If you’re running a start-up, it goes without saying that you probably have a lot to think about. How do you get investment? What if no one likes your idea? How many people should you hire? Logos can end up being just another worry on the ever-growing pile. That’s why we’ve compiled this collection of 25 startup logo design tips to lend you a hand.
When should I get a logo?
Although logos are important, these experts reckon they shouldn’t be your first priority. That’s because if you haven’t even got your MVP together yet it’s really likely that your company is going to change direction at least once or twice:
1.'The difficulty, at least early on, is that you don’t exactly know your brand.' Click To Tweet
“The difficulty, at least early on, is that you don’t exactly know your brand or brand voice yet, largely due to the fact you haven’t had enough time and interaction to develop it, so there’s absolutely no reason you should be paying someone thousands to attempt to encapsulate what you think might ultimately be your logo.”
– ‘Should a startup ever splurge on logo design?’ – Adam Callinan, Entrepreneur and Venture Investor.
2.If you're starting an online business I don't think a logo should be your 1st priority Click To Tweet
“If you are starting an online business, I don’t think a logo should be your first priority. The logo serves to create the colour palette, determines typefaces and aesthetic direction of a site – so if you’re going to spend money creating your brand identity, do it right and hire a real designer who understands colour, typefaces and space – and who can authenticate that their work is original.”
–‘Why you don’t always need a logo’ – Michelle Martello, Founder at Minima Designs
Who should I hire for my startup logo design?
When the next fundraising round feels like an aeon away, it can be tempting to cut costs wherever possible. But we always recommend investing in a quality startup logo design that will last. And these experts agree.
3.'Working with a skilled graphic designer is critical. They understand what a good logo is.' Click To Tweet
“Working with a skilled graphic designer is really critical. They understand what a good logo is and how it needs to scale and function across different media and marketing channels, like on your website, within an app or on a storefront sign, all key things that shouldn’t be left to chance or guessed at on the fly.” –
– Alina Wheeler, author of Designing Brand Identity.
“When you’re in the market to have a new logo developed, there’s always the temptation to take some short cuts. Usually to save time, money or a combination of both. Trouble is, most ‘cookie cutter’ solutions will turn out to be neither inexpensive or fast, and may cause a ton of headaches down the road – especially when your fledgling company starts to become more high-profile.”
– ‘Logo Design Tips’ – Steve Douglas, Creative Director at the Logo Factory'Most ‘cookie cutter’ solutions will turn out to be neither inexpensive or fast.' Click To Tweet
“Look… in the early going perception is reality for a startup. So is it worth investing a little dough to encourage the perception that you’re professionals; that this is a serious and professional undertaking; that you care about design and brand response? I guess there are a few businesses where it isn’t. But for the vast majority I’d say it absolutely is, that it’s worth investing in a professional identity. If you’re among this vast majority, you want to work toward something smart, not just something pretty.”'In the early going perception is reality for a startup.' Click To Tweet
“What I mean by that is you want to start by being thoughtful about your brand meaning the emotional response you want your product to elicit as well as any practical ideas or metaphors that will help people understand what you do. Armed with that you should sit down with a reasonably-priced freelance designer to brainstorm some treatments, and keep at it until you hit on something you and others seem to like.”
– ‘Startup Branding: A practical guide for entrepreneurs’ – Michael Troiano, Chief Marketing Officer of Actifio
What should a startup logo do?
So when it comes to getting your logo designed (hopefully by a quality professional), what should your aims be?
6. Your logo should work where you need it'Failing to consider the future use of your logo can result in a lot of difficulties later.' Click To Tweet
“Failing to consider the future use of your logo can result in a lot of difficulties down the road. If your logo could eventually be placed on the side of delivery trucks, on large billboards, or on small business cards, it’s key that you consider how the design will appear on all of these platforms and pieces of collateral. Something that looks good on a business card might not render well when placed on a large billboard, so always think about how your logo will render on a variety of platforms before selecting a final design.”
– ‘5 Tips For Creating An Effective Logo Design For Your Brand’ – Gabriel Shaoolian, CEO and Founder at Blue Fountain Media Web
7. Your logo should be recognisable'Logos are used to identify.' Click To Tweet
“To understand what a logo is, we first must understand what the main purpose of logos is. The design process must aim to make the logo immediately recognizable, inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of a company’s commercial brand or economic entity, and its shapes, colors, fonts, and images usually are strikingly different from other logos in the same market niche. Logos are used to identify.”
– ‘Vital Tips for Effective Logo Design’ – Jacob Cass, Founder and Graphic Designer at Just Creative
8. It should be memorable
“If you take a moment to think about some of your favourite brands (whatever they may be), chances are that you’ll instantly be able to picture the logo in great detail. In fact, if someone asked you to draw that logo from memory, you’d probably be able to draw a relatively accurate version of the logo within just a few seconds”.'Think about some of your favourite brands, you'll instantly be able to picture the logo.' Click To Tweet
– ‘The Ultimate Guide to Logo Design’ – Shaun Pagin, Fastprint.
9. It should be different'See what’s being done in your industry and do something else.' Click To Tweet
“Do you remember the drive in to work today? The idea that people easily forget sameness is punctuated by this – we do remember things that are different and which stand out. Most important here is association. Try and be different from your competition. See what’s being done in your industry and do something else.”
– 8 Important Things to Remember When Making a Logo – Agenda Marketing
But what about design?
Okay, now we’ve got the basics covered, let’s talk specifics. How do you make sure your startup logo design looks fantastic? Here are some top tips and tricks.
10.Some of my favourite logos in the world utilise a visual double entendre. Click To Tweet
“Some of my favourite logos in the world utilise a technique that I like to call a visual double entendre, which is an overly fancy way to say that it has two pictures wrapped into one through clever interpretation of a concept or idea.”
’10 Tips for Designing Logos that Don’t Suck’ – Joshua Johnson, Design Shack.
11.A logo is an emblem not a manifesto.' Click To Tweet
“There are a million ways I can tell you this, but, again, let’s keep it simple: Be simple! Point is, that a logo is not exactly a testing ground for your illustration and typography skills. It is more a test of your design insight and presentation sense…A complicated logo is not only difficult to identify, but also repeatedly fails in engaging the audience. A logo is an emblem, not a manifesto. Thus, it needs to be kept simple.”
– 10 Tips for Designing the Perfect Logo – Editorial Team, 1st Web Designer
12.The colours used in a design can set a mood or drive home a point' Click To Tweet
“Color plays a big part in graphic design. The colors used in a design can set a mood or drive home a point. Color can demonstrate strength or compassion, weakness or fear. It is important to consider the message you want to portray when selecting the base colors in your own logo design. Choose wisely and half your marketing job is done. Make a poor choice and you will regret the mistake. You can always change it later but it helps to get it right first time as this will save you money in the long run.”
– ‘The Science Behind Colours’ – The Logo Company
13.A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does' Click To Tweet
“1. A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does. Restaurant logos don’t need to show food, dentist logos don’t need to show teeth, furniture store logos don’t need to show furniture. Just because it’s relevant, doesn’t mean you can’t do better. The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an aeroplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer.”
‘Ten logo design tips from the field’ – David Airey, Logo Design Love
14.Trends come and go and ultimately turn into cliches Click To Tweet
“Trends (whether swooshes, glows or bevels) come and go and ultimately turn into cliches. A well-designed logo should be timeless, and this can be achieved by ignoring the latest design tricks and gimmicks. The biggest cliche in logo design is the dreaded “corporate swoosh,” which is the ultimate way to play it safe. As a logo designer, your job is to create a unique identity for your client, so completely ignoring logo design trends is best.” https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/10-common-mistakes-in-logo-design/
– ’10 Common Mistakes in Logo Design’ – Gareth Hardy, Down with Design
15.The Nike swoosh has no inherent meaning outside of what’s been created over the years Click To Tweet
“There are basically three kinds of logos. Font-based logos primarily consist of a type treatment. The logos of IBM, Microsoft and Sony, for instance, use type treatments with a twist that makes them distinctive. Then there are logos that literally illustrate what a company does, such as when a house-painting company uses an illustration of a brush in its logo. And finally, there are abstract graphic symbols – such as Nike’s swoosh – that became linked to a company’s brand…But building that mental bridge takes time and money. The Nike swoosh has no inherent meaning outside of what’s been created over the years through savvy marketing tactics.”
– ‘How to Create a Logo’ – David Cotriss, Kim T. Gordon and Steve Nubie, Entrepreneur.com
16.Try to match the colour to the overall tone and feel of the brand Click To Tweet
“Knowing how colours evoke feelings and moods is also important. For example, red can evoke feelings of aggression, love, passion, and strength. Keep this in mind as you try out different colour combinations, and try to match the colour to the overall tone and feel of the brand. Playing around with individual colours on their own is another good idea. Some brands are recognisable solely by their distinct colour.”
– 12 Essential Rules to Follow When Designing a Logo – Web Designer Depot
“Your logo needs to have a transparent version, which allows it to be placed on any colour document or even merchandise without anything behind it. You also need one that will be on a black background, and one on white. This will make sure that no matter what, you have a version of your logo that will be useful in most circumstances already on hand.”
– A Checklist of Things to Ask For When Getting a Logo or Flyer Designed – Luvvie Ajayi, Author at Awesomely Techie
18.The right font is the difference between saying something with sincerity or sarcasm. Click To Tweet
“Often it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Choosing the right font is the difference between saying something with sincerity or sarcasm, between sounding knowledgeable and unsure.”
– ‘How to Choose the Right Font for Your Logo’ – Jack Reid, Oomph
19.The most powerful brands in the world usually stick to a palette of less than 3 colours Click To Tweet
“Your logo might appear on screens, business cards, letterheads, pull up banners, vehicles, shop signage, product packaging, newspaper adverts just to name a few. Logos that have gradient colour, lots of fine detail, a lot of different colours or photographic content are much more likely to look quite different in these different situations as many of them use completely different printing technology and it makes it difficult to match the colours exactly. This is why the most powerful brands in the world usually stick to a simple palette of less than 3 main colours.”
– ‘The importance of a logo for your business. Why do you need one?’ – Jeremy Johnson, Rocketspark
20.Your brand has something valid and original to offer the world. Click To Tweet
“While it’s extraordinarily difficult to define memorable design, it’s certain to have a few factors. It’s likely to be slightly surprising, without jarring the viewer. It’s addicting and appealing to look at. Ultimately, it’s going to be both original and familiar enough that it leaves the viewer wishing it was their idea. Your brand has something valid and original to offer the world.If your logo design looks like every other small businesses’ branding, you’re not communicating your unique value proposition.”
– ‘How to Spot a Cheap Logo Design’ – Inkbot Design
21.By leaving colour out of the picture, you’ll focus entirely on the structure + white… Click To Tweet
“Speaking of bare essentials, quite a few designers recommend designing your logo in black and white first, bringing in color towards the end of the process. Traditionally, the need for this stemmed back to the limitations of print. A design had to function in black and white prints, low-fidelity faxes, business cards, etc. Nowadays, print is significantly less important, but the black and white rule is still worth following. By leaving color out of the picture, you’ll focus entirely on the structure and white space of your design. Colors can distract from these elements early in the design process.”
– ‘7 things to think about before creating a logo for your startup’ – Harrison Weber, Features Editor at the Next Web
22.Focus on one word that you would like customers to associate with your business. Click To Tweet
“How do you want your customers to feel when they think of your business? There may be thousands of words you could use to describe the personality of your business, but if you try to convey all of these at once through your logo, your brand will be weak and forgettable. Instead, try to focus on one word that you would like customers to associate with your business, and focus on representing that in your logo, either stylistically or graphically. For example, if your business is friendly and fun, you may wish to use a clean and simple (sans-serif) font and bright colours – whereas if your business is reliable, professional and no-nonsense then you may opt for a more formal typeface with a mature colour, such as navy blue or maroon.”
– ‘How to create a logo that properly represents your business’ – Startups Team, startups.co.uk
23.Adopt the mindset of a teenage boy. Click To Tweet
“Don’t limit input to employees. Get feedback from customers and others too. As we discussed in our rebranding how-to, it also wouldn’t hurt to adopt the mindset of a teenage boy. That is, make sure your logo is foolproof, with no room to be mistaken for something lewd. The last thing you want is a slew of juvenile commentary.” https://webdam.com/blog/9-things-to-consider-before-redesigning-a-logo.”
‘9 Things to Consider Before Redesigning Your Logo’ – Brad Cook, Writer and Editor at Webdam
24.Subtraction is a great technique for removing redundancy in any creative endeavor. Click To Tweet
“Subtraction is a great technique for removing redundancy in any creative endeavour. It means continually asking yourself questions that begin with, “Does this logo need…”, “Does this make sense?”, “Does this match the brief” and “Is this self-indulgent?”
– ‘5 Brilliant Steps to a Killer Logo’ – Dale Partridge, Founder at StartupCamp
25.Your logo should reflect your company's mission and values. Click To Tweet
“Imagine you are being quoted on CNN on why you updated your company’s logo. Do you want to talk about old logos and new colours and better positioning? No, you want to talk about what your new logo is really about: listening to the marketplace, changing for the future, a better reflection of your company’s values. That’s what your new logo should really be about. Your logo should reflect your company’s mission and values, so talk about that when you are asked about your logo. Let the designers talk about color, typeface and corporate identity. You want to talk about substance that resonates with your clients and describes where you want to be as a company.”
– ‘A Checklist When Changing Your Company’s Logo’ – David Langton, designer, blogger and author.
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