You don't need a logo
Sometimes it seems that anyone with an Internet connection is now doing ‘branding’ or logo design. In fact logo design can now quite competently be done by a website with some clever coding! While that may sound a little like sour grapes from someone who has spent 20 years in the branding and design industries, I assure you it is not. Because I will tell with 100% certainty that you don’t need a logo.
Let me explain. The first thing 99.9% of people do when starting a business or new venture is to begin thinking about a logo. And as startups are usually a little tight on the ol’ design budget, most people begin trying to create one themselves. Because they can’t build a website till they have a logo, right? And they can’t get business cards printed without a logo. And they can’t set up their social media accounts without the logo for the profile picture. And so…none of those things get done.
But here’s the harsh truth, 99.9% of people are not designers, do not have a great eye for branding, and do not know anything about typography. Now that doesn’t mean they won’t come up with something good…but the honest truth is they are more likely to invest days (and probably nights) of their time coming up with 100 iterations of something mediocre. While the idea and business itself sits and waits for action to make it work.
I know this because I have done it myself. And while my perfectionism is a demon I am still dealing with, I know how detrimental this whole ‘I need a logo’ thing can be. So as a branding coach and art director I will tell you with confidence - You. Don’t. Need. A. Logo. Branding does not begin with a logo. Neither does a business. Both of those things begin with an understanding of your purpose; a willingness to take action; and the courage to communicate (and be held accountable to) your fundamental beliefs.
Branding is exciting and fun and I genuinely love doing it every day - but it’s not about the logo. In fact that is the least of it. If you just type your name (or the name of your business) in a simple, standard font at the top of your website that would be 1000% perfect - and would most likely look just as good in 10 years time, which many logos will not. Your time would be better spent really getting clear on what your brand stands for. Even from a visual standpoint your colours, layout, typography, imagery - ALL these things contribute more to how your brand comes across than your logo. In fact a bad logo can detract from your brand even if everything else looks ok.
The other thing that I realised (with a bit of outside help!) was that while I f*cked about with logo designs (excuse my language) for weeks, I was was basically just procrastinating. The fear of putting something out there that people may judge, crippled me with fear. I just didn’t realise it…I blamed the fact that I just could not get the logo right. Does that sound at all familiar? The truth is tho, the more you try and get something perfect they more fearful you get
There is so much to talk about when it comes to branding, and I genuinely think it is such an exciting part of business and life. But what’s even more exciting is when you discover that no matter what your logo looks like, you know what your brand is trying to achieve in the world. When you realise that decisions about your baseness are easy, because you know what your values are. And you attract the right staff, customers, suppliers and fans - because they get you and want to be part of what you do and what you stand for. THAT’S the really exciting stuff.
So if you’re ever stuck for a logo - type your name in Arial Bold font, all uppercase, and stick that at the top of your website. Because you don’t need a logo right now. And when you DO need a logo, do me a favour and wait till you can get a designer to do one for you. I promise it’s worth it.
But right now, just type your name, and get out there and make epic sh*t happen. You got this.
Get The Kintsugi Journal
Kintsugi: The Japanese art of repairing what is broken or damaged with pure gold resin. Also a philosophical approach that teaches that our flaws, experiences and scars make us all the more beautiful and unique.
Every Monday I will drop into your inbox to share new writing, links and resources from my own experience. I believe in sharing honest, helpful content that will help you build a more intentional business & life.