As a business, if you think you might need design you probably do. That's not just a shameless plug to attract business for myself, it's true. Was your logo designed in the 1970's and looks like it was designed in the 1970's? Then it's probably time for an update. As a millennial, I know my generation is expertly attuned to both a brand's values and a brand's visuals. Companies (the successful ones) are spending record amounts on their visual branding, brand consistency, and visual marketing for digital, print, and video. Why? Because they know consumers will eat it up in a heartbeat, and millennials are increasingly making up a larger part of consumers.
To get started, let's take focus on 5 simple ways your logo could be suffering.
1. Your logo cannot function in plain white or black colors.
As a designer, this is the first problem to address. If a logo cannot be used in black and white, or black, or white, then it is an issue. It is particularly an issue as you move into web and other areas of advertising where your logo is placed on complex backgrounds. Your logo should never be dependent on color to communicate its meaning, and if it is, it is lacking in both quality and usability.
2. Your logo has pixelated edges or is not clear
If your logo is pixelated, then chances are it was not created in a vector-based program. This means it is difficult to replicate your logo once you blow it up, thereby keeping you from making signs, banners, car wraps, etc. Quality logo images are a sign the image was made by a professional, not by someone who got ahold of a copy of Photoshop and now thinks they are a designer.
3. Your logo contains clip art or a stock logo.
If your logo contains clip art or anything resembling clip art, you will immediately lose credibility. Clip art is not only unsightly, but is also a copyright risk for two reasons.
1. Your logo cannot be copyrighted in any way. Since the art you are using is public domain, you cannot claim copyright on your logo for any reason, meaning someone could open a similar business and have the identical logo. Should this happen, there would be no recourse for such circumstances.
2. Not all clip art is free. Just because it was on the web, you downloaded it, and then placed your business' name beside it does not mean you are free from infringing on copyright. Many, if not most, images on the web are subject to copyright protection unless specifically stated otherwise.
4. Your logotype was done improperly.
Logotype should always, always, always be professional. Signs of a cheap font are unnecessary squiggles, lines, shapes, bulges, and outcroppings on the text which cheapen the overall look. Other signs of poorly done logotype are improper kerning, incorrect font sizes, and logos with very small type (i.e. phrases, mission statement, etc.).
5. Your logo is not simple.
If your logo is too complex, then chances are it is highly ineffective. The best brands in the world (Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, etc.) all use very simple imagery. Unique and simple is always more effective than cluttered and confusing.
If any of this sounds like your logo, then it may be time to look into hiring a designer. Remember, a logo is typically the first impression a customer has of a business. Make sure yours gives the right one.