Tip #1 – Too much happening
A logo needs to be as simple as you can imagine it to be. Too many elements may look good while you’re designing it but will make your logo SO hard to see when it is printed or displayed small. Logos are mostly used as small elements, so the more happens there, the less readable and harder to remember it is. You don’t need leaves and branches, and 10 color gradients, and fine contour lines. The thing I see the most is illustrations turned into a logo. They are really pretty, but they are hard to actually see as they can turn into kind of a blurry dot while displayed on, let’s say, an iPhone. When I was learning graphic design, my teacher would CONSISTENTLY ask us to do “simpler” “simpler’ “simpler” logo designs. Eventually, he admitted some of the more complex ones were better but he wanted to train us. If you take famous logos, like Nike or McDonalds etc., they all have very simple designs, too.
One more thing to remember here is to accommodate for different layouts and sizes (vertical, horizontal square). Sometimes your logo will be in a horizontal layout (like the navigation bar on your website), and sometimes you may want it in square or vertical layout. My logo is not a good example here – if I put it on a square it would just look awkward. So I’m not saying I’m perfect, or that you need to have all this stuff figured out, but it’s something to remember. Think of how you would like to use your logo an adjust to that. Ideally, you would want to have two versions of your logo: one horizontal, and one that could be put on a square or in a circle.
Tip #2 – Bad font choices
Your logo doesn’t have to have to have a font, it might just be a symbol, but I would say that in 80% of cases there are fonts involved. The first rule here would be no more than 2 fonts. If you’re using more than 2 fonts, it’s too much happening already and it won’t look good while small. If you’re using 2 fonts, also make sure they are not competing with each other. This means don’t use 2 script or strong or any 2 similar fonts in general. Instead, you would want to have one font with character (e.g. a script, display or strong font), and compliment it with a more discreet one, so that they work together nicely.
While choosing fonts for your logo, please stay away from “free/standard fonts” as everyone uses them. They are GREAT for your body/paragraph fonts but they make logos look amateurish. Examples of those fonts are Helvetica, Papyrus, Comic Sans, Times New Roman. I know it’s important to save money when you are starting your business, but it’s often absolutely worth investing $15 in a creative, professionally designed font.