numbers game.

On a few occasions, we’ve seen the results first hand from clients who have decided to go that way. hundred of submission form different designers. Almost all looking the same as they quickly explore the most obvious ideas and move on. None right for the brand. And what happens if there is a logo there that you like? It probably looks like on of the examples below!

Some of our favourite generic logos (hopefully yours doesn’t look like one of them)

These are a few examples from an excellent blog post featuring different types of generic logos by GT Graphics. You should check it out.

It's Eco! - The leafy swoosh person

It’s Eco! – The leafy swoosh person

Our Three letters mean something! - Acronym with an arc

Our Three letters mean something! – Acronym with an arc

Our three letters are inside a box - Acronym with squares - Plus sometimes arcs

Our three letters are inside a box – Acronym with squares – Plus sometimes arcs

We do business things! Towers/Graphs - Plus often acronyms and arcs

We do business things! Towers/Graphs – Plus often acronyms and arcs

Don’t be generic

The biggest insight for me is that aside from the amusement of the overuse of the same ideas is that fact that none of these are great. There’s no Nike Swooshes, Apples, Golden Arches or anything that makes you say that’s a great brand. Of course that is a high standard to set and not every brand can be at that level. The sad thing is that from our perspective, with a design competition, there is no way of even coming close.

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