Given the very nature of my job, I go through dozens of logo designs every day, the things I see too much of are derivative and overused logos. Upon further investigation and discussions with other designers, I’ve learned that generally people confuse the two terms. Many designers and project holders think the two terms are one in the same. They are not.
Let’s shed some light on both terms to distinguish one from the other. This post will give you a good understanding of each term as well as where and when they should be used.
Overused Logos – Common and Clichéd
Overused logos are exactly that, overused. These are clichéd design concepts that have been used so often that they portray a dull feel when used. There are symbols for every industry that have been overused by designers through ages. They’ve been used so much that they cannot help a business stand out in today’s market.
When people look at overused symbols in logos they instantly make a connection with something they’ve already seen. For example, the symbols of a scale in a law firm logo or rooftops in real estate logos are just a few examples of overused symbols.
Derivative Logos – Copied and Unoriginal
Derivative logos are based on stock images, clipart or existing logos created by someone else. They are essentially ‘derived’ from an existing design. The designer who creates a derivative logo is basically copying someone else’s design and making a few changes to call it their own.
This is a very common and unproductive practice among new designers. They tend to look at different types of designs to get inspiration and ideas for their projects. Sometimes they see a design they like and take it a step further by making slight modification to it to make it appear unique.
Your logo design and branding should be original. A truly unique brand design is an elegant mix of elegance, innovation, uniqueness and ingenuity. All of us at LogoDesignGuru.com would like to stress this and encourage designers to use their imagination. Remember, being unique is worth its weight in gold in this business.