In Search of the Perfect Logo for Your Start-up

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If I ask you to name 3 of the best logos of all time, what would they be? You might mention Apple, BMW, FedEx, or Coca-Cola… The popularity and vision of these companies definitely make their logos famous, but there are also tons of small companies with amazing logos:

Fork & Knife Logo

by Nick Sickelton

Optimistic Beverages logo

by Helms Workshop
 

Bread & Breakfast logo

by Sigal Vilenski
 
(All three logos above are winners of the “Logo of the Month“.)

A great logo can naturally spread the word about your business, get it featured on various blogs, and enjoy positive word of mouth. It might seem like all you need is a great idea & you’re set! But unfortunately, it’s not that easy. This post will go over the best practices when creating a new logo for your start-up / business.

1. Defining Your “Logo” & Deciding What It Will Contain.

According to Wikipedia, “A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark).”

While Apple can pull it off with going just with a symbol, will your business enjoy instant recognition when you show just a symbol related to your business? Probably not. You have to include your business name in the logo.

Furthermore, if you’re just starting up, consider adding information about what you do straight on the logo. It will really help when giving out business cards! For example:

Jasmine Star Photography

From jasminestarblog.com
 

If the logo just contained a symbol + “Jasmine Star,” nobody would remember what this company does. But “photography” makes you remember — instant recognition!

Consider asking a designer to create alternative versions with your website’s address, phone number, physical address, etc.

2. Color and Orientation of Your Logo.

Will your logo look great on the web? Check. On a business card? Check. Thankfully, our computer screens and paper support full color.

Will your logo look great on promotional products? Hmm, it depends — so think ahead! For example, if you’re planning to get personalized water bottles, there’s an extra charge for every single color. Don’t make the mistake of having 6 different colors in your logo, adding gradients or even shadows. If multiple colors are absolutely necessary, make sure you have a simplified version of a logo in addition to a black-and-white one.

If you’re a freelance copywriter, wouldn’t it be great to give out promotional pens to your customers + prospects? It’s a great fit for your business! But wait, most pens have limited imprint areas and do not look the best with vertical logos. Will your logo look great on pens?

Think about other potential uses of your logo, such as:

  • website, email newsletters, email signature
  • use on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube, etc.
  • banners
  • car magnets or decals
  • brochures
  • t-shirts, caps, buttons, mugs, other swag
  • envelopes, letterheads
  • LEGO construction (I might be pushing it a little)

3. Make Sure Your Start-Up’s Name + Logo Are Unique.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to explain:

American Eagle by Payless

After all, if people can’t tell your company apart from another one, it will hurt your business.

  • Do a Google search for your future company name & see what’s out there.
  • Is the “.com” domain name available? If not, is it taken by a related company?  You potentially could direct your customers to the competitor’s site in the future!
  • Do some research of logos within your industry at BrandsOfTheWorld.com (example for “tennis”) – and stay away from common cliches (e.g., flying tennis ball) — you want to be remembered!

4. Designing Your Start-Up’s Logo.

Now when you’ve decided on details of your logo, let the fun begin — designing your logo! Depending on your budget and your own/co-founders’ skills, you have different options to design your logo:

  • You or other co-founder – unless you have designing experience and can deliver vector graphics, don’t do it – leave it to a professional!
  • Freelancer or a Friend – this might be the cheapest option when outsourcing your logo, but consider how many alternatives will be designed. Do you like their past work? Does it fit your start-up’s style? What will be delivered in the end?
  • Crowdsourcing – by far, the best VALUE when outsourcing your logo. Services like 99designs or Crowdspring will pass your brief to thousands of designers, potentially giving you a choice of dozens of different logos. The cost per logo starts in the $200-$300 range, and the more you pay, the more designers you attract.
  • Do-it-yourself with help – use a service like LogoYes.com which guides you thru the steps.

I hope that you carefully consider the future uses of your logo and choose a logo design accordingly. While your logo could add extra “wow” factor to your business (if it is truly great), most of the companies just have a simple, straight-forward logo. In a start-up, where you spend your time is important, so don’t waste days trying to find that great concept for your logo — focus on the vision and what the company stands for. Nail that part and people will fall in love with what you do and will remember your brand!

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Allison Rice

About Allison Rice

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4 Responses to In Search of the Perfect Logo for Your Start-up

  1. Thanks for this article! Advice for anyone looking to conceptualize/create a well done logo!

  2. Olya says:

    Thanks for interesting article. Here is also useful infographics about what kind of logo businesses do prefer https://www.designcontest.com/blog/logo-choice-research-2014/

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