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Choosing a Company Logo

Samantha Intagliata
Director of Marketing and Communications
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a man creating a logo

A company’s logo can hold a lot of meaning and make a killer first impression. It can be considered as the face of a company. Some may say, “Don‘t judge a book by its cover,” well, clients judge companies by their logos. All. The. Time.

For startup companies or early-stage companies, a logo can change very quickly. In the beginning stages, as your company starts to shape and find its voice, you might notice how fast (and how many times) that tone can change and what voice starts to emerge.

As your business pivots, your brand will most likely pivot as well. Especially when you‘re first beginning your adventure, you‘ll need to be aware that change will happen.

And for the most part, change is good.

From Startups to Expansions | Choosing a Company Logo

I am sure there are statistics out there that explain how many of those businesses change direction from their first few days, even years, but from working at Alley for 5 years and working with startups every day, I can say that this happens often—very often.

It has even happened to Alley.

When we first started, we were located in a small open space in Midtown Manhattan.

As some of our earliest community members can remember, we were dubbed (by our very own) as Alley NYC—“The Most Badass Coworking Space on the Planet”. As we went beyond New York‘s borders, growing and expanding, so did Alley.

At one point on this journey, we realized that our name was limiting us, our messaging needed to be cleaned up, and our logo had to be changed to become the perfect symbol of our community.

Our Journey

Startup company logos can be tricky. Thankfully, we had the help of a great agency, Red Antler, behind our creative process.

Our old company logo was round. Spanning across our design, it could be found in either blue, black or—sometimes if you dug deep enough into the archive—yellow.

We wanted a company logo that inspired, connected, and motivated our community while still remaining sleek, edgy, and professional.

alley logo

Unfortunately, the startup logo that we had simply wasn‘t making the cut.

However, after some serious soul-searching, editing processes galore from our agency, and creative determination, we found the symbol that truly represents us.

Inspiring, connecting, motivating, sleek, edgy, and professional. Alley’s current company logo represents it all.

Alley drives businesses forward.

The “A” in our newest logo has a unique stencil effect which divides the letter into two portions.

The top portion becomes an arrow pointing upwards, launching you forward. The arrow springs off and away from the bottom portion, which can be seen as a platform or desk, to symbolize the brand strategy idea of: “Meet Here, Go Far”.

Although our logo might not directly be your cup of tea, there are a few things that we‘ve learned along the way that can help you uncover your best company logo.

Here are 5 tips you can use in designing your startups’ logo:

Establish your company goals, mission, and purpose.

You need to have a strong foundation to build on and work with. Without vision, it‘s going to be hard to truly grasp any sort of concept—especially if there is no concept to actually grasp.

The companies that have impactful logos normally are so much more than just a brand picture they found online. There lies a story behind their logo—of who they are and what they stand for.

Understanding and defining your company’s goals, mission, and purpose will significantly help you in the design process. Your logo should be a reflection of the heart of your company—the heart of what you represent, so it can best represent you.

Make it clean and simple.

There is such a thing as too much. Although you might want to go all out in putting various objects that symbolize things into your logo, less is truly more.

You want your logo to be clean, clear-cut, and simple. Not only does this look good on all your various products and company files, but it will also be extremely easy for your clients to remember and recognize.

Not to mention, you‘ll definitely want your logo to be easy to duplicate, seeing as you‘ll most likely be replicating that logo on hundreds of thousands of things. If you‘re in doubt while creating your logo, go for the easiest road.

Shape with intention

Although you want a clean cut logo, try and get a lot of meaning into that simple look. Shaping with intention means designing your logo to truly symbolize an important value in your company.

Even if it might be hidden, you have the creative freedom to make the logo what your company wants to represent—so do it with the intention to spread your company‘s message.

Whether it‘s adding a simple arrow or a hidden number within letters, get creative with ideas on how you can make your logo much more meaningful—making your company much more interesting.

Here are a few examples of various companies who have nailed intention in their logo:

o          FedEx:Designed back in 1994, it seems to be pretty straightforward with the name of the company. However, if you notice that white space between the letters “E” and “x”, you‘ll see a hidden arrow, pointing right. This small detail helps symbolize what their company is all about, speed and precision in delivery.

o          Wendy‘s: Although the fast-food chain denies their intention, there lies an iconic word in the ruffles of the redhead girl‘s neck: “Mom”. Some people have said that it should subliminally refer to Mother‘s cooking, refreshing their brand.

o          McDonald‘s/Burger King:As for the golden arches in McDonald‘s logo that you can spot from anywhere—the color of french fries and the BK logo made of a burger itself, just taking a look at these logos can leave someone hungry.

o          Baskin Robbins:This logo, cleverly hiding a 31 within the letters “B” and “R”, depicts the 31 different flavors of ice cream they have to offer.

o          LG:To get a little more symbolic, this logo features the letters “L” and “G”, shaping what seems to be a human face. As a mobile device company, they want to represent connection—and so much more. To do this, the logo also places the two letters in a circle, which they say represents the world, future, youth, humanity, and technology.

Know your audience.

To help you truly narrow down your choices for the best company logo, you need to know your audience.

To do this, especially as a first-time business or start-up, you should focus on your target audience, seeing as you probably don‘t have much of an audience at the moment.

Knowing who you want to reach can help you focus and come up with a strategy on how you want to do it. Taking a poll with your target audience or holding a case study or using a few volunteers to give their opinions are all great ideas on how to truly get some feedback on your logo.

Ask for opinions.

Lastly, you may think you‘ve got the perfect logo—put it through the wringer and think again. A focus group—especially when made up of complete strangers—can help get you an honest opinion of your logo.

Make sure you aren‘t designing in a vacuum, meaning doing it with absolutely no interference, no influence, and no disturbances. Although you may want final say of the look, it‘s always a great idea to get other people‘s perspectives on the matter.

Also, as mentioned above, a truly outside perspective can go a long way. Especially if your audience are going to be people you don‘t know, why not get the opinion of a complete stranger?

Take samples of opinions from your target audience and try to use it to help influence any changes on your logo.

We hope that these few tips can help you create a logo that not only truly represents your company, but also symbolizes your core values.

The Face of Your Company

Although you might not think anything at first of a logo, understand that a quick look of what your client will see really matters and a logo is a great way to nail that first impression.

It can be described as the face of your company—and you definitely want that face to be a stunner. The small imprint of a pattern or design can have such a huge impact on a company‘s public perception (and also the way your employees feel about your company). You definitely want them to be proud of what they represent and you want something that best represents them.

Logos are a two-way street, you get in what you put out there. It can also be considered that a logo is actually one of the most important investments that a brand can make. You wouldn‘t spend a fortune wearing a killer dress but not doing anything with your hair or make-up, would you?

Don‘t forget to invest in the face of your business or it might be a face everyone forgets.

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