Startups are aimed to go fast. You want to get things done as fast as possible while pivoting quickly to achieve the long-term goal. The design is pretty controversial subject in the startup world, and mostly dilemma starts with the logo design for your startup for the first time. There are opinions that you don’t need to focus on design initially, focus on the core product functionality and MVP. And opposite argument is that the design makes your product interesting to those who are passing by. If the design of your MVP is decent people will more likely to beta test and give feedback.
I have been working with many startups, I have run two of my own startups. And after years of experience launching and helping startups get started I came to know that design is not that important in the start. It still needs to be decent enough to make your product look nice at least and to make people interested in your product a bit. Definitely we should not judge the book by its cover, but believe me, the book that easily grabs attention has interesting cover. Here cover can be your startup branding, user interface or marketing materials but you have to have something visual and delightful to some extent that grabs people’s attention. Anyways today’s topic is whether you should consider designing a professional logo for your startup or you should just pick something nice to get start with?
Should there be any meaning in your startup’s logo?
The simple answer is: not always. Try to incorporate something related to your business/personality but don’t force the design to adapt. Your first or initial logo could be just text, a combination of text, abstract shapes, an illustration of any object that relates to your startup etc. The important factor is it should look decent. Use proper font combinations, color contrasts, and alignments. I.e. Apple (name suggest something related to fruits or agriculture business but you know what’s the truth), Google (made up name by playing with Googol with is 10 rest to 10, again no relation to technological or search company), exception is facebook but their logo doesn’t give clue regarding what they do if you are unaware of the site in the first place.
Think in B&W
I have had clients who ask me to use their branding palette from the initial stage of logo design. Actually designing and thinking in black and white help you focus on aesthetic of logo design itself. Once you get something that is pleasant to your eyes, you can pour colors into it. But don’t just start using crayons but what you need to start with is a pencil or a pen.
Never mix logo and logotype/name
This is the most common mistake made by amateur designers and sometimes due to client’s suggestions (though it is the job of the designer to inform the client about it). Never try to incorporate logo (emblem, letter, sign, shape, object, etc) with logotype/name. Both has their own usages, a logo is supposed to be used at less spacious places, or to market better if the business name is complex to get across people’s minds. While logotype/name is used mostly where there is enough space and it is mostly used in formal sense (i.e. business card, letterhead etc). And the study says brain can easily remember simple shapes and forms. So it is better to market your business through different means depending on which platform you are using.
Sketch out ideas yourself before hiring any professional
If you have something in your mind but don’t have necessary skills to design a professional looking logo then put some of your ideas on paper. Sketch few draft ideas mentioning your thoughts behind that. The sketches will be very handy while discussing and hiring a professional designer to design your logo, plus it would be cost effective too as you have already found what you want and the designer doesn’t have to put his creative brainstorming efforts on work to get ideas that you may like. But if you are not sure what is the best for your business, I’d advise to hire a professional designer and trust the process.
Quickly select one and move on with it, you can always get it perfect later.
This post was about how to quickly get the brand identity designed. Because I have seen people (including myself) designing a perfect logo and spending time up to a month just to see the business idea getting flopped a few weeks later. So being a designer myself, I’d advise not to spend much time on perfecting the logo. Spend a little and efficient time to come up with strong, simple and straightforward ideas to start with. Once you get your business on track and above break-even point you can reconsider designing your entire branding (and relaunching a makeover will be a good marketing campaign too).
- Dribbble.com & behance.net for the best design inspiration
- Flickr, Google images & Tumblr for logo design research