Some logo design elements have been used so many times that they can no longer be claimed as original creations, and thus will probably not be eligible for trademark registration. These clichéd, outdated-looking symbols are labelled "generic".
We discourage this type of work on 99designs by awarding Platinum status to designers who do the opposite: create distinctive, uniquely-tailored designs. We also reserve the right to terminate the accounts of designers whose work does not meet our quality standards.
While truly great design is measured by originality of concept, keep in mind it is also possible to render a common concept in a unique way and thus avoid the generic design outcome.
Here, we’ve created a guide to help both designers and customers recognize some of the most common generic logo elements. If you're looking to differentiate a brand from its competitors, steer clear of these.
Common images and concepts
Rings of abstract humanoids
3D triangular links
3D spheres and cubes
Initials inside geometric shapes
Common images and concepts by industry
Accounting, Finance, Business Consulting
Computer, Internet, Technology, Communications
Medical, Health, Pharmaceutical
Generic book cover, t-shirt and print designs
Article updated March, 7 2016