Here is a radical idea: when you work with a new startup – you don’t need a logo.
Why? Because it makes you loose focus.
This article deals with startups and software based products. Branding is important, but what I am saying is that investing in brand identity on an early stages of your start-up idea is a waste.
Why you don’t need a logo
Having experience with designing UX and UI for startups that make a software product, I often hear: “We need a logo and business card”. The second favourite line is “We need you to make our software pretty, website too, oh and a logo”. The second one is wrong, and here is why:
Startups are initiated by tech guys, that have an idea and a way to implement it. These tech ideas are mind-blowing once you get to understand them, and here is the first obstacle — they are hard to understand. The first thing that needs to be figured out is how to make a software more accessible for the Average Joe — the potential client. Second comes the marketing materials (website, investor presentations etc) that need to convey the message. There are extremely important and must be sharp as a sushi chef’s knife, otherwise the startup will not raise any capital. And all tech start-up guys know: capital is important.
No investor will give you money if you cannot communicate what your product is and why it’s the next big thing in, for example, agricultural maintenance. As a visual communication designer I stress the communication part, and finesse them first. I actually rewrite the texts, invest in slogans a lot of thought. I conceptualize and finesse the elevator pitch. And this works.
After concept, product definition and copywriting comes the visual design for the product, and here the communication part is important too. The concept should pass via visual design, fast.
The right order of design for a startup
I sometimes redesign the whole UX of the product from the ground up putting myself in the potential user shoes to get this effect.
After that comes the marketing materials, investor presentations, images for Facebook and such. Also majorly important.
And what about the logo you ask? When do you decide on colors, fonts and logo concept? I don’t. I improvise. I just take a font that seems suitable to me, using my gut feeling and write the product name in it using a couple of colors that seem to address the potential user base and the software niche. For agricultural maintenance this would be a grass-green and crops-kind-of-yellow. Focus on communicating the more important stuff mentioned above. Logo can be dealt with later in the process and the start-up will move forward.
Don’t be afraid. Loose the logo. Focus on the product.
May the force be with you