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Logo Design > Common Symbolism in Logo Design – Overuse or Misuse?

Logo Design ,Logo Design Ideas

The core reason for a business to own a logo design is to be unique and distinguishable from its rivals. But this purpose dies out when common and clichéd symbols are used in designing logos. Using hackneyed symbols in logo designing is extremely dangerous and damaging. Many logo designers follow famous logo design trends but the problem is…trends come and go.  With passing time, logos that use common symbols start looking outdated and obsolete.

Without being critical of any particular design trend, I would like to highlight some symbols and graphics that are excessively being used in logo design. Since we all know that excess of anything is bad, we must be aware of the overused symbols and graphics in logo designing. From ‘swooshes’ to ‘geometric icons’ to ‘interlinking rings’, there are so many shapes and symbols which are repeatedly used in logo designs.

Below I display different famous logos, alongwith two random logos, showing how these symbols have been inspiring different logo designers.

 

1. The ‘Olympic’ Rings:

One of the most widely seen symbols in logo designing is the “Olympic ring”. Multiple circles interwoven into one another can be seen in famous logos like Olympics, Audi, MasterCard and Chanel logo. But these symbols have been overly used and now don’t really help distinguishing a company. Witness these logo designs above and you will notice a similarity between the circular rings.

 
 

2. The Universal ‘Swooshes’:

One of the most simple and effective design concepts was the Nike Swoosh. But, over the past few years, it has been excessively been used by logo designers. They are used either in the form of singular or multiple swooshes. Sometimes even in the form of “swooshy people”, pointed three sided human figures with a circular head. Have a look at the above logos that look similar to other swoosh logos.

 
 

3. The Molecular Bond:

Recall your high school Chemistry lessons and you will remember symbols that denote molecular bonding. This sign has been excessively used in logo designing to represent connectivity and linkage. Social networking site ‘Tribe.net’ and open source operating system ‘Ubuntu’ also have logos with similar symbols. When analogous symbols are used, the principle of uniqueness and distinctiveness fades away from an identity.

 
 

4. The ‘Recycle’ Möbius:

It is true that companies are trying to get environment friendly nowadays. But in pursuit of eco-logos, they end up with identical logo concepts. One of the most commonly used is the “Recycle” symbol composed of three chasing arrows that form a Möbius strip or unending loop. Although it does represent eco-logos but having a design with similar look and feel as other eco-friendly companies is not a wise choice.

 
 

5. The Revolving ‘Globe’:

Another overly used graphic in logo design is the spherical globe symbol. This sign is the hallmark of various famous brands such as AT&T, Sony Ericsson and Symantec. Spherical shapes, placed either in a row or the unending loop, are common nowadays. Have a look at this inspirational logos that uses the “revolving globe” becoming similar to other famous logos.

 
 

6. The ‘Geometric’ Icons:

Geometric shapes like triangle, square and circle are also being frequently used in designing logos. The MS office logo is a good example of these types of symbol. But to overly use clichéd geometric symbols create identical logos. You must know where to draw the line between logo inspiration and plagiarism.

 
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