Top 10 start-up logos

Thursday, 12 January 2012

It’s the most visible, striking aspect of your business. The thing that your customers will see more than any other, which you hope you will be plastered approvingly across billboards and the internet in double-quick time.

Given a logo’s presence at the front and centre of a business, many aspiring entrepreneurs spend a little too much time and effort in getting it right, agonising over every detail.

“Logos are important as a marker for your business, but a great logo won’t save you if what you’re doing is crap,” says Michel Hogan, brand expert and principal of Brandology.

“Keep your promises, make sure you offer a good product that works and then worry about your logo. Will a logo get you a sale by itself? No.”

“Creating a logo is a nice, shiny distraction from the difficult work of starting a business. A lot of start-ups get a bit too over-involved, sacrificing time they should spend on other things."

"A customer won’t really care what exact shade of blue you used on your business card.”

So how can you get your logo right in the first place, to concentrate on the nitty gritty of running a business?

“A good logo is unique and stands out,” says Hogan. “A lot of logos are very literal and try to tell you the whole story of the business. You have other channels to do this, rather than your logo.”

“A common mistake is forgetting that the logo will be used in multiple environments, so be conscious of the number of colours and level of detail you use. Don’t overthink the colours and try to use something that embodies your business.”

“Nike paid $35 for their logo and probably thought ‘this will do’ at the time. If it’s not ugly, offensive and has a connection to your business, then you’re going OK. If you have to re-do your logo in three to five years’ time, it’s not the end of the world.”

Happily, plenty of start-ups have got it right first time around. DesignCrowd regularly lists the good, bad and ugly of start-up logos

We’ve taken some of their suggestions, as well as some of our own ideas, to run through the top 10 start-up signifiers.

1. Sonar

“It’s cute, memorable and simple,” says Hogan. “They don’t really apply it well on their site as it’s not very prominent, but they’ve found a good way to sum up the brand.”

2. Sphero

Hogan says: “It’s a clever logo. It’s fun and it represents the spirit of the app. I think it will work well in different environments.”

3. Myth of Me

“This one has boatloads of personality,” says Hogan. “It’s quirky and relates on a personal, human level. You have to remember, though, that if you use a quirky logo, you have to commit to it – you can’t do it in half measures.”

4. Flipboard

Anyone who has used Flipboard, an app that allows you to set out your favourite online content in the format of a magazine, will instantly recognise the logo, mainly because it simply demonstrates exactly what the app does.

5. Alfred

Not since the days of the Ask Jeeves butler have we seen such an appropriate use of a domestic help theme.

6. Aardvark

OK, so Google shut Aardvark down last year, but that doesn’t mean that its failure was logo-based. Far from it.

7. Spotify

Spotify is currently gearing up for an Australian launch, so get used to seeing this logo. Very effective use of soundwaves over the letter ‘o’.

8. Boxee

Easily transferrable onto any medium. The business’ staff probably have t-shirts with this logo on it.

9. Thereitis

We are a big fan of this yet-to-launch Adelaide start-up and its logo isn’t too shabby either. Does a good job of summing up what is quite a technical, visual business model.

10. Joe Button

This clothing retailer has used the humble button to devastating effect. Good work, Joe.