A logo is an important part of your business identity. It should be easy to see, read, and understand. Too many logos out there are so complex or disorganized that they you can't see them when they're small. Or, even worse, they create an unprofessional impression by being too cute, colorful, or trite.
The best strategy for a logo is for it to communicate the feeling you want visually, and the idea behind your business. This often can be done as a separate graphic from your company name which gives you the flexibility you'll need when using your logo for various things like letterhead, web ads, embroidery, etc.
The most common mistake we see with unprofessional logos, is that they try to integrate some graphic element as a substitution for one of the letters in the company name. This makes two mistakes: It makes the company name difficult to read, and it makes it hard to use your logo small, such as on the letterhead of your stationary. Another common mistake is including the company name entirely within a graphic shape. Unless your company name is just a few letters, squeezing it into a box or circle, can make it really hard to read when it is small. Some companies with such logos will have to resort to presenting the company name next to this logo in order to read it on their letterhead, and then end up with the company name presented twice.
Of course, another great way to design a logo is just stylize the typeface of the company name itself, such as Microsoft, or our logo above James Web Design. When this is properly done, the company name works both as the name of your business, and as a unique graphic element that is recognizable as your company identity.