Stop Ruining Your Logos

James L. King
2 min readJan 1, 2022


Most brand owners (and many designers) have the wrong idea about logos, and by extension, design in general.

They think that design is about following trends and having the coolest, “loudest” or prettiest logo around. It makes sense that this is a problem because design is often taught as something synonymous with art — a belief that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are countless failing or underperforming brands suffering undeservedly because of this misconception.

“Design is thinking made visual” — Saul Bass

Please stop ruining your logos.

I say this with the best of intentions, I promise. 🤞🏿

Far too often I find myself encountering brand owners and designers who clearly believe that the purpose of a logo is to look great, impress everyone, and sell the product(s) on its own.

None of that is what a logo is for.

“A logo doesn’t sell (directly), it identifies.” — Paul Rand

A logo exists to identify, not to explain, convince, or impress.

It needs to be appropriate, memorable, and simple. That’s it. You’re not creating a piece of artwork, you’re designing the face of a brand with the intention of helping that brand succeed.

Art is about the unbridled creative freedom of expression.

Design is about goal-oriented problem-solving. Every business has goals, even if they are not related to sales, and design must be tailored to meet those goals.

Designers are not allowed to be artistic, self-expressive, or aesthetic at the cost of performance and rationality. Artists are.

Art for art’s sake is fine — great, even! — but there are two different words to describe these two very different things for a reason.

This is not to say that art and design are mutually exclusive.

Designers and brand owners can and certainly should express themselves creatively. The difference is that when self-expression conflicts with commercial aims and goals, it must be sacrificed.

Brand owners — your target audience is not you.

Behave as such.


This post was created with Typeshare



James L. King

Hi, I’m James L. King, entrepreneur and brand architect. I write about branding, marketing, sales and self-improvement. Prepare yourself, I talk a lot.