Nobody wants to be labeled ‘generic’. Of course you’re not a generic designer! You’re a genius in disguise. Ideas circulate and get regurgitated and there is nothing you can do about it. What you can do, is become aware of some of the most generic/cliche designs and do your best to not fall under this category. Branding is about originality, after all.

What’s wrong with generic designs?

Generic design is overrated.

Generic design is boring.

Generic design is old news.

Generic design makes me and a thousand others yawn.

Let me rephrase: if you’re generic, you’re not innovative! Nobody wants to be known for their outstanding ‘generic’ designs. Clients are not looking for BORING, clients are looking for NEW, FRESH and INNOVATIVE.

13 Most Common Logo Design Cliches

1. The Lightbulb

It’s ironic isn’t it? How many times have we seen innovation and new ideas represented by a lightbulb?

The light bulb cliche design

Generic and cliche designs - lightbulb logo

2. The Globe

Generic and cliche design - the globe logo

Generic and cliche design - globe logos

3. The Arch

Generic and cliche desgn - the swoosh logo

Generic and cliche design - the arch logo

4. The Handshake

Generic and cliche designs - handshake logo

5. The Puzzle

Generic and cliche design - puzzle logo

6. Pixels

Generic and cliche design - pixel logo

7. The Tree


8. Rooftops

generic_logotypes7 (1)

9. The Circle Vector


10. The Gear

Generic and cliche design - gear logos

11. The Styalized Car


12. Acronyms in Boxes


13. Financial Graphics


Have you been using these elements in your designs? Guilty! As charged.

Hopefully you’re starting to see the pattern here. If a symbol or image can be applied to almost any company – it’s generic.  What do these cliches communicate? Nothing. Aside from the fact that as a designer, you couldn’t come up with something to relate to your client or their business.

Here’s what you can do to avoid falling in the pit. The following inforgraphic asks basic questions that could potentially lead to a generic/cliche design or possibly a creative one!


If you’re experiencing an artist’s block, sometimes these things happen. “Oh, I can use that last design and modify it a bit and it’ll work”. No. Push the limits of your creativity. Take a break, get some fresh air. Regroup and come back. 

Approach every design project, no matter how high-profile or humble it is, like it’s your opportunity to win the Graphic Designer’s award of the year. Although it doesn’t exist (I invented it), it goes to show that every project is an opportunity to grow and improve and push yourself to the limits. Let’s gather our forces, reboot and try to avoid these sad, unoriginal and outdated creative cliches. 

Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. We could all use a little inspiration and motivation 🙂