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How To Get Logos Approved on LogoGround

Technical Stuff

There are some technical requirements for logos as discussed in the Designer Handbook. Please have a look. About 40% of the logos that we decline are declined because of technical problems with the logo files.

 


Basic Requirements

As a general guideline, logos should be:

Unique
Swooshy people dancing in a circle, a ball with a swoosh going around it, connected dots - those concepts have been exhausted. It is possible to come up with a clever new take on any of those concepts, but you might find it easier to simply avoid them. More on logo topics further down the page.

Simple
This isn't always a must - there are some brilliant, very intricate logos on LogoGround - but doing intricate logos well requires more experience. If you're relatively new to logo design, keep it simple for now. A good logo functions like a graphic signature for the company rather than an illustration of everything the company does.

Tidy
Geometric precision is underrated in logo design. Spend some time on alignment, spacing etc. Zoom in and tidy that design up before uploading. Even in a very organic design the design elements should be placed deliberately, not haphazardly.

To illustrate:

Here's a letter M logo. It's not bad. Neatly executed and some thought went into the gradient fills.

The big "X" in the corner means it is a "no" however. This logo would not be approved for sale on LogoGround.

As clever as the folded paper idea is, it has been done. If you are going to use it anyway then you need to do more. You need to find a way to turn this tired idea into a fresh logo.

Rounding the corners?

Not enough. It's still a "no".

Progress!

It is different, which is an absolute requirement.

The balance seems a little off though.

It's still a "no", but we are getting there.

OK, this is better. Extending the circle seems to have fixed the balance issue. This logo would be approved.

But why stop there? Can you make it better?

Remember that the goal is not only to get it approved. The goal is to make potential clients go "Wow!" when they see it.

It is debatable whether this variation is an improvement over the previous one, but it does "pop" a little better. Approved for sale on LogoGround.

What about gradients, shadows etc.?

Many logo experts maintain that the logo should first work in black and white, that gradients and shadows are nothing more than effects that should only be used if absolutely necessary to achieve a specific aim. They are right, of course, but with modern reproduction techniques this isn't such a big issue anymore. You are welcome to use whatever gradients, shadows and effects you need to make an awesome logo. A word of advice though: If your logo is low on substance and requires effects to make it work, you're probably doing it wrong.

FIY, while either of the two logos directly above would be approved, both would not be. If both were uploaded, the first would be approved. The second would be declined on the basis that a similar logo exists. These are two variations of the same logo, not two separate logos.

 


Logo Topics to Avoid

Some logo topics have been done to death! Here are some very dead ones:

Globe Logo

Good old globes and swooshes.

They sell comparatively well, but there are just so many of them out there! No matter how you tilt the swooshes or what type of globe you place in the center, it will end up looking uncomfortably similar to hundreds of existing logos.

Best not to waste time on globe/swoosh combo logos. You are unlikely to get them approved for sale on LogoGround.

People in a Circle Logo

People in a circle?

It was a cute idea in 2005. It became stale soon after when many, many variations of the idea popped up on logo design sites across the Net.

Unless you get very creative with it your chances of getting variations of this concept approved for sale on LogoGround are slim.

Gradients Logo

Two mistakes here:

1. Gradients are wonderful, but use them sparingly. If you are relatively new to logo design, don't use them at all.

2. The "swooshy people" concept, like the globe/swoosh concept and the people-in-a-circle concept, is dead and buried. There are other, more interesting ways to draw people.

Circular Pattern Logo

Circular patterns are pretty and this one is too, but is it a logo? It probably could be a logo. Problem is that creating a circular pattern is very easy to do - just ask the designers who churn out hundreds of these.

Circular pattern logos are also short on substance. What does it communicate about the company it is meant to represent? Not very much, apart from telling us that the owner likes circular patterns.

Origami Logo

We are fond of origami animal logos. Some are very good and there are several approved origami logos here on LogoGround. The problem is simply oversupply. Even if you choose a fairly uncommon animal - let's say a parrot - there are many out there.

There is room for more origami animal logos on LogoGround, but we will be looking for more than the standard collection of shaded triangles that more or less resemble an animal. It may be a better use of your time to explore new ways to represent animals in logos.

 


Three Common Hurdles

Around 25% of the logos we decline trip over one of these:

We often decline logos for being too "generic". This one is a good example.

The letter "A" used here is a standard, common A shape centered inside a circle. To make it worse, that "A" is taken directly from a pre-existing font.

This could be a starting point for a good logo, but it's not a logo yet. Something needs to happen here to make that "A" unlike any other "A" in the world.

This logo is not bad at all. It would be approved if not for the text.

If you use text in the design it must be placeholder text - like "Company" or "Your Name" or "Co.Name". In our experience this is a very effective way of telling prospective clients that the text can be changed.

Or simply leave it off. You are welcome to submit logos with no text.

Auto-tracing. It's a cool design tool in certain situations, but in logo design it can be problematic. The main issues are:

1. It is easy to do. Clients are reluctant to pay for something when they feel that they could have done it themselves. Not much skill in letting software do all the work, is there?
2. It is messy! Modern design programs do a pretty good job, but there is still a mountain of clean-up work to be done before an auto-trace becomes practical as a logo.
3. Who owns it? Did the designer take the photo of the ship seen here or did they just lift it off the Net? If you submit an auto-trace where the original image belongs to someone else you run the risk of having your LogoGround account suspended.

For these reasons we've become "allergic" to auto-traces. Best to avoid them completely. There is almost no chance of getting one approved on LogoGround.

 


Precision

This is a decent enough "R" logo. A little dull perhaps. It was not approved for sale on LogoGround. The main problem is a lack of precision.

To illustrate, see the second image below.

Should the red dotted lines be parallel?

Should the blue ones line up?

The answer is not necessarily "yes". A designer may take artistic license and take a design in any direction they want. That's a crucial part of the process of creating a unique logo. If precision is thrown out to achieve a playful look, for example, then that's OK.

But in this example, in our subjective opinion, the lack of precision is not intentional. It's simply sloppy design.

Here is another example to explain our thinking on precision.

There are a few issues with this logo.

The most apparent one has to do with negative space or "white space". Negative space can signal the difference between a logo executed with care and one done in a hurry.

See the next image below.

This logo could be significantly improved by making the spaces between the swooshes all exactly the same width. As with the previous example this isn't a rule. If you make them uneven to achieve a specific look that's just fine. If it works it works. We don't think that this one does.

 

Still with the same example, see how the point of this swoosh doubles back on itself?

Take the time to go over the logo and pay attention to the tiny details, remembering that this logo might make it onto a billboard someday!

 


Center It

We don't want to be petty about details that don't matter to logo buyers, but if your design is clearly off-center (vertically or horizontally) on the JPG preview it will be declined.

No need to use a ruler. Design software allow you to center elements with a click or two. Visually centering the design on the page is also sufficient.

 


Spacing

Don't fill the entire preview image. Leave some "breathing room" around the logo.

At LogoGround there is no template that you have to use. Just make it fit comfortably and you'll be fine. If you want a specific value, use 20% to 30% of the image area as the margin.

 


Originality

We unfortunately receive some logo submissions which leave us no choice but to ban the designer from LogoGround. If you did not make it yourself, you can't sell it! We understand that designers take inspiration from existing images, be they photos or other designs, but you must still end up with a completely unique, copyrightable, trademarkable work.

Here's an example to explain our thinking:

The first image is a vector illustration that you can buy from canstockphoto.com.

The second one is a design that someone attempted to sell on LogoGround.

Different enough to qualify as a trademarkable logo?

No, not close. Not in the ballpark. It has been traced from the original with only the wings chopped off and the face mangled a bit. Other than that it's almost an exact copy.

What if you buy the original vector?

It makes no difference. As logo designers we are in the business of transferring ownership of unique images to our clients. At LogoGround that includes transferring the copyright. When you buy a vector illustration, you buy a limited licence to use the image. You do not own it outright and you certainly do not own the copyright, so you cannot transfer the copyright to the client - just like you cannot give my car to your uncle. Capiche?

To be absolutely clear:
If a logo you upload fails this test, like the one above, we will decline the logo, delete it from our server, delete all your other logos from our server, confiscate any funds in your account, close your account and permanently ban you from LogoGround. You will not receive any warnings or a second chance. If it is not an entirely original design, LogoGround is not the place for it.

 


The Production Line

These three logos are not bad and any one of them would be approved for sale on LogoGround. All three would not be.

The colors, shine effect, font and layout are all exactly the same each time.

As designers we absolutely understand the attraction of being able to paste a template company name below the logo and move on to the next one, but there are two big problems with the template approach to designing logos:

1. You'll burn out!
You are not a logo machine. You have to enjoy making each logo or you won't be selling logos for very much longer! Rather than making 5 quick logos and selling them for $150 each, try making 2 awesome logos and sell them for $500 each. You will be happier (try it!) and you will make more money in the long run.

2. Clients don't like it!
We don't want clients to get the impression that we "churn out" template logos as quickly as we can. That really hurts the perceived value of not only your logos, but of every logo on LogoGround. The client should have no doubt that each logo was lovingly crafted to be as good as it can be.

LogoGround is not about getting as many logos into the database as quickly as possible. It's about giving you the opportunity to create and sell your very best work at a fair price.

At LogoGround you don't have to worry about client requirements. One of the great upsides of working on pre-made logos is that you get to draw whatever you feel like drawing. Make something that you like. Something you would want as your own logo. Take an extra hour per logo and really polish it. Show the world what you are capable of when you set out to make a brilliant logo. Do that consistently and watch LogoGround turn your logos into Dollars.

 


About EPS Files

We sometimes receive logo submissions where the designer simply pastes a raster image (JPG, PNG etc.) into an Adobe Illustrator document and then saves it as an EPS file. That won't do, unfortunately. The logo must actually be created in vector format. You can use Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw for this. There are also free programs on the Net that can produce EPS files.

If you are not sure if your EPS file contains a raster image, there is an easy way to check. Open the file in Illustrator/CorelDraw. Use the zoom tool to zoom in on a piece of detail. Do you see pixels? If yes, that's bad. It is a raster image. If the lines stay smooth no matter how much you zoom in, then you have yourself a vector image. Well done.

 


Prefer CorelDraw?

So do we!
The majority of designers use and recommend Adobe Illustrator. Our in-house designers use both. We find that Illustrator works better for most design work, but CorelDraw is king for logo design. It does not matter which one you use, but one drawback of using CorelDraw is that it cannot correctly export to Illustrator EPS format. Technically that's Adobe's fault, but let's not get into technicalities here! If you use CorelDraw, export your completed design to AI (Illustrator) format, then open the AI file in Illustrator and save it as EPS from within Illustrator.

(If you do not own Adobe Illustrator, don't worry. You can export from CorelDraw directly to EPS provided that you do not use any gradient fills or transparencies.)

 


JPG Compression

When you generate the 600 x 400 pixel JPG preview of the logo, go easy on the compression. You can make the file size of that JPG really small by compressing the life out of it, but do you want to? Remember that this preview image is what the prospective client sees when they are at the buying decision. Make it easy for the client to fall in love with your logo by making sure the JPG preview looks awesome. If there are visible compression artifacts on the JPG, reduce the compression level.

 


Text

Take the time to craft a title, keywords and description for each logo you upload. We must unfortunately sometimes decline good logos when the accompanying text is not up to scratch. Here is what we look for:

  • Originality. You don't have to get super creative with it, but you should at least write it yourself! Copying the text from somewhere else will likely result in your LogoGround account being suspended.
  • Accuracy. The purpose of the text is to describe and sell the logo. You cannot use the same, generic text every time and you cannot post a description like "Awesome logo!!! Contact me!!! Custom logo for $5!!!"
  • Spelling and grammar. A sloppy typo in your logo title, description or keywords can be a real sales killer. It looks unprofessional, making it hard for prospective clients to evaluate the logo fairly. We will sometimes overlook small typos, but more often than not we decline logos when the spelling or grammar is sub-par. Take some time here and proofread before you upload.

Your ability to communicate with your clients is also a crucial part of delivering a professional service. The title, keywords and especially the description you provide with your logos give us a glimpse into your ability to write in English. If the logo itself is borderline, a well-written and typo-free description will tip the scales in your favor.

 


Seeing Why Your Logo was Declined

Every time we decline a logo we also supply a reason.

Sign into your account, go to "My Logos", then click "Logos I Uploaded". Below each of your logos is a colored bar that shows the status of the logo, for example "Declined" or "For sale" or "Sold". If it says "Declined" you can click right there on the word "Declined" to see why it was declined.

 


About the Problem of Personal Taste

Personal taste can be a problem when we review logos. What if the person reviewing your logo simply does not like it and fails to recognize that the logo itself is good?

We have developed a system that we think solves the problem.

Here's how it works:

You have a designer rank (new designer, silver, gold or platinum). Positive actions increase your rank score,
for example when your logo is approved or sold. Negative actions, like a declined logo, decrease your rank
score. When we review logos we take your designer rank into consideration.
New Designer
Silver
Gold
Platinum

A high rank means you are someone with a long track record of posting good logos on LogoGround. If you upload a logo that we don't like, your high rank signals to us that our personal taste may be interfering. In cases like this we will usually approve the logo, barring any other issues.

When you achieve a designer rank of silver you will find that getting logos approved on LogoGround starts to become easier. When you get to gold it is likely that we will approve every logo you upload unless there is a clear problem with the logo.

Unfortunately for new designers, everyone starts out with the rank of "New Designer". New designers' logos are examined under a microscope, figuratively speaking. Occasionally personal taste may still interfere. Push through this phase. It definitely gets easier as you work your way up.

 


Help Us Improve

Please recognize that making LogoGround a great resource requires that we exercise editorial discretion in determining the type and quality of logos that we publish and the general guidelines for logo publication. We set the bar very high and often decline good logos for not being brilliant - logos that might be perfectly OK and perfectly saleable. Do not take it personally! Deciding what to approve and what to decline is a tough job and we don't always get it right, but we work very hard at it and we do our best to be consistent.

Help us improve by sharing your ideas - not only on our logo approval guidelines, but on anything you find on LogoGround. Use our suggestion box or post your ideas in the designer forum.

 

Can we improve? Tell us how.
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