generic and overused logo designs

Generic, overused logos and how to avoid them

This article is based on a great piece by Giovanni Tondini and republished under the Creative Commons license. All images were sourced and compiled by Gio Tondini.

A memorable logo is critical for any company that wishes to have a strong presence within its marketplace. Not only is it a key identifier, but it also sets the tone for your commitment to your product or service, and helps align you with your target audience.

As professional logo designers, we’re taught how to develop logos that meet not only company’s aesthetic needs, but their technical requirements and how the logo sits as part of their greater brand and visual positioning.

We’re trained in brand strategy, typography, form, colour, market research, illustration, and more. We use this training alongside logo design principles which include that the logo is simple, memorable, versatile and timeless. The technical elements to address are how it will work across multiple platforms – as a tiny logo on a website banner, or a huge version on a billboard or building signage. We look at your company’s future plans to see if it will be printed on masse, embroidered on uniforms, or will it be animated for the digital space.

So, as you can tell, logo design requires a lot of considerations. If we’re instructed to design according to an exact brief, we need to ensure that we’re reaching our best practice standards. If not, we’re not able to supply the design as it doesn’t adhere to our beliefs of providing you with the best value and advice we can.

What about Generic Logo designs?

But, in the jungle of logo design, there is a tricky trap: the spreading of generic logos. Problems with generic logos include:

  • You can’t trademark or hold copyright on a logo that is too generic
  • Your brand melts into the rest of the generic logos in the marketplace. This means you can’t distinguish yourself so your logo doesn’t reach its function or goals
  • Generic logos are designed without understanding your needs. They are often churned out by low-cost design resources who aren’t putting the client’s needs first, but rather trying to offer cheap, or budget options.
  • Sometimes people may choose these logos because they feel familiar. However, familiarity should be developed around your own identity, not to look like the crowd.

Here are some examples of overused and generic logos.

A compilation of generics showing how they start off and then have company names added in later:

Linked bubbles and organic dots:

The evergreen swooshy men, V-men and leafy men:

The rainbow circle formed by stylized humans:

Stylised cars:

Gear logos, seems blue is a favourite!

Shapes with swoosh lines:

Water drops and leaves, with a very popular green and blue colour palette:

Trees where the trunks are people or hands:

Generic and overused logos

The company name inside a 2 colour circle:

Financial graphics, towers, growth lines

Use of the font called “Satisfaction”

The company’s name as an acronym in square boxes

3D spheres

The company’s acronym cut in two by an arc. This is often accompanied with the Trajan font:

Roofs and building silhouettes

The company’s acronym in the “Ethnocentric” font (separated or united letters)

And finally, a mash-up of multiple favourites, combined into a confusing mass.

If you’re looking for an original logo as part of your brand, then speak to us today!