Creating the Perfect Logo for Your Financial Practice: 5 Mistakes to Avoid
When you’re building a brand, one of the first elements you’ll need to address is your logo. Your logo establishes a visual foundation for the rest of your marketing collateral, and you’ll use its elements (colors, fonts, shapes, etc.) repeatedly as you create new materials. That said, it’s important to think about your logo’s impact on the rest of your brand as well as the impression it gives as a standalone piece.
So what makes a good logo? It’s probably not difficult for you to identify one (you know it when you see it, right?), but creating one from scratch (or even modifying your existing one) is often another story. It’s easy to overthink the process and lose sight of what’s important—after all, what is important when designing a great logo?
We’ve created hundreds of logos for advisors over the years, and we know what elements make up a memorable, effective logo. We also know some of the common pitfalls people fall into when trying to create this important piece of their brand. So in this blog, we’re sharing five common mistakes to avoid when creating your logo.
Mistake 1: Use Your Logo to Tell Your Story
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean your logo needs to express your entire brand story. The fact is, it can’t. Your logo is just one image, and while you can make it meaningful and interesting, it shouldn’t be complicated or confusing. You probably have a lot of great things to say about your business, but that doesn’t mean you should try and say them all with your logo (that’s what strategic messaging is for!)
Your logo doesn’t need to include a lot of complex artwork to make an impact or be visually appealing. Something clean and simple can pack just as much (or more) of a punch—just think about the “F” logo for Facebook, Rolex’s golden crown, Nike’s swoosh, the Target bull’s-eye, or the “C” used by Chick-Fil-A. They’re all memorable and unique—yet simple.
Not only is a minimalist logo easy on the eyes, but it’s also easy to use in your marketing collateral. Focus on simple shapes and a limited color palette that will make it easy to incorporate your logo in a variety of materials (think branded t-shirts and pullovers, mugs, business cards, your capabilities deck, website, etc.).
Mistake 2: Make Your Logo Hard On the Eyes
Like the last point—complexity is not a friend of logo design. Viewers should be able to digest your logo in an instant, so if it’s difficult to see the icon or decipher the text, that means it’s too complicated.
Here are some guidelines:
- Use no more than 3 colors
- Don’t use more than 3 fonts (two is better)
- If you’re using both an icon and words in your logo, pay attention to proportions. You don’t want the text to be illegible when the logo is scaled down or for one element to overpower the other.
Prospects and clients might only glance at your logo when they visit your website, read an email from you, or sign a document, so you need something impactful and memorable, yet uncomplicated.
Mistake 3: Cut Corners
You’ll use your logo almost everywhere, including your website, printed collateral, social media profiles, and promotional swag. It’s usually the first visual impression people have of your business, so it’s important not to skimp when designing your logo.
For starters, hire a professional. Freelance websites that make super cheap logos run the risk of being, well, cheap. Sometimes they’re produced using clipart or stock icons of some sort, and they can end up looking unoriginal. Truly custom logos require time and creativity, so they typically cost more. But creating a second logo because the first one didn’t hold up also takes time and money, so you’ll thank yourself for doing things right from the beginning.
And customization is important—your logo represents your brand, and your brand represents your practice. It should look and feel like you, not a competitor. You want your logo to be just as professional, unique, and polished as you are.
Mistake 4: Forget About the Big Picture
As we’ve said, you’ll use your logo almost everywhere, and that means it should look good everywhere—on a shirt, business card, office sign, email signature, social media profile. Big and small, narrow or wide; your logo should be adaptable. So when you’re reviewing designs, consider how the colors and shapes will transfer across various platforms and materials.
To make this work, you’ll probably need a few different versions of your logo. For example, if your logo is an icon next to your name (making the entire logo long and flat), you’ll want a secondary version where the elements are stacked. It’s also important to have high-resolution files of just the icon or image associated with your logo, as this will be best for things like a watermark or social media profile photo. (If you opt for a words-only logo, stylized initials of your DBA often work just as well.)
You’ll also want a few variations of your established color palette so you have something that works against different backgrounds (transparent or black, dark or light, etc.).
When you step back to look at the big picture, make sure you’re stepping back from your timeline as well. For example, if you used your initials as a logo but later added a partner to your business, would that logo still work as well?
Updating your logo is definitely doable, but preferably, you want something that stays with you for the long haul, so clients and your professional network can develop visual brand recognition.
Mistake 5: Overthink It
When you’re designing a logo, there are ways to do it “wrong.” But there are also plenty of ways to do it right. Lots of people get caught in a trap of trying to be super creative or clever with their logo. And while it should be unique to you, it doesn’t have to be the next Nike swoosh. Don’t let your creative and ambitious mind keep you from creating a simple, memorable, and versatile logo that will look great everywhere you use it.
If you’re stuck in the decision phase and trying to choose from several versions a designer has given you, step back from the project for a few days so you can give the designs a fresh look.
And if you want a second opinion, keep your “logo advisory team” to one or two extra people so you don’t end up with too many voices nitpicking over details. As long as it’s clean, professional, unique, and easy to use in your marketing collateral, you likely won’t go wrong.
If you need help designing the perfect logo or want some input about whether yours is hitting the mark, let us know! In the meantime, you can check out some of the logos we’ve done for other advisors.