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How to Create Your Startup Logo: Design Tips and Practical Tools

Designing a startup logo
Image credit: Canva

Starting a day with breakfast and coffee is a routine for most people. Some prefer to do it at home, while others are patrons of particular establishments often without thinking why. Maybe it is their product quality, maybe the service they offer. Whatever the case, a relationship is built with the brand in question, and by extension with their logo. 

“At the very basic level, logos are symbols created of text or images (most often both) that help us identify brands.  It helps consumers understand what you do, who you are and what you value. That’s plenty of responsibility for a tiny picture! And yet designing a powerful logo is not an easy assignment. Every business has a diverse set of policies and that’s precisely why these different options exist. It comes down to defining what’s important for you as an owner of your business,” says Sofia-based designer Ana-Maria Ilieva.

Crafting a logo can turn into a daunting task for an early stage company. Its importance lies in the fact that it is the first contact a person has with the product or service a company offers. Corporate logos are everywhere – from pop culture to online advertisements, which engrain them in people’s minds. It is no wonder why the design field is so competitive nowadays, which sometimes makes the price of a logo jump to millions of dollars. Just ask Accenture and Posten Norge – the former setting aside $100M for the task. That said, how can resource-scarce entrepreneurs design an effective startup logo?

Below, The Recursive, together with the help of Ana-Maria Ilieva, offers a starting point for teams that are working on the branding of their early stage companies and are looking for guidelines, tools, and inspiration on how to create the best startup logo.


Key things to keep in mind when creating a startup logo

a startup logo creation checklist

The audience always matters

Even before the design team begins brainstorming, you need to keep in mind who you want to see come in contact with the logo. B2B solutions may want to focus on building trust, in order to maximize their rapport with corporate partners. On the other hand, businesses catered toward younger people should strive for more flamboyant, attention-grabbing designs. 

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“We should think about what we want to emphasize with our logo, in other words, the key information of our business. We need to make it simple, memorable, clear and attention-grabbing to hit the customer target,” Ana-Maria shares. 


The logo is a reflection of the brand

Just like spoken language, visual language utilizes signs and tone to deliver its message. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of this when going about design with their teams. In other words, the look of your startup logo is entirely dependent on the brand you are trying to build. 

“Perhaps the most essential function of a logo is giving your business a unique mark, a different one from your competitors. This requires detailed research, making it our first job in the process of designing a logo,” Ana-Maria advises.

For instance, if you are in the e-commerce vertical and you are selling products with a sustainability component, you may want to incorporate an element of nature into your design. Or maybe you are offering an urban mobility solution, where the important element to be reflected is movement.


Picking the right colors

startup logo colors

Colors give life to any business. Different colors are psychologically proven to create different associations in the human mind. No matter your niche, picking the right scheme for your startup logo may just strike the right note with your target audience, giving you an advantage over your competitors. 

Contrast is also an essential part of the process. Your logo may be pleasant to look at, but if some elements remain unclear, both you and your audience end up losing out. 


Don’t overdo it

Many people lacking experience fall into the trap of overcomplicating their designs. This can lead to potential issues – from your logo failing to grab attention, to feasibility problems. No wonder why numerous corporations have “debranded” their designs, following a trend toward minimalism. Ana-Maria also advocates for simplicity, as it helps both designers and the target audience familiarize themselves with your company’s product and values.

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Simplicity gets your point across more efficiently and creates a more memorable experience in the mind. If it does not look great on a business card or a mobile app, you probably need to remove or alter some elements. 


Tools and platforms entrepreneurs can use to design a startup logo

The Internet offers a great array of both free and paid tools to explore your creativity. From the more popular Canva and Squarespace, to the user-friendly Ucraft and VistaCreate, and the AI-powered Tailor Brands, it is safe to say that you will find what you are looking for when it comes to your vision for your brand.

Many times, however, you will probably need to hire a professional designer  for the job. Fiverr, one of the most used freelancing platforms worldwide, offers an array of services, one of which is design. 

Before you start browsing for people who can spring your idea into life, however, keep in mind what designers need in turn to get the task right.

“As a graphic designer, I appreciate it when the customer can describe the brand’s personality, values, and what makes it unique. One of the best practices is when the client can define his brand in three words, which makes it much easier to make design choices that complement and complete the picture. 

The first rule of working with a designer is to communicate clearly. Devise a precise creative brief, and provide as much information as you can. 

Then comes brainstorming – search inspiration, putting yourself in the shoes of your target demographic, and choosing a design style – typographic or imagery, color palette, fonts, and so on,” Ana-Maria concludes.


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