Logo Design News This Week (5.9)

We’re back for another round-up of logo design news (something we’ve been doing on the blog for the past four and a half years or so). Looking for new logos, news about redesigns and such? This is the place. Here’s what caught our attention this week:

New Cleveland Browns Logo DesignLast week we told you the Cleveland Browns were due to release a new logo this week. And true to their word, they did just that on Tuesday. Sort of. Actually, the Browns don’t really have a logo, they have a color. So the helmet stands in as the icon. And the color is now a bit darker. The typography was also upgraded to something a little more bold. We like the changes. USAToday points out that the change to the helmet is barely worth mentioning. Favorite part of that article: “…you’re the Browns. Call it Brown. No one’s buying this orange nonsense.” The Dawg Pound (the team’s fan shop) also got a logo upgrade. This one is a bit more dramatic, with a fiercer looking, more abstract, dog icon. Other commenters point out that more than a new logo, the Browns need a new quarterback.

Speaking of new logs and football helmets, these are cool.

NYT Magazine Logo ChangeAnother big rebrand everyone seems to be talking about is the new masthead for The New York Times Magazine. And like the Browns logo above, most readers aren’t likely to notice. The new title (shown here on the bottom) is spaced better for easier reading. The rebranding effort also includes a shortened NYT MAG logo for use in small spaces, like social media.

Last year American Airlines got a new logo. Now the American Airlines Center gets its logo facelift (it takes about 42 seconds).

New Late Late Show Logo DesignWe’ve seen lots of changes in the late night television roster in the past year or two. And with James Corden ready to take over for Craig Ferguson, it was time for a new logo. The show’s executive producer says they “are really pleased with the logo”. But what else is he going to say? It’s a pretty dramatic switch from the previous logo and emphasizes the host’s name as much as the show. We kind of like the neon elements, giving it a slightly seedy feel (which is the kind of thing late nights ought to feel like).

The Heisman Club has a new logo design.

New Mesa Airlines Logo DesignGenerally companies with bad logos have an opportunity to upgrade and improve the designs they use for marketing when they announce a new logo. But that’s not the case with Mesa Airlines, which had an awful logo before, and didn’t improve much with the “upgrade”. The company has traded a design that looked like it was created with Microsoft Paint for something using design elements pulled from the 8os. A missed opportunity for improvement. On the other hand, Mesa flies planes under the banner of its partner (United Airlines), so this logo likely won’t be seen by most members of the public.

Direct Mail company, Valpak, has rebranded itself with a new look with a happy homes icon.

New Curling Canada LogoWe tend to like what many Americans think of as weird sports—cycling, soccer, and perhaps weirdest of all (and maybe not even a sport), curling. So we took notice of this cool new logo design for Curling Canada that was released this past week. A very simple design with strong typography. It also draws on a tradition of using shields in logos, patches, and banners for provincial curling clubs throughout the country. It’s a good look that we like.

The MTV Movie Awards has a new (hand-painted?) logo.

Royal Albert Hall LogoOur favorite logo from the past week is this new design introduced for The Royal Albert Hall, London’s most famous and most celebrated concert hall. The icon uses the reds and golds from the hall’s interior decor. The design is a bit trendy, using layers of colors to create the shape of the hall, but we like it none the less. Now if we could only get tickets to an upcoming performance.

Did we miss anything you saw? Let us know in the comments.

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Start a Business — How to Set Up a Website

Last week, in our post about how to build your first product, we mentioned that we would take a more in-depth look at how to create a website. If you’re ready to start a business, you’ll want to set up a website so customers can find you online.

How to set up a websiteBefore we walk you through the steps to create a free standing site, you should first consider if that’s the right option for you. There are several companies that provide simple website maker software (that link goes to the Logomaker website tool) that helps you get set up in 10-15 minutes and also provides an easy tool for adding content for less than $25/month. That’s a great basic option for those who need it. You might want to check it out before reading on. If you’re looking for something more customizable and easier to grow (say, if you need to add a blog), then the rest of this post is for you.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to setting up your business website (we’ve tried to keep things very basic so anyone can follow these steps and get online today):

1. Choose a Web Host and Get a Domain Name
Before you can attract customers to your website, you need to choose a web host and a name for your site. Your web host is the company that will store your website files and make sure that customers can see your website when they search for it.

Your domain name (also called a URL) is simply the name of your website. The best domain name for you is your business name (www.yourbusiness.com). But chances are, your company name is already taken. (For more about choosing a name, read this.)

Not to worry, if your preferred name isn’t available, there are several ways to make a slightly different name work. If your company is called Home Made Fudge and homemadefudge.com is not available, you might look for an alternate like: tryhomemadefudge.com or gethomemadefudge.com, or homemadefudgekitchen.com. This is a chance to be a bit creative and find a great name for your website.

It’s a good idea to get a domain with either your company name or product name in it. If your company name is Atlas Consulting, but atlasconsulting.com isn’t available, don’t settle for something completely unrelated like, northwestadvisors.com, just because its available. The two really should match because your company name will be one of the primary ways your customers will search for you online.

Also, be sure to purchase the .com version of your name. This is what people search for and what search engines deliver most often. People tend to think .com addresses are more credible than other choices. So do search engines. If your preferred name is available with a .biz, .net, or another TLD (top level domain—what the end of your web address is called), you can buy it if you want it. But the .com address is what you are really after.

How do you buy your domain? Your web host will help you purchase it. We really like Bluehost (they’re inexpensive and dependable), but you can usually use any other web hosting company to buy your domain. Simply visit their site and start the purchase process. Select a hosting package (the basic package is likely enough right now), then you’ll have the option of searching for an available domain name and buying it along with the hosting package. Buying your domain name from your web host makes it easy to keep them all connected without using a domain forwarding service.

The purchase of your domain name will cost around $10 to register for two years. Your hosting plan will depend on the options you choose but will start around $4/month.

content management system2. Set Up a Content Management System
This sounds more difficult than it is. Your content management system is simply software that makes it easy to add text and photos to your website, without having to worry about writing HTML or CSS.

If you’ve chosen Bluehost as your web host, you can install WordPress with the click of a button. Bluehost does the work for you and also installs the basic WordPress theme so your website already has a default design. Bluehost has video instructions on how to do this from your control panel. Other web hosting companies will have similar options and tutorials.

We like WordPress in part because of how easy it is to use, but also because of the thousands of developers who have created unique themes, widgets, and plugins that make your website more useful. If you have trouble with your site, it’s easy to find help online or from a programer who is familiar with WP. It’s also easy to integrate Google Analytics and webmaster tools so you can track basic performance metrics. And upgrading can be automatic. But there are other content management systems if you don’t like WordPress—Joomla, Drupal, and Ghost come to mind. Several of them can be installed on your site with a single click of a button. Check with your web host. We won’t go into a side by side comparison here, but you should be able to easily find a content manager that you are comfortable with.

3. Choose a Theme
The theme is what gives your website it’s look. You’ll want to choose one that looks right for the kind of business you are in. And, this is where things get hard. Not because it’s technically difficult, it’s actually quite easy. Rather, it’s tough to pick a theme from thousands of great options out there. You’ll probably find several that you like.

Not only are there lots of beautiful designs to choose from, you can also pick between free and paid themes—both offer good options. The advantage of choosing a paid theme is that they often come with support from the creator, just in case anything goes wrong or you need simple changes. Choose whichever option is best for your needs.

There are two ways to install a theme. You can look online (Elegant Themes is a good place to start), or simply do a search for “wordpress theme.” Then download the theme you like to your computer and upload those files to WordPress (into the /wp-content/themes/ file).

Or, you can log into the WordPress account you just set up, click the Appearance button on the left side of the page, then select Themes, and click the Add New button. This will allow you to search for a new theme from hundreds within WordPress. Not all themes are available this way, (including most paid themes), but there are a lot of choices there that might work.

Once you have your theme uploaded (or downloaded), activate it (by clicking the Activate button) and it will show up on your site. You will need to add photos and copy to make the site reflect your company’s identity, but you are now live online. There are a lot of things you can add to your site depending on the theme (like widgets that will allow you to put links or other information in a sidebar or footer). Click around and explore what you can do with your site.

Set up Google Analytics4. Set Up Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
While this step is optional, it is a very good idea to add these services to your website so you can see what your customers do when they visit your site, where they come from, the words they used to find you, and what pages they leave from. You can monitor your traffic and more easily discover any problems your site is having.

Before you can add these services to your website, you’ll need to set up an account at Google. Create a free Analytics account here (just the basics, not premium). Once that’s set up, you can add a webmaster account with the same log-in information by clicking here. You can create a Bing Webmaster account here.

Once you have the accounts set up, you’ll need to download the tracking ID or tracking code for each service you set up. This does two things—it lets Google know the website is really yours (you prove you have access to your site when you put the code on the pages) and it allows Google or Bing to collect data about what’s happening on your site.

After you have the tracking codes, you’ll need to download a WordPress plugin that adds the code to each page on your site. There are dozens to choose from. We use Yoast’s SEO plugin, but you could use Insert Header and Footer or something similar. Just search WordPress plugins (the link on the left side of your WP account) for Google Analytics to find one that works for you. Then activate it for your site and add the IDs or codes.

Now when you log back into your webmaster tools pages or analytics, you’ll see the data that the code collects (this may take 24-48 hours to update).

5. Set Up Your Professional Email
Nothing says amateur faster than someone with an email address from AOL, yahoo, hotmail, or gmail. Now that you have your domain set up, you can add a professional looking email to your account. You simply do this by logging into your host account and following the instructions for adding an email address. If you purchased your domain from your web host, this will be relatively easy. Just follow the instructions, then add your account to your desktop email software or phone.

That’s it. Follow the step above and you can start a business or at least, set up the website, in less than an hour and for something less than $100. And you don’t need to know how to do any programming. Of course, if you get stuck or aren’t confident in your abilities to do the above, you can always reach out to someone to help. But don’t wait any longer.

There’s never been a better time to get your business online.

If you found these instructions hard to follow, you might check this site out.

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10 Quotes for Startups and Small Business from Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal

Neil Blumenthal Startup QuotesNeil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, co-founded their startup, Warby Parker, because they saw a potential hole in the eye-wear market. A new pair of fashionable eye glasses cost $500 or more—pricing most consumers out of the market. They thought that if they could create their own designs and brand (as opposed to licensing other fashion brands) and selling directly to customers online, they could create a successful company and lower the cost of glasses significantly. And they were right.

An initial flood of positive PR brought so many orders in the first week, they could barely handle them—they hit their first year’s sales targets in just three weeks. By the fourth week, the startup was completely sold out of their top 15 models.

It was important to Blumenthal and Gilboa to practice a version of the buy-one-give-one model that has propelled other socially conscious company’s (like Tom’s Shoes) into the lime light. When you purchase a pair of WP glasses, they work with third-world entrepreneurs in more than three dozen countries to sell a second pair (at very low prices) to customers making less than $4 a day. They don’t give them away, instead they help people create businesses that provide this needed service (and economic development).

Here are a few things Mr. Blumenthal has said that we think will inspire others who are starting businesses today:

“Creating an artificial distinction between ‘work’ and ‘life’ has never done the trick for me. It’s a boundary that I associate more with 1950s sitcoms than with today’s work environment. Because we spend most of our lives working, it’s so important that your work be your life’s passion. When that’s the case, there’s no need to institute a separation.”

“It comes down to execution. And you’re only going to execute at the highest level if you have the support of your network… and they can only support you if they know what you’re working on.”

“While brushing my teeth every night I rewind and think about all the stuff I didn’t do during the day. If there are any huge, looming tasks, I try to accomplish them before I go to bed. Then I take the rest of the ‘To-Do’s and make a list that I swear to myself I’ll tackle first thing in the morning.”

“When you look at the reasons people leave companies, it’s usually because their boss is a jerk or because they aren’t learning and growing. So we spend a lot of time developing leaders internally and creating learning opportunities.”

“Either I have a healthy dose of optimism or a pervasively deluded view of the world. Whichever it is, I still believe and act as though I can do it all. It leads to a lot of running, I derive energy from a frenetic pace. I tend to surround myself with people who share a certain optimistic vision of the world—people more apt to ask why than why not.”

“It’s through vulnerability that human beings create connections. The more vulnerable we can be with one another, the more that we’ll trust one another and the more we’ll be able to collaborate effectively.”

“Sometimes it takes outsiders to look at an industry and say, hey, this is broken, or this isn’t working and to come in and disrupt it.”

“If we’re able to demonstrate that you can be profitable and can [do] good, hopefully we can inspire other entrepreneurs to do the same. It’s not about the amount of wealth you can accumulate or the amount of profits you can drive, it’s about the impact and change that you can create. ”

“We want to create a model for how a for-profit company should behave, because we believe they should be stakeholder centric, they should be thinking about customers and employees, and the community, and the environment, in the same way that they think about shareholders.”

“We think a lot about being a disruptive company. The question is, How do you remain a disruptive company? How do you create a culture of innovation? The first way is actually asking for innovation. A lot of companies don’t expect or ask their team members to come up with ideas, but we demand it.”

—Neil Blumenthal, Co-founder of Warby Parker

 

 

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Logo Design News This Week (5.8)

As always on Fridays here at Logomaker, we take a look back at the biggest news (and some not-so-big news) from the world of logo design. Here’s all the stuff that caught our eye this past week:

New Minneapolis Logo DesignIt looks like Minneapolis will be getting a new logo soon. The city’s communication department has done “extensive research on the best practices in brand identity for large organizations and businesses”. What exactly does that mean? Isn’t this the kind of thing a city hires an agency for? Or a competent marketing director? The new logo drops one of the sail boats, shrinks the icon, and updates the type treatment. The new logo is an improvement, if a small one.

The American Samoan National Olympic Committee has a new logo.

National Watermelon Association Logo DesignThe National Watermelon Association has a new logo this week (and a new website to go along with it). The design features a swoosh, which is a design element we saw a lot ten years ago. The NWA likes that element because “…it indicates the global nature of our industry.” We’re not sure that’s what swooshes do, but they like it. We think the mark would be stronger without it. We especially don’t like the way the swoosh forces the seeds apart unevenly.

Bringing you tomorrow’s logo news today… the Cleveland Browns are set to announce a new logo next week. We’ll bring it to you when they do.

Charlotte Independence Logo DesignRegular readers of the blog know we love sports logos—especially minor league baseball. Minor league soccer is a close second, which is why we took note of the new logo for the Charlotte Independence which will start playing its first season is the USL this year. We told you about the new USL logo last week. There’s a lot to like about this shield logo—the type treatment, and the shield with soccer ball. Even the minute man icon is good, though it looks a little front heavy. Over all a very nice design.

What’s with the D in the Disney logo? This is pretty interesting.

Google Volta Logo DesignAnd we wrap up the week with one of many new Google logos we saw this week, including new logo designs for Valentines Day, the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Flag, and Carnival. But we really liked this design celebrating the 270th birthday of Alessandro Volta, the guy who invented the battery.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Welcome Escape School Fans.

Escape SchoolIf you’re visiting from our guest post as the Escape School, welcome.

While you’re here, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (up there on the right side of this page).

A couple other things you might want to check out:

Our weekly inspirational quotes from successful entrepreneurs.

Our new series on Starting a Business here, here, here, and here.

Our logo design application (create your own logo in minutes).

Thanks for visiting.

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Start a Business — Building Your Product

Here’s How not to Start a Business:

You’ve got a great idea for a product or service that you know everyone will want as much as you do. So you sketch it out on paper and get to work building it for the next few months. Maybe its a web application or a product you can sell through a retail store. Maybe its a service and you’re working out the positioning. It doesn’t matter. This is a great idea. And you’re busy creating it.

Build a BusinessOnce you’ve got the first version done, you show it to a few friends who offer suggestions on how to make it better. Great! You go back to your product and work for another couple of months. These are all good suggestions worth adding and they make the product a lot better. Once you’ve completed the revisions, you’re ready to show it to a potential customer. And you’re pretty sure they’ll buy it—in part because of all the great additions you’ve made to the first version.

The presentation goes well. Your customer likes the idea and the progress you’ve made so far, but it’s not quite right for them. So they suggest a few changes and ask you to re-engineer things so your product matches their own internal processes. Once that’s done, they can take another look and figure out if it is something they will buy.

The feedback is really helpful. You learn how your product can fit in a real-world situation, so you go back to work, adding the new suggestions and reworking things to fit their process. It takes a few more months, but the time invested is worth it because you are building something that a customer says they want and might even buy.

By now you’ve made a lot of progress…

You’ve got a product that you like, your friends like, and a potential customer says they might buy.

But you have no commitments. And, more importantly, no sales.

You want to start a business but all you’ve done so far is spend several months building something no one is buying.

What You Should Do Instead

Too many founders start by creating a solution to a problem. Instead they should be asking: How painful is the problem? Will anyone pay for the solution I can build? And most importantly, can I build a sustainable business around my solution?

Experts like Eric Ries recommend that you build an MVP—a minimal viable product. Ask how minimal and he’d say, “Probably more minimal than you think!”

The idea is to build something that is the bare-minimum required to sell it. In fact, you may not even need to build an actual product to prove your concept. But you do need to create something so customers can see how things would work.

Let’s say you want to start a business selling home-made fugde. (We used this example in our post about figuring out if you can make a profit with your startup idea).

FudgeYou know in order to make a living at this, you need to sell about 300 boxes of fudge a month. And you can’t sell a box of fudge without boxes (and fudge) so you could spend money on packaging and ingredients, make the product, and then put up a website or start shopping it around to local restaurants.

Don’t do this.

Instead, put up a one page website with a good sales message for your fudge. We would recommend you spend more time crafting the message on the page than you spend actually building the website. Next week we’ll write about the specifics of setting up a simple website online, but for now, this will suffice: Find a web host and purchase a domain (we use blue host for many of our sites), install WordPress and add a free or low-price template. Then add photos of your product and an appropriate sales message.

Note: you still haven’t spent a penny on making fudge or packaging.

Now it’s time to go to work. Using your website as a base, reach out to as many potential customers as possible on social media: Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and anywhere else you can get someone to notice you. Ask your friends and family to share you page. Now is not the time to be shameless. (Joel Gascoigne of Buffer wrote about how he did it in a post worth reading here.)

You may also want to run a few very inexpensive ads in Adwords, Bing, or the Amazon Ad Network. (We wrote a bit about that process here). The idea is to drive real customer traffic to your site so you can see real customer behavior.

You’re not looking for people to tell you what a good idea you have.

Ask them to buy.

If they don’t buy, ask them, why?

Is the price too high? Do they already have a preferred fudge brand? Do they like or dislike the flavors you offer? Is the idea of shipping fudge to their home odd? Where would they expect to buy your product? What kind of packaging do they expect? What do they think of the brand name you chose?

With an MVP, you are trying to learn everything you can about your customer, the market for your product, what customers want to know before they buy, how they want their product delivered, what flavors they would pay for, and on and on.

At this point you may learn that while people like your idea, they’re not willing to buy it online. So you might adjust your go-to-market plan and start pitching your fudge to shops and eateries around town. Or perhaps people expect to pay less. Can you lower the price and still make enough to stay in business? Can you add something to increase the perceived value of your product? It’s even possible that people don’t really want to buy fudge for themselves, but they will pay more for gourmet fudge as a gift for special occasions. So you might raise your price, rework the messaging on your web page, and try again.

You should split test your product offer by sending web traffic to different pages with different features, different pricing, and different copy. Learn what works and what doesn’t.

If you get an order or two at this stage, you can choose to make a small batch and send it to your customers, or you could cancel the order with apologies until you are truly ready to launch. (See how the Buffer team handled this in that link above).

Learn What Works, Then Fine Tune Your Product

Tuning KnobOnce you figure out what works, you can then start adding new features and fine tuning your product to appeal to more/specific customers. You’ll start making money, which helps pay for the added features and product updates you will want to make. Michael Cho wrote about that process for Ooomf here (another link worth reading).

Okay, we can hear you saying… easy enough for a product like fudge, but what if I want to start a business that only works when it’s up and running. What about an idea that connects job seekers to job opportunities (a sort of a Tinder for employment)? You need more than a simple web page for that, right?

Maybe, but maybe not. Read the post about Ooomf at that last link.

Start by creating your web page. And again, spend a lot of time on getting the messaging right. You’ll need to figure out what kind of information you would collect from you potential customers and probably need a mechanism for uploading a resume and cover letter. This idea requires a bit more work on the web site, but not a lot.

Once the site is ready, go to work promoting it everywhere. As potential customers visit your site and give their information, it’s now up to you to create the experience they are looking for. Because your website isn’t up and running yet, you will need to find job openings to present to them (by searching the web and other job sites, contacting recruiters, and then sending an individualized email to your customers with the results, for example).

The idea here is to simulate your business idea as closely as possible without actually spending time or money building it until after you know customers will pay for your service. To your customers, it looks like the website is doing the work, but in reality it is you putting things together offline.

Once customers are paying you for the service, then start building the product.

Why Building an MVP is a Good idea

1. An MVP allows you to prove your business before you invest a lot of time and money into it. The benefit here is obvious, why spend time building something you can’t turn into a profitable business? If it isn’t working, get out and try something else.

2. An MVP allows you to figure out processes and features that you can’t predict before you have customers. Because you haven’t invested a lot into a specific process or product, you’re not locked into something you can’t easily change. Customers won’t buy fudge for delivery? Okay, let’s try a different distribution system. Job Applicants won’t pay more than $25 for access to your job list? Okay, let’s test different pricing and access levels. Maybe we can add a free resume service to increase the value.

3. An MVP allows you to pivot to related ideas quickly. The idea of pivoting from a bad idea to a better one is popular in the startup world. But the fact is, if you have invested time and resources into a particular solution, changing course is hard. You’ve got so much invested in the old idea that it is hard to let go. With an MVP, changes are much easier to stomach. Let’s say we learn people think fudge is a luxury gift, not something they buy every week. Maybe we can add cookies, brownies, and other treats to encourage more buying. Or perhaps we can create a gifting service that makes sure a customer’s loved ones receive a special treat on every birthday and anniversary. The possibilities are open because we didn’t invest too quickly in our first idea and now need to make it work.

4. An MVP helps you maximize your chances for success. By getting real customer feedback (not just people saying they like your idea) and real customers paying for your product, you vastly increase your chances of success. And if you fail, you cut your losses before they cost you anything. The feedback comes before its too late to make changes. And you learn what features your customers want, and just as importantly, what they don’t want.

You could spend a lot of time building what you think your customers want. Or could do it right and build a minimum viable product, then learn what your customers want before you spend your time and money fine tuning your profitable business.

 

Photo credit: Fudge by Jennifer, tuning knob by Michael Rosenstein.

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10 Quotes for Startups and Small Business from Amelia Humfress, Founder of Steer.me

Amelia Humfress QuotesAmelia Humfress started her career as a marketing intern at Jimmy Choo, the designer shoe company. While looking for a way to learn how to code, she discovered that easy, accessible coding classes were harder to find than one would think. Which is where the idea for her company, Steer.me, came from: make it easy to learn how to code. Today Steer offers courses in HTML, CSS, iOS, Rails, and JQuery. And perhaps just as notable, during the last three months of 2014, Steer was teaching front end development to more women than men.

That’s pretty impressive for a founder who is just 25 years old. Ms. Humfress raised just £100,000 (roughly $150,000) in seed funding and had revenues over £400,000 in her first year. With that kind of success, the company may not have to raise another penny. With that kind of success, it’s no surprise that Ms. Humfress has been named one of the UK’s Top Digital Women Under 50 (though one assumes the women aren’t actually digital) and Steer was named one of the best places to learn to code by The Observer in its first year and is one of the 2014 UK Startups 100.

We find Ms. Humfress’ success and work in encouraging more women to learn engineering inspirational. Here are a few things she’s said that we think other startups and entrepreneurs will be inspired by:

“I really needed someone to tell me to stop finding excuses and just do it. I think that especially for women, it’s often a lack of confidence that can hold you back when you just need to stop doubting yourself.”

“You get to dive straight into the interesting challenges and do something different every day, rather than just making the tea!”

“I love seeing young women who have built something against the odds. Every time I read about a woman achieving her own personal definition of success, I’m inspired.”

“My aim is to make technology education accessible. I also hope to encourage more women to consider engineering as a career and to start their own businesses.”

“Design plays a critical role in the success of a product or service. If your product looks like crap, it doesn’t really matter how well it works—people are not going to love using it.”

“Coding is super-creative. It’s all about taking an idea and figuring out how to build it and writing lines of code to make it a reality.”

“If you can code, you understand how your designs will come to life and what’s within the realms of possibility. You understand the terminology so you’re able to communicate your ideas to developers. You know how much things should cost. You can build your own designs, which opens up more projects and gives you a higher earning potential.”

“If you don’t mess anything up, you’re not going to be learning.”

“We do see the stereotype of the young programmer, the young hacker changing the world, but we’ve had people learn to code with us who are over 50 and I don’t think that it’s necessary that you have to be young to program.”

“If you can send an email, and you can attach a document, then you can learn to code… it’s just like the first time you learn to swim. It’s just something new. It’s just different from what you’re used to. But you can still learn.”

—Amelia Humfress, Founder and CEO of Steer.me

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Logo Design News This Week (5.7)

It’s Friday again (and in the states the beginning of a long holiday weekend). And that means you’re likely in a hurry to leave the office. Before you go, here’s a quick round up of the logo design news that caught our attention this week:

WalletHub Logo DesignTake a look at the green and white W logo to the right. It’s for Wallet Hub, though you’ve likely never heard of it before. What does it make you think of? Probably not the Washington Nationals, which use a white W on a blue background. Or the Chicago Cubs, who fly a blue W on w white flag when the team wins. Or for that matter the logos for Walgreens or W Hotels. But the MLB (Major League Baseball or maybe, Major League Bullies) thinks that’s exactly what you’ll think. So they’re locked in a trademark dispute over the use of a letter. What’s really funny is the W used by the Nationals doesn’t look anything like the W used by WalletHub. And the cubs use their W on a flag, which no one sees. Maybe this is why no one watches baseball anymore.

Speaking of reusing trademarks, SportsLogos points out that hockey’s Ontario Reign has reused the old Los Angeles Kings logo. Yep, pretty much. But it’s intentional.

New Seattle Police Logo DesignThis week we noticed a couple of new shield/crest logos at BrandNew. The first is an update to the Seattle Police logo, which removed the way-too-complex shield within a shield and replaced it with a profile (or is that a mug shot?) of Chief Sealth, for whom the city was named. The new crest is an improvement in our opinion, as we generally prefer simplicity over complexity. The other new shield logo unveiled this week is for the University of Texas at Austin. The new logo adds a shield and keeps the emphasis on Texas. Given the number of logos used by the different schools and colleges at the university, the new logo is an effort to unify the graphic standards at the school—almost always a good idea.

Is $50,000 too much to spend on a logo? Yes, it is. There are much more affordable logo options out there. We think $50 is about right.

Libertarian Party of Nevada Logo DesignThe Libertarian Party of Nevada has a new, crowd-sourced logo. Or at least the beginnings of one, as the party says the size and colors of the elements may change a bit. And it’s not bad. We see the L. And the flames which, we assume, represent the flame of Lady Liberty’s torch. And we agree with the party that this icon needs a bit of tweaking. The lettering is traditional and trustworthy, exactly the kind of ideals a political party might want to project. On the other hand, it resembles a Christian church logo, especially the Methodist Church logo, which is maybe not the kind of thing the Libertarian Party is going for.

The USA Rice Federation has a new logo design. Now be honest: who knew there was a USA Rice Federation?

United Soccer League Logo DesignThe United Soccer League, currently the “C” league in the states, has a new logo and is applying for Division 2 status (which is currently held by the NASL). The new logo comes in a variety of colors representing the different teams in the league. This year the league will debut with 13 new teams, more than half of which are owned by Major League Soccer clubs. The affiliates will be able to loan players back and forth, effectually setting up a farm team system. We’d prefer to see club levels set up to allow for relegation, but for now we’ll watch to see if the USA can support this much club soccer profitably.

We’re digging this new logo for cycling company Wiggle.

Freeview Logo DesignThe United Kingdom’s subscription-free television service, Freeview, announced a new logo this week. The company is jointly owned by several networks including the BBC, ITV, and BSkyB. The new logo is a big change. It retains the brand’s red color, but adds a subtle gradient of purple and yellow. The logo also shifts from a “billboard” to an icon and letter mark. We don’t love the icon, but the type is nice. The new logo accompanies the launch of a new television-on-demand service.

Little House on the Prairie Google LogoWe wrap up the week with Google’s logo design celebrating the 148th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder, or as Pa called her, “half-pint”. She is best known as the author of the Little House on the Prairie books.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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10 Quotes for Startups and Small Business from Katia Beauchamp, Founder of Birchbox

Katia Beauchamp Startup QuotesWhen Katia Beauchamp left her Private Banking job (where she worked on big corporate real estate deals) to attend Harvard Business School, she had no idea she would be running one of the most successful New York City startups just three years later.

At school she met her future co-founder, Hayley Barna, with whom she brainstormed the idea for a business that would help women (and now men too) discover and experience new beauty products. They reasoned that women have a difficult time buying online because there’s no good way to touch, smell, and try before you buy. Their startup, Birchbox, sends a monthly, personalized box of hand-picked items to each customer to try and then buy more if they liked them.

To say the idea is a success is a bit of an understatement. In just five years, the company has grown from their student apartment (while the partners worked to complete their degrees) into a fashion industry giant. And customers love it. Birchbox hit their five year goals in just seven months. Today the company has more than 800,000 subscribers in the USA, UK, France, and Spain and is worth more than $500 million.

In part because of their success, the two partners have been asked many times for their advice to other (especially women) who are looking to start a business. Here are a few of the things Katia has said that we think are inspiring:

“[Forget] about the concept of work/life balance. There is no such thing. That balance is overall life, not this week or this month; you don’t have to be balanced, just prioritize different things at different points in your life.”

“I don’t think you can be prepared for [starting a company]. I don’t think that’s in any way feasible. I think if you knew what was coming, it would feel daunting because it’s crazy.”

“When you get to work with people who are your friends, spending time with them makes work that much more enjoyable.”

“…keep your head down and focus on your brand and your service or your product and what makes it unique and special. Don’t take too much time obsessing over what somebody else is, versus what you really saw and started, because nobody can copy your vision.”

“The reality is that there are many paths to success; there is no one path. Realizing that frees you to move fast and get things done in the best way that you can. Once you start executing and realizing that you can make reasonable decisions that lead to successful outcomes, you gain the confidence to keep going. For us, it is critical that we all keep that in mind, because every day brings new firsts.”

“Work hard and own it. You make your own success and your own luck. Ask for what you deserve.”

“If you work hard, ask questions, and learn from every opportunity, you are going to have a fulfilling journey in your career. Be thoughtful of the people you work for including your manager. Find someone who is open and respects you. It makes work more enjoyable and gives you the opportunity to learn…  It is also highly important to remember to enjoy building your career.”

“Nothing is more delightful than being efficient.”

“I don’t think you just have one mentor; there are so many people we have the chance to meet, so I am constantly looking for new perspectives. There are definitely people I go to for the big questions, but mentors are there to be helpful. They aren’t there to give you the answers but to help you see that your perspective can answer the question.”

“Authenticity helps with anything you’re doing.

—Katia Beauchamp, Founder and CEO of Birchbox

 

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Logo Design News This Week (5.6)

Friday at our do-it-yourself logo design headquarters is reserved for reviewing all the news from the world of brands and logos. So, without further ado, here are the biggest or most interesting (and sometimes lamest) things we noticed this week:

New Pirate Bay Logo DesignPirate Bay, the bit torrent, file sharing, site which was shut down last December came back online this week with a new and appropriate phoenix logo. The bird rising from its ashes replaces the pirate ship flying a sail marked with cross bones and a cassette tape. The site has had its share of legal troubles (some would say harassment) for allowing users to share copyrighted files. Some people are suggesting this new site may be a front for law enforcement to track down and punish people who share files illegally. But the logo is pretty good—and certainly appropriate.

 

Memphis Red Birds Logo DesignWhile we’re writing about bird logos, check out the new logo for the Memphis Redbirds, a minor league affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals—though that should be obvious from looking at the logo. The new logo adds a second red bird and a bat and was created by the Cardinal’s in-house design team. The birds on a bat design is used by several of St. Louis’ farm teams. It’s not the best minor league logo we’ve profiled here, but it gets the job done.

Which gets us to another baseball logo, one that hasn’t been released yet. But the Rough Riders are teasing their soon to be announced logo with a pair of monocles—though technically those aren’t monocles. Watch for the new logo in about three weeks.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Logo DesignPancreatic Cancer Action got a new logo that is ostensibly based on the shape of the pancreas an oddly shaped trapezoid. We like the logo (especially on the t-shirts), but the whole “shaped like a pancreas” is the kind of thing designers say to convince clients that there is an idea behind what is basically a color block. No one who isn’t told will ever see this as the shape of an organ. On the other hand, it’s definitely an improvement over the old design.

Some of these NBA/video game logo mashups are pretty good (the Boston Luigis) and some are terrible (the Utah Trons?).

New Panda Security Logo DesignWe like the new logo for Panda Security, a Spanish software company that develops anti-virus programs. The new logo is significantly more approachable and friendly, but uses a kind of target icon, which not-so-subtly signals that the product targets the bad guys.

This week RadioShack announced its bankruptcy and probably closure. Bloomberg takes a look back at their logo design history.

New Calgary Library Logo DesignWe noticed two different new library logos this week. The first, which can be seen here, is for the Jacksonville Public Library and is very typical of what you’d expect. It’s not a bad logo, but it doesn’t break any conventions (not that logos should break conventions). It works as an identifier which is what most good logos do. But the second library logo for the Calgary Public Library is different. Described as “science-y” by one designer, the icon signals connections and appears to be reflective of the building’s unique frame structure. We can’t help but see a spider’s web or maybe a fingerprint.

We wrap up the week with this video logo for Google celebrating Langston Hughes 113th birthday. Hughes was an accomplished American poet, novelist, and dramatist. And the logo is very cool.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments:

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