Logo and Identity Design Tips – Study the Competition

A series of brief posts that focus on freelancing and logo and brand identity design topics. This post explains the importance of studying your clients competition for any new logo and brand identity project that you take on.

Study the Competition

On the face of it, it seems a logical and common sense thing to do. However, some designers fall down at this hurdle. They head off in a blaze of glory, designing a neat logo without having taken time to assess the existing identities of their clients competitors.

Failing to do so can result in a number of problems, both practical and embarrassing.

If you don’t know how the competition brand themselves, how can you position your own clients identity in a unique space. Just hoping your logo design will be liked and looks super cool is not always enough.

Does your client need to keep within a specified industry style or is there room for you to create a unique and brave new style of identity. You can only do this if you know what you are up against.

Is there a standard style of typography used for example? Colours? Shapes? Placement?

Does your client advertise alongside this competition, be it online or traditional printed literature? You need to make sure you have taken steps to ensure your clients logo/identity reaches the right audience and does not get swamped by the competition.

It’s in the brief

Logo Design Quote

Ensure you ask these questions prior to starting.

I have a section in my online quote form for clients to include URLs or information on their competition, be it direct or in direct.

This way I can check out the competition prior to giving a quote and prior to starting the design process.


I Google similar names, initials to see what comes up elsewhere. For example, I am working on a new logo project where the initials are DC, but it’s for a consultancy business. DC Comics for example, DC shoes and other similar logos were shown when I did a Google search for DC logo. I was looking for existing logo designs where the initials were used for the logomark.

Fully armed

I now have a good idea of how the competition looks and feels. I can now create a visual strategy to ensure we don’t clash, remain different and avoid the risk of creating a damp and limp logo design.

About this Post

Written by: Graham Smith: The Logo Smith

Date of Publication

First Published on: 2009/08/25 and Updated on: 2014/05/09

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Filed In Categories: Brand Identity, Typography

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