Why You Should Avoid Making This Stupid Branding Mistake With Your Logo

How many business owners have thought: “I want my brand to be very bland so that my company is indistinguishable from anyone else!”

Not one.

A great logo design can be the difference between blending in and standing out from the competition. But while we often recognize the value of a great logo, we don’t always prioritize it.

New business owners have sticker shock when they think about how much a logo design costs. They often incorrectly believe that a good logo will cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

As a result, they sometimes buy pre-made logos in an online logo store or try a do-it-yourself approach.

In fact, entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who make the mistake of using generic logos- businesses of all sizes sometimes use logo shortcuts, only to find out that it’s even more expensive to rebrand later. After all, memorable logos are 13% more likely to get consumers’ attention, and 71.6% more likely to get a positive response from consumers.

In a world of noise, that can make a big difference.

In certain industries,  generic logos have become extremely problematic. The epidemic of similar fonts, glyphs, and swishy people leaves a weak first impression on customers and is unmemorable.

We’ve talked about the legal and branding dangers of these generic logo symbols in The Logo Store Nightmare: Ready Made Logos Harm Your Business,

Even though some of these generic logos may help a person identify the industry itself, the generic logos also detract from the originality and story of your specific company. Generic logos even break the core elements of good logo design: memorable and unique, making them poor choices for any company.

In an effort to avoid that, we took a look at four industries to see which ones fall prey to

To give you some perspective on what we’re talking about, let’s look at four industries and the types of generic logos we often see in those industries.

1. Real Estate Generic Logos

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Many logos in the real estate industry show a house or some buildings with the company name underneath it. It’s like putting the picture of a shoe on the logo of a shoe company!

The colors are usually in serious tones: reds, grays, and dull blues. The logos are literal but people already understand that a real estate company will deal with the buying and selling of houses. When people choose a real estate agency, they assume that! What they don’t know is what makes a real estate company different, whether that is a personal touch or high-quality agents. Real estate companies that use generic elements in their logos completely miss the opportunity to stand out.

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You’ve probably seen many variations of the logos above, with different companies’ names and some stylization. If your logo has those elements, there are probably thousands of other businesses with similar logos. But you are also unlikely to recall any of those companies! When you look at generic house after house, you don’t learn what the company is trying to communicate. However, not every company in the real estate industry has fallen for the generic logo epidemic, some of them do a great job of breaking the boundaries!

The problem is that consumers can’t recall any of those companies. There’s nothing distinguishable about the design.

Not every company in the real estate industry has fallen for the generic logo epidemic, some of them do a great job of breaking the boundaries! We love this one as an example of a strong, unique real estate logo:

 

 

2. Finance Generic Logos

 

While at first glance each logo may look slightly different, most logos in the finance/consulting services industry look very similar. They focus heavily on the company name, often using a serif font in an attempt to show seriousness and trust. While there is some variation in font size, the words are usually stacked and bolded to show emphasis. The symbols don’t add much- they are mostly buildings and graphic lines.

Overall, many logos in this industry end up conveying exactly what people already think: boring, serious, money focused companies. While the seriousness and focus part of the message is usually intentional, a boring logo lends itself to customers not necessarily caring or knowing which company they prefer. Again, the companies all blend together and the first impression is weak.

Smarter financial companies focus their logos around characters or rounder, friendlier fonts (an overall trend in logo design). Many financial companies are taking the opportunity to simplify their logos, including shorter versions of their name or relying more on a symbol to make their brands more memorable. In an industry that screams complication and confusion, simple logos can go a long way. This Brazilian credit card company proves that even financial companies can have simple, memorable logos:

 

3. Medical Generic Logos

 

Another industry that suffers from generic logos is the medical industry. From insurance companies to hospitals to private practices and holistic treatment centers, medically-focused companies often end up reusing the same symbols, fonts, and colors.

Blues, reds, and greens are common colors in the medical industry. They often mirror colors that are serious and focused on the human body. But yet again, these colors and font choices seem extremely serious. People already understand that a doctor’s office or insurance company will be focused and professional. When most people are trying to choose a medical provider, they look at the extra steps they take when they provide services, their customer service, kindness, and ability to be calm. Much like the color and font schemes, the traditional symbols don’t help. When every logo in the industry is a variation of one design, it makes it hard to remember which company is which and makes branding look like an afterthought.

The medical industry is slowly starting to evolve their branding. Smart medical companies that want to stand out are thinking more about their branding.

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4. Technology Generic Logos

 

Even the most innovative industry struggles when it comes to logo design.

Many technology companies struggle to break out of the circular, swooshy glyph and name combination- much like many companies in the finance/consulting industry.  Not only are many tech companies’ symbols almost identical, but the colors tend to trend towards greens and blues in an attempt to look progressive, serious, and scientific. But even more shocking is the lack of variety in font choices. Almost every font is dramatically spaced out. Many of the company names are in all caps, and the fonts are traditional with little creativity. The stack of the symbols and fonts is formulaic too, making the companies seem inaccessible and unimaginative.

Smart startups have become more creative when it comes to logo design. They opting for friendlier, more creative logos as they try to communicate the innovation behind their company- not just their ability to leverage technology well. By using different fonts and playing with different images, innovative technology companies are able to present themselves as interesting and engaging to all types of consumers. We love Github’s logo as an example of playfulness and innovation:

 

 

Clearly, it’s important to invest early in an original, well-designed logo- especially if you operate in any of these industries. Be memorable, and let your company’s voice shine through its brand.

 

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