Is your logo really a logo?

I rarely frequent Facebook or any other social media platform nowadays. I realized that it just meant time I’d never get back and time is something I don’t have a limitless supply of.

However, when I used to hang out in various online business and entrepreneur groups, a common theme was someone asking for opinions on their new logo or to vote on several different logo designs their “graphic designer” had supplied them.

I added the quotes around graphic designer as the internet seems full of people who have given themselves the title with no training or skills to support it.

It’s like me saying I’m a brain surgeon because I’ve got a hacksaw and a box cutter and I can point to the location of the brain on a diagram of the human body.

Obviously, that’s a flawed analogy as a “graphic designer” isn’t going to cause catastrophic and most likely fatal damage within just a few well-intentioned minutes.

They may do enough damage in the long term to undermine your business though, perhaps even to a fatal extent. In another post, I’ve talked about a question you can ask a graphic designer to assess whether they really are qualified to assume the title.

You can’t judge a book by its cover

The saying tells us we can’t judge a book by its cover, but it doesn’t stop us doing exactly that.

A logo may be part of the first impressions that potential customers form about a business. If it looks poor or isn’t fit for purpose as a logo, it may mean a potential customer never becomes more than that.

By fit for purpose, I mean having the flexibility to work in all sorts of different circumstances. That means being suitable for light and dark backgrounds, being available in different formats for different shapes and also able to work at different sizes.

I explain this in more detail, including the differences between logotypes and logomarks, in The 20 Minute Logo post.

What I often used to see in various Facebook posts was that a “graphic designer” had created a “logo” (there’s the quotes again) that would only ever work in the one format.

Put it against a dark background and it quickly becomes a mess.

Need to use it in a square or vertical space and it can’t adapt, leaving lots of wasted space aorund.

Want to use it at a small size, such as an avatar image on Facebook or Twitter, and it becomes illegible at the small size, while also failing to adapt to the circular space.

A quick example

While I’d love to demonstrate some poor examples of “logo” design, I don’t want to be using this as an opportunity to embarrass or call anyone out. Plus I’ve not been on Facebook for about a year, so haven’t seen many suitable examples recently.

Instead I’ll try and illustrate it with a design sheet for another of my sites. I don’t claim to be a great logo designer, but I know enough to do a passable job.

This is the logo design for a site called Ringo Lingo, that shares tool with English language learners.

The design may not be to your taste (it’s intended for teenage users), but it should show how the logo has been developed to be suitable for use in many different circumstances. That’s the flexibility a logo needs to offer you.

If it doesn’t, every time you use it to present your business, it’s going to be compromising you and your business in the eyes of potential clients.