What Makes a Good Startup Logo?

December 19, 2016

7:00 pm

A logo may not be the most important aspect of a startup’s branding, but it’s definitely up there. Your logo is going to guide the visual element of your branding efforts for the foreseeable future. It should be memorable, aesthetically pleasing, and representative of your brand’s personality.

Unfortunately, just about anybody can purchase the software required to generate logos in less than an hour. In fact, graphic design probably lags only slightly behind photography as things that anybody can do, but almost nobody can do well. As a result, there are a lot of great startups out there with really bad logos. If you don’t want to be among them, read on to find out what makes a great startup logo.

Aesthetically Pleasing And Brand Appropriate

Any successful logo is going to be aesthetically pleasing and be created following the rules of design. From color choice to symmetry, the visual aspect of a logo is always important in creating a brand for your budding startup.

However, in order to really make an impact, it must also be brand appropriate as well. You need your startup logo to accurately represent what you’re all about. Take the Dropbox logo as an example – it’s crisp and gives a hint about the services they offer.

Name Portrayal 

Most logos contain some kind of image or symbol along with the company name. In some cases, both are combined into one element. This is often called a logotype. Coca Cola is probably the most well-known example of this style. Whether you opt for a logotype or not, the look of your company name as part of your logo is very important. The last thing you want is a startup logo that is attractive, but obscures your company name. 

You may want to launch a logo design contest and have a few different options proposed for you before settling for the final version. Those could be organized through Designhill. Or head to Dribble – a huge designer’s hub where you can review existing portfolios and source a few candidates, whose style you like.

Logos Evolve Over Time

It is important to keep in mind that the logo you release today will probably not be the same logo you are using a few years from now. As a matter of fact, try doing a Google search on the history of Google’s logo. You’ll see how things have evolved over the years. In 2016, the company came out with yet another version of it’s logo. This doesn’t count all of the Google doodles and seasonal logos.

The point is, don’t expect your design to be permanent. As your brand grows and develops, so will your logo.

People Love Logo Easter Eggs

Take a close look at the Amazon logo. Were you aware that the little arrow running from the A to the Z is meant to show that the company offers a wide variety of products? The Baskin Robbins logo hides the number 31, for their 31 flavors, and the Pittsburgh Zoo logo incorporates both an ape and a lioness.

These may seem a bit silly, but the truth is that people enjoy finding these little easter eggs, and also tend to pass them along to others. For a startup logo, this could result in a bit of engagement which is always a good thing.

Colors Can Evoke Emotions

There are certain emotions that can be evoked when specific colors are used. For example, green is often used to represent growth, nature, serenity, or money. Blue is often associated with professionalism. This is why it should come as no surprise that many corporations use the color blue in their logos. Many graphic designers employ the psychology of color when creating logos.

The first step to getting a great logo for your startup is to hire a reputable graphic designer. Once you have done that, the details above should help you to recognize when your logo is truly ready for public consumption.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien