Last Updated on March 31st, 2021
Walk down the memory lane…
During the summers last year, I volunteered for a small company in my vicinity that provided plumbing services to big, corporate organizations.
They were pros at their work, yet I noticed they had a significantly fewer number of clients.
Though their marketing efforts were going in the right direction, they weren’t getting results. It took me very little time to spot the actual problem.
They had a highly complex logo!
The design of the company’s logo had an image of three workers working on a pipeline. Besides, it had some text explaining their service and quality. Below the text, the name of the company and its certification number were also stuffed somehow.
In short, when scaled down on an email or a business card, their logo seemed like an unfathomable labyrinth!
I stepped in as a volunteer to assist in their branding.
Firstly, I made them understand why the complex logo design is the biggest hindrance in scaling their business. We came up with a simpler logo, which clearly communicated the work they did and stripped off the unnecessary details.
As expected, the clients had an easier time relating and understanding the company and were ready to trust them for services!
With a well-designed logo, you can communicate whatever your business is about, your goals, and your brand’s ideology. In short, it is the graphical representation of your brand, helping the audience remember and comprehend your brand the way you want.
Choosing an appropriate design for your logo is a tricky game. It would be best if you struck a balance between your target audience’s preferences and elements that align with your brand’s definition.
And the best way to do it to keep it SIMPLE!
If you choose a complex logo design, the message conveyed through it will also seem complicated. As a result, people will have a tough time remembering, understanding and trusting your brand.
In contrast, a design without any complexity is easier to remember. It instantly makes you think about the brand’s purpose.
Notice how Target’s bull’s eye logo literally hits the bull’s eye each time when you see it on billboards or social media? It suddenly reminds you that you need to pay a trip to the store to buy your essentials. Moreover, it perfectly defines the brand’s name.
If you are also in the midst of deciding on a logo for your brand, do give this piece a read till the end to know why you should avoid a complex logo design at all costs.
The primary purpose of a logo is to convey your brand identity concisely. But if you choose a complex logo design, the objective is instantly invalidated.
According to the FullStop’s research, it takes only 400 milliseconds to process the visual elements of a logo in our brains’ cortex.
Branding gurus advise against using a lot of elements, colors, complicated fonts, or a difficult-to-process image in your logo. It makes the onlooker force his brain to work harder and requires more attention.
As a result, the usual time frame of 400 milliseconds is wasted in trying to comprehend what they are looking at rather than clearly understanding your brand. Nothing is worse for brand marketing than leaving the audience perplexed.
The concentration span of an average human is brief, and you need a logo that captures their attention quickly. See how the older version of the Canon logo (a highly intricate one!) is now replaced by a clear and clutter-free wordmark logo that is very easy to recognize.
Don’t forget to note O’s intelligent design in the new Canon logo, which is shaped like a camera lens.
Another significant entanglement that a complex logo design creates is that it delivers a simple brand message in a complicated way. Again, this negates the primary intent of a logo which is to make the audience understand who you are as a brand.
When the design is difficult to understand, it might mislead customers, giving different signals to people from diverse schools of thought. Moreover, this gives the wrong notion about your brand ideology which badly affects your reputation.
Your logo should be the most powerful tool that conveys your work and remains in your customers’ minds. Detailed designs will confuse your customers and repel them from trusting you.
An important read for you: Is Your Logo Design Good or Bad? Analyze the Logo Quality of Your Brand
Do you know? Once Starbucks sued a local coffee stall in Bangkok that copied its logo. The lawsuit was a whopping 6000 pounds!
The lessons we can learn from this story are:
In comparison to a minimalist logo, a complex logo design can easily be replicated with a minor change that is unnoticeable.
You must have come across many businesses which easily fool customers into believing that they are some famous brand by putting up a similar logo.
Someone literally dared to play with KFC lover’s emotions!
For businesses not as famous as KFC, logo imitation can be pretty harmful. Not only it affects your profits and recognition, but it also puts you in the wrong spotlight as people may doubt the credibility of your brand!
On the other hand, a simple logo is hard to replicate as people already recognize the original logo and can spot any foul play themselves. Therefore, it is highly recommended to go for a simple, straightforward logo instead of a complex logo design.
New brands often come up with abstract logos trying to convey their intellectual identity to the customers. Although they try to condense their brand into a single graphical representation, the complex logo design may not work the way they intend.
With abstract designs, it is easy to go wrong. You have to take care of cultivating the right emotion and attributing the meaning of your brand message. Otherwise, you will have a hard time justifying what you want to say.
Just like the Nike swoosh represents movement and freedom, and that of Adidas reminds us of variety, a complex design may convey a message efficiently. But when you use it in your beginning promotional campaigns, it will cause confusion among the masses rather than helping them understand your brand.
Overly complex logo design using abstracts cultivates ambiguity in mind, the thing you never want for your promotional campaigns. It gives the notion that your brand motto is complicated, pulling the attention away from your core values.
How many of these logos can you instantly recognize?
I bet you will say all of them. Without a doubt, it is due to the massive success these companies have achieved as a brand!
It is said that even four-year-olds’ easily recognize the McDonald’s logo!
The reason behind this is the simplicity of these logos. Without using any complex texts or detailed graphics, these brands make a permanent place in the minds of billions of people around the world.
But can we say the same for the logo shown below?
Look at the intricate patterns, imagery, and overly interwoven text in this logo. Some designer may have spent days coming up with such a design. However, the logo is not at all easily recognizable, even if you view it multiple times.
What’s the use of such a complex logo design that is so tough to decipher? Plus, your target audience won’t remember it, proving that your branding efforts have gone futile.
If you wish that your logo is remembered by people whenever they need a product or service you offer, go easy with the design and use lesser elements.
Your logo is something that will be present on your website pages, social media profiles, billboards, and banners. However, don’t forget that it will also be present on things as small as letterhead, business cards, product packaging, and ads.
A complex logo design becomes highly unfathomable when scaled down. None of your elements will be clearly viewable, which means that the actual message gets wholly lost on essential things such as your business card.
Not a very pleasant thing to face when you are trying to make an excellent first impression!
A logo must look pleasing and clear in all sizes, whether you plan to put it up on a giant-sized billboard or use it on letterhead.
Merchandising is a great way to promote your business. Designing small goods with your company’s logo on them increases the customer’s interest. However, if you use a highly complex logo design, merchandising will be a lot tougher than you actually thought.
While using the logo digitally, you can easily achieve design consistency. But when you print it on things like a mug, a t-shirt, or a small toy, several issues can come up. You will be annoyed with color issues, layout issues, converting the logo into black and white, and even the dimensions of the logo, which may go wrong.
On the other hand, a logo that uses uncomplicated graphics or a simple lettermark or wordmark logo will be easier to print on any material.
You may find it helpful: Merchandise Branding: Why Is It So Important For Your Brand?
Every now and then, Facebook and Instagram change their logos, and we even don’t notice.
How is it possible?
Because their logo is so modest, that a slight change in shape or size is negligible to the general audience unless you look closely.
A complex logo design is hard to update without getting noticed. Any edits that you make will add or subtract a significant element from your logo, restarting the recognition journey all over.
That means that instead of strengthening your brand’s presence in people’s minds, you are making them work hard to accept the new logo once again.
Rather than recalling your company’s service or products in times of need, your customers will be confused as to whether to trust you or not.
Explaining your logo design, again and again, is the last thing you want to do while already stuck in business matters. You came up with a logo to let it do the explanatory work, not the other way around.
Every time you come up with a marketing campaign, most of your efforts will go towards clarifying your brand ideology and less towards the actual campaign.
Therefore, if you have chosen a complex logo design, the chances are that you will have to update it sooner or later due to the never-ending confusion it is creating.
the above logo is the perfect example of a logo that can completely puzzle the viewers.
We discussed the issues that a brand might face by choosing a complex logo design. But we won’t let you leave empty-handed. Here are a few tips for designing a tremendous logo that will be the true face of your brand.
David Brier, the branding guru, advises us that “One of the first things your customers will notice besides your brand name is your logo.”
This brings us down to the conclusion that a complex logo design will make matters complicated for your brand. As a brand, your top priority is to provide ease to the customers rather than giving them a hard time thinking about what your logo means.
Deciding on a logo is a very crucial part of your branding, so dedicate enough time and thought to it. Avoid using a graphically complex logo or something that conveys ambiguity.
Use the tips mentioned above to come up with a simple, attractive logo that instantly grabs everyone’s attention. With a simple and unique visual identity, you can convey a concise yet firm message that reveals your true motto to the audience.
Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.
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