Diary of a start-up: Designing a logo

This month, first-time entrepreneur Lisa Edoff walks us through the process of designing her company logo

Over the past six months or so I have been planning, researching and developing my company’s logo. Figuring out what your logo should look like is probably one of the hardest things to do when you’re starting up; it needs to represent the look and feel of your company, and in some cases even communicate what it is that you do. I certainly found it challenging, and I am a designer myself!

Although I don’t actually specialise in typography or logo design I decided to give it a go, and now I can finally say I am very happy with it!

The first thing I did was to look at loads of typefaces online. I had a style in mind so I went onto websites such as myfonts.com and typed in some keywords. I also looked at websites with nice designs and got inspiration from design blogs.

I looked at elegant fonts:

Playful fonts:

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And crazy swirly fonts:

On Myfonts.com there is a really good service, called “What The Font“. It’s a type of search engine for fonts that you only have an image of, so if you see a font you love on a website and you want to find out which one it is, you can take a screen grab of it and upload it. What The Font will then match it to the closest fonts it has in its database, or most often, find the exact same one.

When I made my logo for my portfolio website I used a font that I then customised, as I didn’t like how all of the letters looked so I drew a few new ones:

The final logo ended up looking like this:

Although this design works well on my website, www.edoffdesign.com, I failed to take one thing into account: what the logo would look like when it was really small, printed on a label or in the last page of a notebook. The design was too detailed and the swirls too delicate to work on such a small scale. I decided this logo would have to be limited to my website, and that’s when I started to look at new fonts for a product logo.

So after browsing what felt like thousands of fonts and trying lots of different layouts, my logo is now finalised:

This logo represents my design products well; it’s modern, decorative yet stylised.

Here are my top tips for developing a company logo:

… Before you start designing (or start talking to a designer), do some research; look at lots of different logos and typefaces, and collect a few that you really like.

… Analyse what it is about your collected logos that you like, then think about which style would work for your company. What message is your logo supposed to convey? The style of the font must represent your company well.

… If you are incorporating a symbol within your logo, try to keep it as simple as possible.

… Think about where your logo will be used, on your website, stationery, business card or product, or on all of the above? Keep this in mind when developing the design; your logo must look as good displayed large as it does in its smallest size.

… If you’re not a designer, hire a professional to create your logo. It’s well worth the investment. You wouldn’t try and fix your own washing machine if you knew nothing about plumbing; the same should apply to design work.

To catch up on the first three chapters of Lisa’s start-up story, visit our Diary of a start-up channel or for more updates on Lisa’s progress, follow her blog A Piece of Lisa and Twitter: @LisaEdoff



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