5 Branding Mistakes That Might be Hurting Tradies’ Business – #4 Logos

Every tradie needs a unique and memorable logo that sets you apart from the rest. But you don’t want a logo that looks too generic, amateurish or ugly. Here a a few mistakes you want to avoid – and what to do to make sure your logo stands out.

Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Too Busy


Music festival logo
This logo has too many things going on


There are so many creatively wonderful aspects to this log. But thats the problem. So. Many. Things. A tree. Guitars.  Speakers. Words. A Smiley face. Cables as roots.

Its very creative. But its overwhelmingly busy. 

Online printing company Virtual Print have seen many logos that are simply too busy. 

Think simple! – sometimes white space is good!

Simplicity combined with white space allows your logo to breathe and work easier in multiple applications including adding tag lines and secondary icons.

Free Logo Services agree and recommend that you shouldn’t go overboard with the design.

FreeLogoServices started back in 2012 with one mission: to empower the average business owner to create their own logo and build their own brand.

They say that, too much complexity or a mix of conflicting images can throw off the viewer and undermine the purpose of your brand.

Simplicity is key for your logo design. Here’s why:

  • Versatility. You want your logo to be versatile. It should be able to be reproduced in different sizes and for different mediums without losing any of its style or meaning
  • Memorability. When a viewer looks at your logo, you want it to stick with them. That way, when they think of your product, your logo and brand name will come to mind. It needs to be easy to remember and understand
  • Impact. All a customer should have to do to understand your logo is to look at it. With one glance, they should get a sense of what your company is and what it stands for

So what should you do?

  1. Have a brainstorming session with your key people – the one who get the heartbeat of your business.
  2. As a team identify all of the words, phrases and ideas that they associate with your business. Try to boil it down to the essence of what your company represents.
  3. What images are invoked by these words and ideas?
  4. Have a designer handy to start sketching visual ideas from these words.
  5. Don’t overload the images with clever or tricky images. Keep it simple. It might seem like fun to include an octopus or a keyboard or … you get the idea. Have only one or two idea in each sketch.
  6. Make sure though, that each idea give a complete picture of what the company is about.
  7. Identify as many concepts as possible, and see which ones your key people gravitate to.


Poor Font Choice

Free Logo Services suggest that, choosing the right font can make or break a design.

Going over the top with fonts will just make your brand look silly or unprofessional. It’s not uncommon for a logo to fail because of a poor choice in a font (like the infamous Comic Sans or Papyrus).

Column Five Media agree and say:

While you can use a typeface as the basic inspiration, it should be customized in some way.

For example, FedEx use a simple block san serif font as the basis of their logo, but it has been customized.

FedEx log
The font in the FedEx logo has been customised.

The words join together and they have cleverly included a subtle arrow in the white space between the E and X.

For more tips on selecting typography for your brand, check out this guide.

Logo Designer, Ian Paget from Logo Geek notes that many logo designers include too many typefaces to make the logo look attractive but end up designing the one that looks amateurish. Ideally, it is recommended to add one or two typefaces in the logo design rather than multiple typefaces.

They go on to mention that Each typeface has a personality and you need to pick a font that reflects the icon’s characteristics and coincides with the message of the brand.

So what should you do?

  1. Limit yourself to only one or two fonts that match the personality of your brand

    A funeral service business will not want a bright, fun font. It needs to suggest the gravity of the occasion, without being so serious that they feel unapproachable. Conversely, a circus should have a fun font.
  2. When using two fonts, make one stronger and more dominant, and have the other compliment it through lightness or colour.
  3. Find a graphic designer who can take the font you have chosen and customise it to make your logo more memorable and unique.
  4. Make sure the font you use is legible. There are many “handwriting” fonts that look amazing. But can people read them easily? 
  5. If your business is “you” rather than a large team, a handwriting font may very feel like a signature, setting you apart from others.


Relying too much on Trends

Paget notes that the design trends cam dominate from time-to-time. Many times, logo designers make the mistake of designing a logo based on the latest design trends.

Firefox logo
Many companies emulated Firefox’s circle logo

For example, at times a circle font becomes the trend and everyone follows. 

As another example, type designer James Edmonson of Oh No Type Co points out the similarities in these popular brand logos:

Everyone copy Google… go!

A company’s logo design is its identity symbol and needs to be timeless and if it is designed as per the trends then it may start looking dated and cliche soon.

Too generic and used by too many organisations

How many logos have you seen that look similar the above images? Highly generic, highly trendy, highly exposed… highly irrelevant in a few years time.

Trends disappear in a puff of smoke and that is why relying too much on these trends when designing a logo, can do more harm than good to the organisation.

You can always take inspiration from the trends but make sure the logo you design is long lasting, unique and eye-catchy.

So what should you do?

  1. Make sure you start from the point of identifying your brand’s personality.
  2. Get a professional to design your logo.
  3. Don’t purchase a stock image or stock logo. Someone else is bound to be using it.
  4. Make sure your design professional does a reverse Google Image Search, to make sure your logo is not already taken. 

Using an Unusual Shape

I once worked for a charitable organisation that wanted a new logo. They engages a professional graphic designer who wanted to create something that would really stand out. 

In many ways he succeeded. But with one aspect he destroyed all of the other fantastic features.

He made the logo vertical, and used a very narrow font.

It looked great. But it didn’t fit on a car door very easily. It had to be so small you couldn’t read it.

The above example pf a vertical logo will look great on a banner, or the side of a building. But try putting it on your work van, or a business card.

Do you find the PORCHE logo easy to read?

Al Ries, in the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, says that, since our eyes are placed side by side, a brand’s logo should be horizontal. 

So what should you do?

  1. Think about where you want your logo to appear.

    What kind of vehicles will it be shown on? What building signage  will you have? Will it easily fit onto your marketing material? Or will you have to make allowances every time you uise it?
  2. Keep it simple… (you know the rest).
  3. Avoid any similarity to your main competitors.
  4. Stand out… but be practical.

Ignoring Your Audience

This one will be brief.

If it doesn’t make sense to your target customers… it doesn’t make sense.

So what should you do?

  1. Test any potential new logo on some of your favourite customers.

    You don’t have to agree with everything they suggest, but you should listen… carefully.

The end.


Using Visual Cliches

Can you identify which industry the following cliché and generic images are associated with?

  • Light bulbs
  • The Earth
  • A dripping tap or a pipe wrench
  • A tooth

Do you notice anything in common with the following logos?

Just don’t.

Use your imagination. And if that’s not your forte, hire a professional that will have imagination in spades.

“Yes, but my pipe wrench will be better than anyone else’s”

No. It won’t. Sorry. Not sorry.

So what should you do?

  1. Hire a professional
  2. See what your competitors are doing and be different. Stand out.
  3. Keep it simple… oh, already said that
  4. Find imagery that is memorable and will stand the test of time.



Here is a very simple checklist that you can use to avoid the most common logo mistakes.

  1. Is it simple, uncluttered, clean?
  2. Can you see the logo clearly?
  3. Does it look good?
  4. Does it make sense visually?
  5. Does it resonate with your customers?
  6. Do the fonts work well together? Can you read it easily?
  7. Will it last visually, or is it trendy, faddish?
  8. Do the colors work together?
  9. Does the logo match your brand identity?
  10. Will it work with across different mediums – print, web, and social media?


Bottom line? Work with a professional designer. They are usually well worth their price.


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