Building A Startup – What’s In A Logo?

A favorite part of the Positioning-Messaging-Branding (PMB) workshop we conduct with startup founders is the branding exercise.  For founders, this is about expressing the qualities, aspirations and values of their startup in a way that can be translated into the words, design aesthetics and qualities (like boldness, approachability, responsiveness, etc.) that will be carried through their marketing and embodied in their culture.  Defining those brand qualities can become almost a mini therapy session for founders.

But how important is your logo to your brand?  Does it really matter if the logo mark is a symbol or a letter?  Will your customers value your startup more if the logo is red instead of green?  If one of your board members thinks you need to be “corporate blue” in order to sell to Fortune 1000 customers, will you acquiesce?

It’s easy to get so caught up in design issues that you can forget that the logo is actually a small part of your brand.  Your brand is the sum of a customer’s impressions of—and interactions with—your company.  That includes visiting your website, your product’s interface and performance, your lobby’s look and feel, and an applicant’s experience when applying for a position.  Charting this full range of experiences—then creating a blueprint to implement and live by—is a part of the PMB workshop.  That examination can help reveal valuable insights to the startup team while helping us to define a consistent and coherent identity.

Which brings us back to those questions about the logo.  We think the logo is important, and therefore we recommend working with a professional designer who can translate the findings of the PMB workshop into choices.  You will want to be able to consider different logo design directions and color studies so that you have options to choose from that can be carried through every application of your logo.

If you want to go the quick-and-dirty route, there are “logo generators” out there, some of which are even free.  It’s certainly not our first recommendation, but it’s an option:

Add to that list, a couple of popular crowd-sourced logo houses like 99Designs and crowdSPRING and you’ll find that there are a lot of ways to get a logo created for your startup.  Just remember that the logo is just a small component of your brand and the start of a strategic, ongoing process that can define and enhance your business.