Why You Need to Start With the Logo

I was recently discussing a website project with a client who wanted to save some money and some time by having us design the website first, with a possibility of creating a real logo for her as a future project. I thought I’d share the reasons you need to have a logo before you can get started on a website project.

Silver Bungalow website

Silver Bungalow: logo & website by Meg Lewis – note the color and texture repetition.

The logo design is the base your brand is built on

Your logo and branding are the most important part of your project – the keystone that holds everything together, if you will! In the normal course of a logo and website project, we would first spend a few weeks settling on an identity for your company: nailing down the logo, color scheme, fonts, and other little details. Then the site design (as well as your business cards, letterhead, and whatever other marketing materials you may be interested in) would largely be informed by the design we had created as your identity.

Branding choices will strongly influence the website design

When a web designer starts a project with a strong logo in hand, she’ll echo the colors, fonts, and feeling in the logo throughout the site. Without that important piece, it would be hard to design a site that really captured your business’ style. If the website was designed before the logo, you would be stuck either redesigning the site to work with the “real” logo when it comes, or compromising on the logo to make it work with the site design that’s already in place.

It’s hard to take a mediocre logo and make a stunning website with it.

I see clients tempted sometimes by a logo that’s “good enough,” but they aren’t really happy with it. Maybe they’ve had it for a while and are used to it, maybe a friend made it for them and they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or perhaps the amount of collateral (business cards, packaging, etc.) to replace is daunting. I’ve noticed over the years that when a client comes to us feeling doubtful about her logo, but decides to live with it, that we all struggle with the design process – the website of course ends up looking like the logo and the client can’t bring herself to feel excited about what we’re doing.

But can’t I just choose a font for my business name and start there?

We used to try to put sites together with the business name in a nice font, rather than creating a real logo, but were rarely able to build something that worked well for our clients. Now we insist on a logo before we can begin any work. This is to save your time and money, and be sure we’re producing the best work we can for you. We’ve found that rushing usually has no place in creative projects, if you’re invested in the end result.

See some examples of cohesive site designs from our portfolio:

Sunshine Yarns

Sunshine Yarns logo by Melissa Contreras & site by Sarah Moule. Note the sun & fonts.

LoveLee Soaps

LoveLee Soaps logo by Tracy Bishop, site by Lauren Hardage. Note the playful colors & fonts.

1canoe2

1canoe2 logo by client, site by Meg Lewis. Notice the repeated colors, and how feature text appears white on a colored background.

What experience have you had trying to pull together a full identity for your business? How do you feel about your own logo? Have you stuck with the same one, or have you redesigned since starting your business?

Please get in touch if we can help you with your brand identity.

Savvy creative businesses say they always learn something helpful and interesting when they read our newsletter! You can join them here.

About the Author

Hello, I'm Arianne! I am the head storyteller, idea hatcher, and yaysayer here at Aeolidia. I started making websites for friends in 1997, and never lost interest in building online homes for fascinating people. I have a great boss (me!) and I'm unafraid to play hooky to head out on an adventure. Some day I'll tell you about the time when, as a marine biology student, I was bitten by a baby elephant seal.

View more articles written by Arianne >

7 comments
  1. Thanks again for another educational post. I can really relate to this post, very informative! What if you receive some logo concepts that fall in to the “doubtful” category? Do you have thoughts on where someone should draw the line and just “move on” with a logo!?

    • “Doubtful” doesn’t sound promising to me! Remember this is the mark that your customers are going to think of as “CabinPress,” and it needs to fit the business, appeal to your target customer, be memorable, and work well in a variety of applications. If you’re not happy with it now, you aren’t likely to grow to love it with time! Everything else you work on will start from this one doubtful-looking logo, and you’ll have a whole doubtful-looking identity.

      You bring up a good point, here, too, about working with a designer! If the logos are not looking good to you, the problem may not be with the designer – you may just need better communication with each other. It’s very helpful to us to hear why a logo is or isn’t working for our client, and we’ll adjust (and even start over, if need be) based on that feedback. The logo design process is certainly a collaborative one.

      • Thanks for taking the time to address my questions + thoughts Arianne.

  2. I played with mine for months! I tried to incorporate a little heart, I removed it. I tried to reshape it. I tried to use a font. But I liked the idea of “doodling” it. I wanted my logo to be handwritten, or have the feel. I even looked at Aeolidia for inspiration. I was all over the place. But I liked just writing it. It’s what I could do and it was me. So that’s what I did. At this moment, I like it. In the future, as we -hopefully- continue to grow, so will everything else! I look forward to that day. :)

    • I like this story! Your handwriting is definitely “you” and this sounds like a nice logo.

      • Thanks Arianne! And thank you for sharing business advice!

  3. Pingback: Friday Favorites (links from the interweb) | cardtorial

Leave a Reply

Or discuss this post in person by joining our Facebook group for creative product-based businesses.

Leave a Reply

Read more like this