There is an old saying: "Looks are only skin deep"...and in a manner of speaking, that rule applies to logos as well. An "attractive" logo, which on the surface may seem appealing, can cause its owner many headaches and excessive expenses. The wrong logo, can even diminish a company's image rather than help it.
So what makes a logo NOT work well? Here are a few characteristics that will limit it from being effective in every possible application.
1. A Brand Mark that REQUIRES Colors or Gradations to be effective: I once knew of a logo that the background was a gradation of color from purple to green. When trying to embroider it, they had to create a harsh line in the middle with solid green on one side and purple on the other. To lay the "two logos" side by side, it just did not look the same. That becomes a Corporate Identity LIABILITY!
2. Too Many Elements: The common mistake that most business owners convey to me when they describe what they want is, they want their logo to say EVERYTHING. For instance, if a company sells 20 items, the instinct is, to create, in great detail, all 20 products. That is not what a logo is to do. A logo that attempts to say it all will be disastrously complex.
3. Thin Lines/Small Elements: Where intricate and tedious detail can give a painting life and realism, it will kill a logo. Remember, an effective logo should fit on the side of a pencil
4. Fad Fonts: Each font has a personality and can create an appropriate feel to a logo. But some fonts are too dated and will date a logo that should feel timeless.
In order for a logo to be the foundation for a strong and powerful Corporate Identity, it MUST be as effective in EVERY use.