3 aspects that are often forgotten when designing your startup’s first logo

A brand’s logo is an amalgamation of the purpose and vision coming together to form a first impression on a customer.

Do you know why logos are etched in our memory for long periods of time?

Here’s why:

  1. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.
  2. It takes only 13 milliseconds for the human brain to process an image.

Here’s a quick experiment to check if you remember logos that are in your environment.

McDonald’s. Spotify. Apple. Google. Nike. Tesla. Could you picture the ‘exact’ logo they have to represent their brand?

Did the yellow M make you reminisce about pre-lockdown days where you’d go on a weekend to grab a chicken burger meal?

Did the swoosh of Nike make you think of action, athleticism, sportsmanship?

That is the power and impact logos have on us.

As a brand strategist, I’ve heard it one too many times that ‘ a logo is just a logo’, and that really does break my heart. A logo is destined to be so much more if you give it the importance it deserves.

With all the above brand names the common thread in their logo is simplicity. And that simplicity was certainly not an overnight phenomenon. A good looking logo balances simplicity and differentiation so beautifully, that it automatically becomes memorable.

Look at this Starbucks logo evolution for example, the first logo was from 1971 and the rightmost is from 2011. It’s a beautiful example to showcase how simplicity and clarity is something that happens with time. Your logo is a journey.

You need to give your logo time to be the simplest version it can be.

Remember that when you hire a brand strategist or logo designer!

Here are the top 3 aspects every brand strategist should pay importance to when creating a new logo.

  1. Versatility and scalability
  2. Usage in colour along with black and white
  3. The non-obvious hidden story
  4. A secret bonus! Read to the end to find out

Versatility and scalability

Although we live in a digital-first world, let’s not forget that printing logos on collaterals is still a thing. Brands often print their logo on postcards, t-shirts, banners and even direct mailings.

The difference between print and digital is the kinds of colors we use.

You must’ve heard of RGB and CMYK? — Red, Green, Blue and Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black. When you design a logo, you have to design for both usecases.

A quick rule of thumb reference — RGB is for digital, CMYK is for print.

Without getting too technical — in RGB you can play around with the saturation, vibrancy and shading by modifying any of the three source colors. Whereas in CMYK you have to combine colors to make the final color using subtractive mixing — every color starts with white, and each layer then changes the color.

Because of the technology vs non-technology angle, your logo will look different in both forms — which is why, to beat it, a smart logo designer will ensure it looks fabulous in both!

As a brand strategist, I test out both logo formats to see if anything goes amiss.

That handles the versatility part, now let’s move on to scalability.

When designing a logo, you have to imagine your logo on a billboard, and on your website’s top left corner. See the difference in size? — It’s MASSIVE.

PS: If you’re on desktop, look at Medium’s logo on the top left of this page!

What that means is if your logo is ‘too thin’ it will disappear on both formats. If it is ‘too bold’ it might not look nice when made into an icon.

You don’t want illegibility and you also don’t want a blob.

Therefore, when creating a logo ‘think big, design small’ is a tagline to go with. Yes, I just created that.

Usage in colour along with black and white

Have you ever received a beautiful notebook with an engraved logo on it? Or, have you ever gotten a pen with a logo in monochrome? — These are two examples where your logo needs to work in black and white.

While brands would love to have their color everywhere, printing in color for promotional merchandise is the most expensive — black is cheapest, the primary color is slightly more expensive, and the more colors you add — dear God!

Look at this GitLab logo on the left. GitLab is an open DevOps platform for software development.

Does it work in color and black and white? — Sure does, and can’t deny, the color does look prettier.

The main point here is that the essence of your logo should not get dissolved if the colors were removed. Be it the design, be it the layout.

Your logo should stay truly representative in both instances.

The non-obvious hidden story

What’s the one thing your brand is ‘built on’?

Ask me, and the answer is stories. We, humans, LOVE stories. We search for stories. Stories make it easier to remember facts.

Now, if there was a story in your logo — imagine that!

Look at this logo:

This logo is from Beats by Dre, a leading headphone brand in the US that was founded in 2006. in July 2014, Beats was acquired by Apple Inc.

Given that you know this information about the company, did you find the hidden message?

It does at first look just like a b, but, if you look at it for more than a minute, you’ll soon realise it’s the shape of a headphone on someone’s head from the side view.

It makes the visual representation and physical use case come together beautifully.

Look again! Did you see it?

Brand strategists are known to hide stories everywhere they can- and some, master it.

Another great example is Levi’s.

What do you see on first glance?

Now, let me tell you the story.

Look at the bottom of the logo; The “bat” arch is actually a stitch on the back pocket of every pair of jeans they produce.

Google it — it’s pretty cool, it’s a symbol that only Levi’s uses.

How cool was that?

The bonus: Does your logo pass the sketch test?

Think of the BMW logo, or the Audi logo. Now, take a pen and paper — can you draw it out, straight from memory?

If you can, that means your logo passed the sketch test.

Your brand’s logo needs to be so refined that your target age group should be able to do this without hesitating or scratching their head.

This test shows you the simplicity and recall your logo has.

Another great way to test this, is to show the logo to 10 friends, go back a week later and ask them if they remember it.

Exclusive resources when creating your logo

Here are three websites (from my secret stash) that I use to check if the logo ‘works’ for all the intended use cases I have.

  1. https://logolab.app/home
  2. https://brandmark.io/logo-rank/
  3. https://brandmark.io/logo-crunch/

Wrapping up

Your logo is going to be what people remember your brand with.

Make your logo ‘conversation worthy’ — make it worth their while, make it fun, make it personal.

You do have more than one chance to make it right, but it’s better to start on a great footing.

What are some logos you like? — Let me know in the comments!

Let’s geek out!

If you liked what you read, please do reach out and tell me on My Linkedin and if you want to work together, check out my website and let’s get chatting.

Want to see what a logo guide looks like?

I found one just for you on Behance!

Sébastien DEL GROSSO on Behance

Click here to view

Brand Creator, Storyteller and Communications Consultant | Believer in the gig-life | Working independently since 2020 | Currently in India | Podcast-addict |