Generic design: What is it and what does it look like?

Chances are, you’ve come across generic design at least once in your lifetime. It is unavoidable and even the biggest companies are guilty of it.

What is generic design?

Generic designs feature elements that have been used so many times, they no longer feel like original creations.
At 99designs, we highly discourage designers from submitting generic design. 
Here's why:
  • Generic design can't be trademarked because it is too common.
  • The purpose of having a logo is for brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Having a generic logo defeats this purpose, and may signal that a brand is unoriginal. 

So, what is considered generic design?

Here are the most common suspects:

V-people / abstract humanoids

Rings of abstract humanoids

Bar graphs

3D triangular links

3D spheres and cubes

Wordmarks and lettermarks

Head to this page for more information on what fonts are allowed.

Accounting, Finance, Business Consulting

Real Estate

Computer, Internet, Technology, Communications


Medical, Health, Pharmaceutical




Vintage badges

Field-style logo designs

Book cover, t-shirt and print designs

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list — new and “trendy” styles become overused and then become generic.


Now that you are familiar with generic designs, learn how you can avoid them →