Buyer Beware: Generic Logo Design Audree | July 13th, 2010

Finding a great logo design for your business is an important part of creating your brand identity. You want to have a logo design that is simple, memorable, and a good representation of what you do. Many people, in an effort to appear modern, choose a current design trend for their logo. One risk when following trends is that your logo could quickly get lost in a sea of similar logos out there on the web and in print. Trendy logos can also quickly become outdated.

We created this guide to help buyers recognize design elements that are overused in logo design. From swooshy people, to “green” icons, to geometric shapes – there are many graphics that are seen in one form or another everywhere you look. The challenge is to get a great logo that will help your company stand out from the crowd rather than getting lost in the crowd. The key to success is knowing your company, and communicating with designers to find just the right look, while avoiding the overdone trends shown below.

Swooshy People

People are drawn to these icons because they promote a feeling of joy, hope, and cooperation. The problem is they have been used so much that their impact is no longer what it was when they first hit the scene a few short years ago.

The swooshy person can be used creatively, but some of the most overused versions are pictured below.

Geometric People

Geometric people start out as geometric shapes in  a triangle, circle, or clover. From there,  round circles are added to represent the heads. They can appear in any mix of colors, as well as black and white, and with any mix of gradients or 3-D effects.  They are often used to convey cooperation or community.

Geometric Icons… with a splash of color

Geometric icons can make great logos. But certain types of images are becoming very common. The current trend is to take a complex design and change the color of one or two elements in the design. The most overused are the grid of dots, the spinning blades, and the pattern that appears to be stretched around an invisible sphere.

All About Business

The logos below all fit the bill with business concepts of growth, a well oiled machine, stretching outside the box, and unity. These images are popular (even if they are generic) because they work well with many companies.

The Green Scene

More environmentally friendly (“green”) companies are being created every day. In addition, existing companies are becoming more “green” to keep up with the times. Knowing about the overdone trends will help you make an informed decision when developing your own logo. Having a modern, “fresh” logo is one thing – but having a logo with the same look and feel as other companies is not the best way to help yours stand out.

You’ll see logo designs everywhere, including in projects on crowdSPRING, containing some of these elements. Although we strongly discourage the use of such overused design elements, designers often incorporate these elements because buyers tend to like them. The goal of this post is not to make people feel bad for liking, using, or creating such images. Our purpose is to educate and make you aware that these designs are generic and mostly overused in logo design – so if you do favor a design using some of these elements, do take this into account.

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  • Jason Aiken

    Hear, hear!

    Nice one Audree.

    Cheers,
    Jason

  • Jason Aiken

    Hear, hear!

    Nice one Audree.

    Cheers,
    Jason

  • aaron

    Dang…

    I just finished this logo, too.

    http://tweetphoto.com/32474929

  • aaron

    Dang…

    I just finished this logo, too.

    http://tweetphoto.com/32474929

  • slavic

    that’s why i never enter green , consulting, or charity, community contests , because they do not care about unique designs, they need spinning people, green houses with leafs and other overused concepts.. well i can’t say i never designed overused logo .. :D but it sucks after all..

  • slavic

    that’s why i never enter green , consulting, or charity, community contests , because they do not care about unique designs, they need spinning people, green houses with leafs and other overused concepts.. well i can’t say i never designed overused logo .. :D but it sucks after all..

  • AcidX

    Oh the times these have defeated my originality. Whatever happened to brand identity.
    Cheers cS

  • AcidX

    Oh the times these have defeated my originality. Whatever happened to brand identity.
    Cheers cS

  • Pingback: ? the little people logo July 9, 2010 at -

  • Audree

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the comments (and for the laugh, Aaron).

  • Audree

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the comments (and for the laugh, Aaron).

  • Born-J

    Well, well, well… thumbs up for this watch! Thanks Audree, great done! (“,)

  • Born-J

    Well, well, well… thumbs up for this watch! Thanks Audree, great done! (“,)

  • Blue Cuevas

    Ooooh. Nice one! I see a lot of these on various projects. No wonder I always have this feeling I’ve seen that one before.

    Generic = NO NO!
    Unique = Hell Yeah!!

  • Blue Cuevas

    Ooooh. Nice one! I see a lot of these on various projects. No wonder I always have this feeling I’ve seen that one before.

    Generic = NO NO!
    Unique = Hell Yeah!!

  • http://www.inkzoo.com/ cheap sample logos

    Great post. Nice mention about the trendy logos. Well written about the different tastes and likes of various group of people and nice tips to effectively create a logo design.

  • http://www.seoohio.net/ Cincinnati SEO

    Cool article. It is important for a logo to stand out and be remember-able. If every logo is following a modern trend then you correctly point out that a modern trendy logo can leave you lost in the crowd.

  • Abowland73

    You are so funny! Nice work with your conglomeration.

  • http://www.zenlayout.com design community

    This is something that can really help many young designers nowadays. Nice explanation regarding the importance of the logos and its trends.

  • Freetran

    Well, nice article, but what to do with a customer who chooses the “swooshy people” concept made in the last 3 mins (to provide a range of possibilities) over about 10 other concepts? : Client-orientation, gentlemen..

  • kris

    We just came across this post. My colleague has been keeping a file of “swooshy people” and saving marketing materials that come his way that feature a swooshy person in a new configuration. He spotted one balancing on one foot on a cross, cradled in a pair of swooshy hands. It made my head hurt. Our colleagues in nonprofits are the worst offenders. This made us chuckle to see another person who want death to the swooshy people. We are going to borrow that name.

  • Noname

    Nothing, you can’t do a thing. If that’s what they want and that’s what they are paying for, you can’t do a thing.

  • http://kesilconsulting.com/ Tim Carpenter

    Thanks for sharing this, some good designs but certainly overdone.

  • Scott Moore

    BS. You present only what you truly believe in. If you present swooshy people, then you, as a graphic expert, are saying it is a valid option in your eyes. otherwise, you’re a monkey on a keyboard, contributing to the mundane.

  • Will

    to add to any other advice that may or may not have been mentioned. For goodness sakes, don’t show the client 10 concepts. Slim that down to the best 1 (or 3 if they insist on seeing a few concepts)

  • kb

    Will is right. Grow some balls and pick 1-3 logos, max. Control the room and dictate why one in particular is strategically the strongest. Every now and than you will get the most difficult of clients, but your job is to still influence a majority of them. Not use it as an excuse.

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