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What Makes a Logo Design Bad?



What is one of the first things you notice about a company? Its logo! A logo represents your brand image. It's a significant part of your brand identity and how your company is perceived. It's how people remember you and how you stand out from the competition.

A good logo is memorable and unique and reveals what the company does. So, what makes a bad logo design? Is it the colours, the image, or something else? Let's dive in and find out what makes a bad logo so you can design a truly great one.

1. Not Scalable


One sign of a bad logo design is a loss of clarity when scaled down. Complicated or detailed logo designs can easily become difficult to understand or read when reduced in size. Elements like gradients, fonts, and shadows can make logos difficult to resize if they were designed with a specific size in mind.

The first logo designed for Apple is a good example of poor scalability. Its illustrative style and intricate details might look appealing in print, but it wouldn't translate well to the size of a pen. Text and imagery become lost when scaled too small.


Image Source: The Medium

A good logo design should be vector, maintaining an excellent icon-to-text ratio so that it can be scaled to fit any size and is easily understandable. A truly scalable logo looks great on something as small as a pen and as large as a billboard.

2.Your logo is Complicated


Image Source: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels


Overly detailed logo designs are difficult to process, making them easily ignored or forgotten. Ask yourself: Will someone understand your logo at a glance, even on a billboard at 60 mph? Will it stand out amongst thousands in a supermarket? If not, you might have a bad logo on your hands.


This logo for a music festival, while beautiful, is far too complicated. The decorative, leafy type obscures the lettering, making it hard to read.


A simple and successful logo uses one or two colours, basic shapes, and less than three words. Limiting design elements ensures a clean, easily understood logo


3. Overwhelming Typography


A bad logo design uses more than two typefaces or highly decorative fonts, making the text hard to read and the overall design too busy.

The London 2012 Olympics logo is a classic example. The text is abstract and almost headache-inducing. We see the Olympic rings and the location, but the year is difficult to decipher.



A logo's text should always be crisp and clear. Stick to one or two simple typefaces. Fonts like San serifs convey elegance and modernity, while serifs offer a traditional, classic feel – both are excellent choices for logo designs.


4. Mismatched Imagery



Sometimes, the design itself is good, but the imagery doesn't fit the brand. While a logo may be visually appealing, it won't be effective for brand recognition or customer loyalty if it doesn't reflect the company itself.

Take this logo design, for example. While well-designed, it has nothing to do with Sushi. Without the brand name, you would not even perceive it as a Sushi brand. It could easily represent companies in other industries.


Opt for imagery that directly connects to your company, reflecting either your name or what you do. The trick is to be creative – you can still use familiar imagery without creating generic logos.


5. Poor Colour Combination



Mismatched colours are one of the biggest indicators of a poor logo design. The result might be too bright, tacky, or simply unappealing. Too many colours, used without respect for colour theory and psychology, can do more harm than good.


This logo's colours are extremely bright and clash with each other. It's visually jarring, which is not a desirable trait. Additionally, the colours seem randomly chosen without considering the final design.



Limit yourself to one to three colours that work well together. Research colour theory and psychology to understand how to use them to your advantage! Design your logo in black and white first to ensure a versatile, timeless look, then consult a colour wheel for complementary pairings. The right colours will evoke the desired emotions for your brand.


In Conclusion



A logo carries a lot of weight. It must give people the right perception of your brand and what you do while reflecting your style, tone, and values. This guide just scratches the surface of what makes a bad logo design, aiming to set you on the right path.


Creating a logo that clearly conveys your brand message and enhances your image isn't easy. If you need more help, consider Brand Soul for a unique, memorable logo that resonates with your brand.


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