Logo Design Basics for Startups

By on Jul 12, 2016 in Business
Logo Design Basics for Startups

When someone thinks of your brand they’re seeing the lifestyle you represent. Often the success of a brand is not due to the products it sells, but the emotional connection the audience creates with the brand message. Whether your brand represents power, luxury, or playfulness your logo can act as a great marketing tool to promote that message and evoke emotional engagement with your target audience.

When your brand’s logo is processed by the viewer, a million subconscious thoughts rush through his or her mind, and a well-designed logo has the ability to make these thoughts connect positively or negatively. One of the best ways to send a specific message to your customers is through a strategically designed logo that communicates your brand's message in an instant.

Why does my startup need a logo?

It’s worth arguing that the smaller the business, the more vital great logo design is. Well-established brands already have advocates who connect with the brand emotionally and don’t need to communicate their message as loud as smaller companies who are fighting for their share of the market.

A logo inspires trust in your brand. Without the initial enticement of a great logo, will customers choose to engage with your product/service? It’s unlikely you would choose to trust a brand or product that has no clear representation, so don’t fall into this trap when starting your business. It’s very easy to push these things to the back burner, but trust is a vital part of growing the success of your business and a logo-less company is, essentially, a faceless company. A visual identity creates a familiarity with your brand that you can’t afford to miss.

What color should my logo be?

Human minds respond amazingly well to visual stimulation, with color affecting our decisions both consciously and subconsciously. We instinctively attach meaning to colors, so ensure you’re using a color that is in line with your target demographics.

  • Red is passionate, high energy, and demands a call to action. Therefore, choosing red for your logo can make it feel more dynamic. A staggering 38% of Forbes' Most Valuable Brands of 2015 used red in their logo design.
  • Blue evokes trust, authority and stability. It’s often seen in financial and technology sectors.
  • Yellow acts as a stimulant and is highly recognizable. This could be why McDonald’s logo is placed high in the skyline.
  • Green connotes compassion, nature, and wildlife. The user feels safe when engaging with this color, and it can be seen in organic brands like Whole Foods Market.

If you're interested in learning 50 other scientific facts about color, don't forget to check out this article we recently shared about the topic.

What should my logo look like?

Your logo must be unique so it can stand out from the crowd. The aim of a logo is to distinguish your brand from competitors. Why not think outside the box? Some of the top brands in the world don't have generic industry logos: Apple does not have a computer as their logo, yet their brand is synonymous with luxury technology and not apples.

In today’s day and age it can be more difficult than ever to come up with unique designs as some version of your design may already exist. Don't let that stop you: add your own touch and trust your process.

Where can I find inspiration for my startup's logo?

Fortunately, there are many talented curators spotting great logo designs and featuring them in online galleries. These websites are free to access, and you should check them out in various stages of your own logo design process to gather inspiration from other practitioners.

Behance's Branding Served

Logo-Inspiration-Sites-BehancePin It

Dribbble's logo tag

Logo-Inspiration-Sites-DribbblePin It

Designspiration's logo collection

Logo-Inspiration-Sites-DesignspirationPin It

What font should I use?

When setting up a small business, it’s useful to include the name of your brand in the logo. Not until you’ve gained control of the market will your brand be recognisable without it. Think Nike and Mercedes.

Avoid typefaces which appear gimmicky, or those which are seen too often to be memorable. In 2010 Gap rebranded and used the Helvetica font only to be shamed publicly for lack of imagination. Six days later and $100 million USD down, they reverted to their old logo. On the other hand, world-famous brands such as Coca-Cola and Disney have become known for their unique lettering. Follow their footsteps and create something unforgettable and of course, legible!

Keep it simple

One of the best pieces of advice when creating your logo is to keep it simple. Today your brand might be a startup but in five years’ time you could be printing your logo on merchandise, receipts, or even entire buildings. A logo that can transcend paper, such as Chanel’s simple design, can be used in the digital and physical worlds and will enjoy more success than an overly complicated logo.

Logo design is a complicated task to undertake, and crafting your brand's visual identity is a nerve-wracking experience for new businesses. Consult a professional logo designer and discuss your target market, brand message, and design ideas. They will be able to use their plethora of knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process and help you avoid expensive logo fails that could misrepresent and hurt your brand’s success.

Some resources to help you get started

Starting from scratch can be challenging. Experiment your desired look and feel with these handy logo creator kits before you move forward with a more complex design:

Melissa Lang is freelance writer from Glasgow, Scotland. Melissa has a keen eye for all things design and in the past has consulted on business branding and marketing. Find her on Linkedin, Instagram, or read her articles at Repeat Logo.

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  1. One thing I would add especially for a startup, is don't let your "logo" block you from actually "starting-up."

  2. Geez am I ever frustrated! I agree with Alex's comment to not let one's logo stop one from actually starting up, but in my case it has done just that. I have spent about a year trying to come up with a logo using fonts and vectors I've found on several stock image providers and am always - always - derailed by the copyright situation. One simply cannot create a logo unless one finds an artist who can do a custom job. I have been in contact with Creative Market, iStock, Shutterstock and Adobe Fotolia. The answer is always the same: I can use the images for everything but a LOGO or branding! So, now what? Assuming I find an artist I can afford are they going to do the typography too? Probably not, and I already know that fonts are copyrighted too. So where do I go from here?

  3. @Victoria Larson : I suggest to watch John McWade's "Before and After, Logo design tips and trick" and William Lidwell's "The science of logo design", both on Lynda.com.

    They provide useful insights on how to think a logo, rather than focus on how to make one. And when you know how to think, you can practice the "make" part.



  4. My belief is that a logo creates an IDENTITY.
    Your surname can identify you with your family.
    But your first name sets you apart from your other members.
    In the same way, your first name is your personal identity....Just like a logo.
    I have an online food business, I didn't have a logo. By seeing the competition in the market, going to get one via crowdsourcing platform named Designhill.
    I hope they will give me the best as per my requirement..... :)

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