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Rob Marsh
Admin, Logodesign.com

3 Things Your Logo Should Never Include

Last week we posted a note about what your logo should say. Because logos can’t possibly tell a customer everything about a product or business, you should choose a simple concept when you develop yours. You can read that post here.

There are a few things your logo should never include—and yet, we get requests from business owners almost every day to add these things anyway. So in the interest of helping you get the best logo for your business, here’s a simple list of things to leave out of your logo.

#1. The legal phrases Inc., Corp, LLP or LLC. We understand why some customers want to put these legal abbreviations in their logos. They just incorporated their business or formed their partnership. They are excited. Their business is now “for real”. And they want everyone to know it. (We even had one customer tell us his lawyer said he needed to include the LLC in his logo. The lawyer was wrong.) Before you do it, think about the familiar logos of successful companies you see every day. We would bet that none of them include these legal terms. Coca-cola or Pepsi? Nope. Ford or Mercedes? Again, no. Delta Airlines, Marriott Hotels, Avis Car Rentals? No, no, and no. Legal abbreviations are for legal documents and disclaimers in small print. They just mess up logos and confuse your customers. It’s best to leave them off.

#2. Tag lines. This one is a little tricky because so many people are used to seeing tag lines used with logos that they assume their logo must have one. The right tag line can help with your marketing if it’s used correctly. But it doesn’t belong in your logo. Tag lines change. And if you’ve included your tag line in your logo, you’ll need to update signs, business cards, and anything else you’ve printed with your logo, any time you change your tagline. And, adding elements like tag lines to a logo make them more complex and thus more difficult for your customers to remember. Again, think of the logos you see every day. Do they include tag lines? Almost never. Tag lines are for advertisements and marketing materials, not logos.

#3. Addresses, Phone Numbers, and Websites.  You might have just signed to ten-year lease on your location, and you have no plans to change your cell phone provider, but trust us, these things change more than you think. If your logo includes your phone number, you’ll have to update it some day. But more importantly, these elements just add clutter to your logo—and remember, the best logos represent a simple idea associated with your product or business. A logo that includes an icon, a business name, a tag line, a phone number, and a web address will look cluttered. The more your customer has to take in when he sees your logo, the less they will remember.

Comments

  1. Paul

    The problem is, people get caught in the “more bang for your buck” mindset, so they think that that the more elements they have in their logo, the better, when actually the opposite is true. For example, today I worked on a logo for a governmental bureau that inspects ships and issues compliance certificates. They wanted to include a reference to:
    Panama (the company origin)
    a world map or globe
    a ship
    a legal scale
    a ship’s wheel
    a ship’s anchor
    a ship’s propeller (the ship, wheel and anchor didn’t get the idea of a ship across, I guess)

    Reply
  2. MatasLogoArtist

    I do not understand why people ask to add tag lines in their logos and you pointed it out correctly that tag lines are for marketing. Good post, people should pay atention to this information

    Reply
  3. Kiran

    hey.

    Your blog makes interesting reading. I use a tagline along with the logo for my business simply because, my business has a name which is hard to pronounce so the tagline which is simple and easy to remember actually improves the recall for the name.

    Keep up the good work

    Reply
  4. Rox

    My friend is asking me to make a logo for her online business. She included the word Inc. to be on her logo because that was supposed to be the name of her business. When I read about your rule #1 and I told her about it, she decided not to include it.

    Reply
  5. MR/Mohamed Reda

    hey.

    Your blog makes interesting reading. I use a tagline along with the logo for my business simply because, my business has a name which is hard to pronounce so the tagline which is simple and easy to remember actually improves the recall for the name.

    Keep up the good work

    Reply
  6. Lucky Akpojotor

    Great insight. Simplicity should be the focus.

    Reply
  7. logo design

    I’ve talked many clients out of including Ltd. (Limited Liability in New Zealand) in their logos. Funny enough, I’ve included the tagline “Graphic Design Limited”, because our company name “Inkworx” is associated with tattooing, which was never even considered when coming up with the company name. It definitely pays to spend a bit extra time considering a decent name to brand.

    Reply
  8. iCheap Marketing & Design

    Very useful post and i’m agreed with all 3 above mentioned points, i saw in my professional experience mostly people only concentrate on logo design and it’s innovation but they didn’t focus on Tag line that is also very important to deliver their message to their prospects/targeted audience…

    Reply
  9. Igor

    Nice article. I get this request quite often. Client oftentimes wants to show too many things at once, not so much in a logo, usually more in a web design.
    As for the logos, it is true, simple logos are often best as they are instantly recognizable and memorable. They also don´t age with time as can more complex versions. Depends on what business is about. Cheers!

    Reply
  10. The Logo Designer

    Really good post, I agree fully with both points 1 & 3, however I disagree that #2 should be left out.

    Reply
  11. anon

    I find it funny that this article shoots down tag lines…but at the top right above the article where it says “Want to see more?” there are a few logos next to it, and one of them has a tag line.

    Reply
  12. Esa

    Tag lines mean everything. bcs nowadays designers design complex 3D logos and weird blobs, piles, spots etc so u MUST ad tag line that the wholeness is somehow explained:D

    Reply
  13. Paul

    You’re right, anon, we should use out non-taglined version of the logo for that banner. It’s unreadable. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Reply
  14. David

    I just wanted to clarify a few things in regards to your point about taglines. While it is true you don’t have to use a tagline directly in your logo, you are wrong when you say “tag lines change.” You are mistaking a tagline for a slogan.

    A tagline is used to define a company and represents their corporate values. They are permanent (unless a company wants to completely redefine who they are). Slogans, on the other hand, are used to define specific marketing/advertising campaigns. They are temporary.

    Example of a tagline: Kay Jewelers: Every Kiss Begins With Kay (it defines what the company is all about)

    Example of a slogan: Geico: So easy a caveman can do it (notice they don’t use this on their commercials with the gecko)

    Reply
  15. Raleigh Logo Design

    #1 is great. Even though I tell my clients that it is not necessary, some because of being a small business ask for their legal phrase be used. The main reason, they believe that it builds credibility. They are right in some ways, but a professional logo design should already achieve that credibility. Leave the legal phrase for the footer or fine print.

    Reply

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