Three Reasons Your Logo Probably Stinks

Logos. The face of your company, the thing your brand is identified by, the mark that graces your business cards, website, and SWAG. Unfortunately, that logo that everyone associates you with may actually stink. There are some essential truths when it comes to good vs. bad. This blog’s purpose? To give you some objective truths about why your logo probably stinks. Granted, some of you may already have a great logo, but if you’re questioning everything now, just keep reading to get the B&C DL.

First things first.

A logo is not your brand. That’s it. 

A brand is much more than pretty visuals. A brand is the gut feeling your audience has towards your company, how they perceive you, and how they react to you. Although your logo can trigger these feelings and reactions, it is not your brand. For more on this, read the Cow Story. 

So what’s the logo’s job?

Simply put, the logo’s job is to identify the company clearly. If it doesn’t do that then it has failed. People often think the logo needs to do all the heavy lifting or that it needs to have a deeper meaning. Creating a logo that has added meaning is fine but what often gets neglected is its clarity and legibility. When that happens, you’re left with something overly complicated and confusing that no one but you will understand. 

So now we know what the logo’s job is, but how do we know if it stinks? Enter the three truths.

It’s too complicated

The logo to the right is a great example of a logo being overly complicated. The company? The Gift Away. The slogan? Always thoughtful gift baskets. Bet you didn’t know any of that from your first few seconds looking at that logo.

The problem is that this logo can’t be read quickly and easily. You’ll spend so much time squinting and trying to figure out what you’re looking at that you’ll likely give up because it’s too much to process. 

So, what are the things potentially hurting the simplicity of your logo? Here are 3 things to look for:

  1. Too many layers 
  2. The font is too detailed or wispy
  3. Too many words


The logo above has 1 and 2 working against it. The words may be legible here but what about at a smaller size? If it was smaller, could you still read it? Or even tell what it is? If the answer is maybe, then it’s worth making the adjustment. When it comes to the identifier of your business, maybe just isn’t good enough. 

It’s not appropriate

It’s important to state that a logo doesn’t need to show what a business sells or offers as a service. For example, car logos don’t need to show cars, computer logos don’t need to show computers, the Harley Davidson logo isn’t a motorcycle, and the Kellog’s logo isn’t a frosted flake. 

A logo is purely for identification. Keeping this in mind will open the door for more creative possibilities. Is the logo for The Gift Away appropriate? You could make the case, but it doesn’t necessarily need to have a basket in it for people to identify it. Does having a basket in the logo for a gift basket business help it? Maybe, it really depends on the market and what your competition looks like. If five other gift basket businesses have a basket in their logo it might be a good idea to not have a basket, especially if you want to separate yourself from competition.

On the other hand, a logo shouldn’t be so far off from the product that it becomes confusing on what you actually do. For example, having a dog included in your gift basket company logo that also includes a basket might not help with the understanding of what you offer. 

It’s not versatile

Part of what takes a logo from good to great is scalability. Logos need to work across a plethora of applications, from the biggest billboard size back down to the little icon on your browser tab. For this to be possible you’ll need to ask yourself these questions.

Is my logo effective if it is:

  • Printed in one color?
  • Printed on something the size of a stamp?
  • Printed on something the size of a billboard?
  • Reversed out to white or black?
  • Seen horizontally or vertically?

If your logo is too complicated, a problem you’ll likely run into is its ability to be legible when scaled down to something the size of a pen or other smaller applications. This is why you’ll want to have a logo that is as simple as possible. It’s easier said than done but trust us when we say you’ll save yourself a lot of money and headache later on down the road.

And there you have it. Hopefully you learned a thing or two about logos and a new way to view them. The internet is chock full of information on logos but if you have any questions, or concerns about your logo, we’re here to help.