Among the many requirements for launching a new company, one of the more fun and frustrating ones is coming up with a logo for your start-up. This is an area where everyone seems to have an opinion and in my opinion much too much effort is put into the early logo at the expense of more pressing issues. (It reminded me of my days in the record business when bands would come in and start arguing in front of the company over what the album cover should be and this would be prior to it even being recorded–note that this typically only happened on debut albums after which bands who make it through the walk of fire to get a follow-up album were generally pretty savvy).
Anyway I think it’s human nature to want to have input in the logo so I generally just accept that there are going to be a lot of opinions to factor into the logo decision. In response I just try and make the process as easy as possible by having as many examples as possible laid out in front of everyone. I do this so people are not at a loss for words trying to describe what they have in their minds with everyone visualizing something completely different.
More importantly, looking at a large collection of logos allows people to quickly see trends that and conventions that are overused such as colors (light blue anyone?) or certain icons (e.g., clouds or talk bubbles). It also allows the group to zero in on attributes they like and don’t like so that the graphic artist (who is often the girlfriend or wife of one of the founders) has something concrete to go on.
Three good links (at least at the time of this writing) for logo collections are:
The Font Feed
Flickr Collection of Web 2.0 logos
This is how we came up with the LifeTwo logo above. In our case it wasn’t a wife or girlfriend doing the logo but a very accomplished print design shop that was doing us a big favor. As such we wanted to be as judicious as possible with our use of their time so we looked at the logos linked above, wrote out what we liked and didn’t like in a logo, picked colors we thought would work and gave a general description of the audience we were going after. They came back with 6 possible logos one of which we liked quite a bit. We asked for one round of variations on that (made the circle a little bigger and changed colors) and we had our logo. Is it the logo that we will have for the rest of our company’s life? Doubtful, but we got a very good logo at minimal cost and allowed us to focus on the more pressing needs of the time.
Good luck and remember you can still have an awesome company with an average logo. If you don’t believe me just follow those links and judge for yourself.