Generic logos: next please…

You see them everywhere and everybody knows them. We also see them often in logo contests. Are they wrong or illegal? no, normally not, but they are surely not unique. Are they used often? Absolutely!

It is important that that they represent a company. It should say something about the mentality of this business. So why would you choose a logo, that looks like every other logo in your industry? A logo must distinguish you from the competition, right?

If you believe that, than pay attention now!

First I will explain, what generic logos are exactly.

A generic logo is an element, picture or symbol, that is not unique. It is used so much, that it looks like any other logo and you immediately think that you have already seen it somewhere. Some are even used that often, that you know exactly what the original is. Or isn’t even that the original?

I want to make clear with this, that some generic logos are recognized more easy than others. If your eyes are not trained for this, it sometimes is very difficult to recognize this kind of logos. We call it the grey zone of logo designs.

Here are some examples I see particularly frequently, like the globe, real estate and of course the V man.

The globe

It’s often used by companies, because they want to tell us that they are a global organisation. Unfortunately it is used extremely often, that it lost its meaning. Now those companies don’t say “global organisation”, but “one of thousands”.

Real estate

What do you think about, when we talk about real estate? Right. Buildings, flats. Well,

everything related with a roof.  That might sound very logical, but why would you use that as a symbol in a logo? You want to radiate, that you are different from the other companies? Than it’s about time to create a unique logo and not one we have seen a thousand times before.

V man

The V man is as known as the apple of Apple Inc. It is used by many companies, because they want to tell us, that the people are their focus of attention. The customer is king, right? Then let him feel that one is in good hands. Be unique, with a unique logo.

There are so many examples for a generic logo, that it is almost impossible to show them all. We do our best to give you enough examples of “used way too much” generic logos, to give you a good insight about this topic.

You will find them in a lot of industries. Now we show you some for the financial branch, tooth/doctors – drug industry, computer/internet branch, sales, automotive, environment and word- and letter combinations.

Diagram (financial)

Financial branches like to work with numbers. Unfortunately not many people know what those numbers mean, that’s why they make it easier for us and use diagrams instead of numbers. Of course they tend to use them for their logos as well. Diagrams don’t say anything about a company. It is no sign, that they are doing well. Because of that you should never use it for your logo. Show how successful you are without a diagram, we have seen hundreds of times.

Dental office, doctors and drug industry

What do you see when you think about dental offices? Teeth! And when I say hospitals and drug industry? Crosses and the international symbol for doctors. Here a few examples:

These symbols were very helpful in the past. Especially people who could not read nor write, were able to find a doctor or hospital.

Nowadays that is not longer necessary. Also these symbols are no different from others. Are all doctors and dental offices the same? I don’t think so. For this branch are enough possibilities to create a unique logo.

Computers, internet (communication and technology)

Have you ever seen a dotcom that uses a cloud, a globe or a magnifier in their logo? Me too… What does that mean? This logo is definitely not unique. These companies like to radiate, that they are within reach and digital, always and everywhere. Unfortunately these symbols are past history now and the interest in them is long gone. Just type in “internet” in google and you will be surprised.

Less is more

Keep it simple. Think about, what your company distinguishes from the competition. Maybe you have a coffee shop with a coffee roastery? You know exactly that no one has a better coffee than you do. Because only your shop has this large variety beans from all over the world. Put the most important (not the obvious) in the center of attention and go on from there. Let your logo speak for itself.

Let’s see some more generic logos and please do not use this as an idea for your logo.

Sales (shopping!!)

If you walk through the city centre or shop on the internet, you will encounter some symbols, surely more than once. These are also often used in logo designs, even if we see them everywhere. There are so many options for unique and beautiful logos in this sector. Let it inspire you. If you own a shop, you know about creativity. Be different from the rest.


You want to stand out? Than don’t do the same as the others. The most car repair shops and other companies, working with cars, use a logo made up of the company name in combination with an abstract illustration of a car.


Companies working in the environment sector, logically put nature, in combination with human, in the centre of attention. Especially green, trees, leaves, water and of course the globe, are seen often. Think about a combination of these factors in one logo. Maybe you even put in a V man as well. And voila, here we have the stereotype. In fact I haven’t seen many environment logos without one of these symbols. You might ask yourself “haven’t I seen this before?”

Letter and word combinations

Letter- and word combinations are seen everywhere. They don’t say anything about the company. You can blend the name of the company in a logo, but please don’t make a boring KM of it. What does KM that even mean? It will definitely not highlight your logo. Here some examples:

Now a last, but handy hint for you!

If you didn’t see your branch in this article, type in “your branch + logo”, in Google or Shutterstock. Make some notes about what you see often and try to avoid it. This is how to make sure, you choose the right logo for your company.

You know exactly what makes your company special. Just like the coffee shop with the coffee roastery and the marvellous beans, coming from Mexico, Peru and South Africa. Try to translate words into images. If you don’t know exactly how to do that, leave it to a someone who does. There are a lot of professionals on our website, who do just this, every day. Let yourself be surprised about the amazing, unique ideas, you will discover at a logo contest.