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Many designers and graphic artists will tell you that the foundation of creating a great logo is sheer creativity and an eye for detail. And really, these things are hard to learn—people are born with a creative eye it’s really not something you read and learn in books. But even the most creative graphic artists may fall into some mistakes that mean failure for their designs.

During brainstorming for concepts, graphic artists may get lost in all the ideas and suggestions that may overly complicate the design—so many people want so many elements into the logo that the designer is left confused.

To help graphic artists through the concept and design process, here are some very, very basic design rules—they are really simple that designers often become irresponsible and forget them. It’s always good to be reminded with the basics. Go through the list and see which ones you often miss out and which one needs some more work.

Quick Design Rules Checklist:

  • It is best not to use more than three different colors on a single logo.
  • The typeface must be readable as much as you want to stylize the entire thing.
  • Don’t keep editing just because your friends give you some unsolicited comments. Go back to your target audience.
  • Do not copy from other logos. It’s okay to take inspiration from really good ones, but don’t copy.
  • Never, ever use clipart for your design. Be original. A professional graphic designer creates his own elements.
  • Make sure the resolution is high enough to be used in outdoor billboards.
  • Special effects are cliché. Try not to use drop shadow or light burst effects.
  • A logo that will fit in a square is the best layout and the easiest to fit into most materials. Avoid obscure shapes.
  • Make wise use of lines depending on the message you want to convey—sharp lines to communicate a strong, stable business.
  • Never use a photo for a logo.
  • Align each element of the logo in such a way that they hold together perfectly.
  • You can totally use the brand’s name as the logo itself.
  • Create two to three logo studies and have the right people choose the best. From there, you may continue improving.
  • Don’t be too literal with your logo. A restaurant logo does not have to show food, in the same way that a car brand logo does not have to show a vehicle.
  • Avoid using taglines in a logo. Simplify it for better recall.
  • Choose your font wisely. Try not to use comic sans font style.
  • Avoid those boring globe symbols.
  • Try sketching your ideas on paper before executing it on the computer.
  • Use colors wisely. Avoid neon bright colors, but don’t go for dull, boring ones.
  • The overall design of the logo should be visually pleasing.
  • Experiment with fonts before you land on the best one. There are websites with a wide range of font styles.
  • Do your research on what the industry is all about and who your competitors are. This will help your design ideas.
  • When you feel drained, take breaks in between the design process. This will give you fresh concepts and perspectives.
  • Browse through various logo designs, not to copy them. But to take inspiration from them.
  • Solid colors sometimes work best. Especially that this will cost you less during production.
  • Always consider Helvetica when choosing typeface. This one never goes out of style.
  • Aim for your logo to stand out and not be drowned by the trend.
  • Planning wins you half the battle. Don’t design in vain, plan it out and brainstorm. And then, start the design process.
  • Be open to constructive criticism about your work.
  • Take your time while designing, rushed pieces may forsake quality.
  • Get rid of unnecessary lines, strokes, and any other elements. If the logo can go without it, then it’s not important.
  • The logo must be recognizable and easy to recall.
  • Icons, symbols, and text must be placed in a way that they complement each other.
Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.