How to create a logo for your startup

Logos are an important part of your startup’s brand. They’re a way to recognise your business (just think of the power of the most iconic logos, such as Coca Cola), they represent what you stand for, and if done well they stick in the mind of your customers and potential customers.

When creating a logo you can either do it yourself, or you can work with an individual designer or agency to create it for you.

Going it alone vs using a designer

With budgets tight in the early days and entrepreneurs eager to get going, more and more entrepreneurs are choosing to create their own logos – even if it’s just one to get them off the ground.

Pros:

  • Cheap – even if you’re not a designer there are lots of options out there to help you create a professional-looking logo. Some are even free.
  • You have full control over the end product – images, colour, text…
  • If you want to make changes, it’s easy.
  • You can get started right away.

Cons:

  • A professional designer or agency will always provide a more professional result – it’s their job!
  • It’s likely to be time-consuming.
  • Designers and agencies can leverage their knowledge about current trends in design to give you something really relevant and up-to-date.

Things to consider when creating a logo

  • Your logo isn’t a standalone object – it’s something that potentially needs to work online, in real life, on packaging, business cards, letters, television… the list goes on. Think about how the colours, size and shape will work in a variety of formats.
  • What’s your budget? It can be easy to get carried away and spend too much – a logo is important, but you don’t want it to be the downfall of your whole business.
  • Are there other logos similar to yours? Be aware, and if creating it yourself do a Google reverse image search to see what comes up.
  • How is it likely to look in a year’s time? What about five years? Think long-term and about how it fits with the objectives and path of your business.

Tools for creating your own logo

If you do decide to go it alone, there are some great tools that can help you create a logo. Whether it’s a simple design tool to create a quick holding logo that will do for now, or one which puts you in touch with freelancers to create something more long-term, here are a couple of good options.

Fiverr: On Fiverr, you can hire freelancers to create a logo for just £5 (clue’s in the name). It’s a good option if you’re despairing at the idea of creating it yourself or don’t know where to start.

99designs: Similarly, 99designs is a low-cost way to get real designers creating your logo. Several designers are given the brief, and the one that matches your vision most closely wins.

Canva: Canva is a super-easy way to create professional-looking logos (as well as other designs – try it for Facebook ads). It’s free, but some backgrounds or images require a small fee, starting from £1.

Squarespace: Better known for creating quick slick websites, Squarespace also boasts a pretty awesome simple logo tool. Especially good if you’re a fan of more minimal, hipster-look branding.

Tailorbrands: This reasonably-priced option gives a professional-looking service with a range of options, such as versions of your logo to go on letterheads and business cards.

Case study: Lois and the Living Teas

Lois and the living teas artwork

Louise Avery is the founder of Hackney-based Kombucha microbrewery Lois and the Living Teas – wholesome fermented tea drinks that taste great and which boast health benefits too. Louise worked with a designer to get her dream logo. We asked her a few questions about the process.

Did you have a specific look or style in mind for your logo from the start?

I had really no idea how my logo/label would turn out initially.  I had conflicting ideas, in that I love clean crisp designs like The Pressery (almond milk), but I am also very attracted to whisky bottles as well as old-fashioned brown medicine bottles.

Working with a designer, how much input did you have?

The designer in question was a close friend of mine and we worked together throughout the whole process. The first thing he asked of me was to come up with three words that embodied the brand. I think 'minimal' and 'classic' were two of the words...

 

What was your budget roughly?

I had £200 set aside for this process (!), although he generously worked for free and if I had paid, I think it would have cost around £500.

What was the process of getting the logo created like & how long did it take to get to the final version?

 

After I had finally settled on the name of my business (Lois & The Living Teas), I sent over some essential copy for the logo/label and a number of branding images that I loved, so the designer could gain an understanding of my aesthetic preferences.

Following the initial draft - we probably went back and forth about five times over the period of a month changing elements until we were both satisfied. I also spoke to friends at length during the process to get feedback as well as printing the mockups out on regular paper and sticking them on to my bottles to see if they worked visually.

Any tips to startups looking to work with a designer on a logo?

I would say don’t be afraid to be honest about what you really want, as you will be stuck with it for a while at least (!)  Coming up with key words and researching images and branding that you love is an essential and fun process to clarify which direction to go in.

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