How to avoid overdone and overused logo designs

Can you have too much of a good thing? Eat too much cake and you might get sick. Exercise too much and you might hurt yourself. Listen to the same hit song over and over – you’ll never want to hear it again. The same goes for graphic design.

In this article, we’ll illustrate what not to do. These overdone and overused logos show that too much of a good thing can quickly become something awful.

1. The “V-Man”

If overdone design were a brand, its poster child would be the “V-Man.” This gender-neutral humanoid comes back over and over again in different shapes and sizes. The notorious V-people come in packs, flocks, and families, child and adult sizes.

Health, social media and other service oriented businesses are ripe for the V-man trap. But don’t be fooled – there are many ways to represent these businesses without giving into the clutches of the V-people.

V-man generic logo design

Here are a few examples of designs that represent similar ideas in a different way:

Left to right: Acidolac, Belkin, US Virgin Islands

See even more examples in our article, “V-Man alternatives: 10 creative logos featuring abstract humans

2. Globes

Globes (both the 2D and 3D versions) are also dangerous territory. Used over and over again in different forms with different letters, swooshes and arcs – the globe falls short of giving a brand the unique feel that quality graphic design should.


These travel company logos avoid those pitfalls and show that the global theme can be implemented uniquely:

Unique travel logos
Left to right: Matt W, :: scott ::, Deb 🙂

3. Lack of individuality

There’s a host of other overdone and overused designs that should be avoided. Many times these logos come from a free logo maker. The ones displayed below have a variety of characteristics, but all share the same shortcoming: they simply do not have the individuality and emotional characteristics of excellent logo design.

Generic logo design

Marketing and communications companies are often represented by some of these overdone designs. On the other hand, the two designs below show how a little bit of creativity can turn a boring concept into something unique:

Marketing company logo design
Left to right: amio, MarkusM, BlooByrd Art

Graphic design isn’t about using empty, overused symbols! It is about giving life to a client’s vision, creating something with a conceptual purpose – building a brand. It’s about applying your talents to create design that a client couldn’t get anywhere else.

Before starting your next project, keep in mind that the more original your work is, the more value you give to the client and the more you stand out from your peers.

Have you seen any overused logos recently? Share your example in the comments!

The author

Filip Resse
Filip Resse

Filip Reese works as a Community Liaison at 99designs in San Francisco. He earned a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Davis and has spent time living, traveling, and studying in Europe, Asia, and South America. Filip is an active skateboarder, photographer and outdoorsmen. If hes not writing tweets or handling disputes you can probably find him at Potrero del Sol Skatepark.

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