How to avoid designing a meaningless logo.

As a logo designer, it is your job to understand what works for your client and will attract the right audience. A lot of times this means tossing aside your own preferences or things that may come naturally for you to provide the best solution for your client. To continue from the other week’s post covering the technical ways of how not to design a logo, this week, we’re going to look at the theoretical ways of how not to design a logo.

As you read through these rules, you’ll find this reoccurring theme, but it’s important to be aware of what won’t attract your audience so you can avoid these mistakes in your next project.

Design what you like

Hey, guess what… Your client’s target audience isn’t always going to include you. That means it doesn’t matter what your personal preferences are. Just because you like bikes doesn’t mean a car company should have a bicycle chain in the logo, right?

A better example is color. For the sake of making an example out of something we all know, just imagine if the McDonald’s logo was instead, the Green Arches.
How well do think they would have done then?

Design what the client likes

Just like your preferences shouldn’t matter, your client’s likes and dislikes also need to be put aside. Your client isn’t the one buying their own products, they are trying to sell them! So what’s the use of creating a logo that only attracts your client? They aren’t going to make a lot of money that way.

One-style-fits-all approach

Similarly to artists, designers typically have a certain style that comes naturally for them. Maybe that’s being able to pen out a street-style script, or being great at mocking up modern looking logos based on the golden ratio, but it’s imperative that you understand that your natural style won’t always fit the client’s needs. Just because the client approached you because they liked a logo you designed for another client doesn’t mean that that same style is going to work for them.

Attracting the wrong crowd

You could make a logo that is successful at bringing people to your client, but if they aren’t interested in what your client has to offer, then you have attracted the wrong audience. Ultimately, this is what will happen if you start breaking the rules above. You need to understand the needs your client’s target audience have and what their preferences are so you can attract those people through the design of your logo.


When it comes to the theoretical aspects of logo design, it’s about realizing the goal of the logo. Understanding what you shouldn’t do will help you focus on what you should be doing.

  • Don’t design the logo solely based on your likes. Your personal preferences aren’t always going to be the preferences of the target audience.
  • Don’t design the logo solely based on your client’s preferences. Your client needs to attract business to them, not sell to themselves.
  • Don’t design every logo with the same style. Every brand is different and requires a different solution for their logo.
  • Don’t attract the wrong crowd. Sure, a logo can be great at attracting a lot of people, but if it is attracting the wrong people, your client won’t be getting the business it needs.

If you haven’t caught it yet, there is the recurring theme with each of these points:

You need to know your client’s target audience.

Before you start designing a logo for your client, you need to go through a discovery process with them so you can understand the people your client is trying to attract. Once you know the target audience and what makes them tick, you will be able to design a logo that will work for your client.

Have you ever designed something without truly considering the target audience? I know I have have.

Tell me about your story about that time and what the outcome was.

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