Logo Design News This Week (4.46)

It’s Friday again so as usual, we’re taking a quick look back at the news from the world of logo design. The last weeks of the year tend to be a little slow when it comes to new and updated brand designs, so this may be out last update until the new year. We’ll keep an eye on the news and if something big happens, you’ll read about it here. Until then, this is what caught our attention this week.

New York Firefighter 150th LogoWe noticed a couple of New York related logos this week. First the City of New York’s Fire Department is celebrating its 150th birthday next year. And part of the celebration is the launch of a new logo featuring the city’s skyline (this may be one of the first new logos to include the Freedom Tower) and Statue of Liberty. Note the two blue lines shining upward in tribute to the fallen twin towers and the fire fighters who lost their lives on 9/11. A fitting tribute and a nice crest-type logo.

 

 

IDNYC LogoThe other Gotham-related logo is for IDNYC, the new identity card for New Yorkers that will be accepted by Police and other government offices as official identification. Plus the card gets you free entry into more than 30 different New York museums, parks, and other cultural institutions. The card is free for residents.

No doubt you heard about the data breach at Sony and the cancellation of the upcoming movie: The Interview. In response to what many people feel is capitulation, someone created this new logo for Sony. Funny.

NYCUA Logo DesignWe saw a bit of bank related logo news this week as well. First the Credit Union Association of New York is changing its name to the New York Credit Union Association. And they got a new logo. This change will make a big difference to anyone who sees the new name. One member of the board says that by putting New York first, they directly communicate what state they represent. Because the old name didn’t make that at all clear. Look, we’re all for updating brands and the logos that represent them, but why not be honest? No one knows who we are and we’re hoping by making a totally insignificant change to our brand that might change. But that’s not likely in our opinion.

Al Rayan Logo DesignThe other new bank logo we spotted was for the formerly named Islamic Bank of Britain which is now called Al Rayan Bank (its Qatari name). The name and logo change come after Al Rayan pumped several million pounds not the bank previously this year. The bank has ambitious plans for growth in the coming year.

We seem to be getting logos in sets of two this week. Let’s look at a couple of news items regarding college logos. First, a couple of weeks ago, we told you that the University of Southern Mississippi was considering two options for the school’s new logo. After some deliberation, the school ignored our advice and selected the traditional eye.

King's College London Logo DesignIn other college related logo news: King’s College London apparently has a new logo that cost something in the neighborhood of £300,000 (roughly $470,000). The new logo was supposed to be released last week, but an internal dispute has delayed the announcement. And when you see the mock-up that Roar had someone familiar with the design create, you’ll understand why. The resulting icon is befuddling. It is a red K with a white L almost superimposed on it, which no one will see. We’re all for hidden elements and double entendres in logo design, but this misses the mark. And at that price!

How about one more college logo: Trinity College in Dublin has updated their’s.

2016 NCAA Final Four Logo DesignEven though its still 16 months away, the NCAA unveiled the new logo for the Final Four (part of the March Madness Tournament) to be held in Houston, April 2016. And, like pretty much every other tournament logo, it is exactly what you would expect. A ball. A couple of color and symbol references to the host city (the star for Texas and the flag colors on the banner). Mix in the NCAA logo, which looks very out of place given its color and some odd shading on the type and you get this. Meh.

The Geek Girls have a first look at the logo for Disney’s live-action Jungle Book movie.

Google Kandinsky Logo DesignEach week we usually end our update with a look at a new Google logo from the previous few days. This week we saw this excellent design celebrating artist Wassily Kandinsky’s 148th birthday. Kandinsky was one of the first truly abstract painters. We first heard of Kandinsky when we saw Will Smith’s Six Degrees of Separation which featured a fictional two-sided painting with angles on one side and circles on the other. Now that would make a great logo.

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

Posted in Logo Design This Week, Logos, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Katniss Everdeen and Mockingjay Can Teach You about Building Your Brand

You may have read the best-selling Hunger Games trilogy—the story of children forced to fight (and kill) each other in a dystopian society and the rebellion that follows. Or you may have seen one of the popular movies based on the series. They are troubling, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

As entertaining as they are, the books and movies also provide a good lesson on how to build a compelling brand. The rise of Katniss Everdeen from resourceful teenager to “Mocking Jay” and hero of the rebellion holds several great lessons for anyone trying to build a great brand and company.

Here are seven brand building lessons from the Hunger Games to keep in mind:

Mockingjay Pin1. Your Brand Needs a Symbol (Logo).
At the beginning of the story, after she has been chosen as a participant in the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is given a pin fashioned to look like a mocking jay—a bird genetically engineered to sing and repeat any sound it hears. She wears the pin throughout the games. During the games (and the story progresses) the mocking jay comes to represent not just Katniss, but also her defiance of the capital, and the entire rebellion.

Similarly, your brand’s logo comes to represent the products and ideas associated with your product or service. It may not even matter what the symbol is (a bear or wolf symbol would have worked just as well for Katniss). Or how much your logo costs. What matters is that you have a symbol that can be positively associated with your brand.

Don’t believe us that it can be just about anything? Great companies have made use of swooshes, lines, boxes, and dots. They have used cartoon characters and silhouettes. Animal shapes, arrows, and letters. Some have costs as little as $35, others cost millions. All have been successful.

What matters is that there is a symbol and that you use it consistently to represent the ideas associated with your brand. If you need a logo to start building your brand check out our logo design software.

2. Your Brand Needs to Stand for Something.
The Mocking Jay series starts out with Katniss volunteering to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games (a brutal competition that pits 24 kids in a days-long death match made for TV). Her only purpose is to save her sister. But as the story goes on, Katniss’ purpose changes and expands. She stands up to the government, defying its will, and before the end of the story, becomes the heroine who represents the rebellion against the police state of Panem.

Your brand story isn’t quite that dramatic, right? But you do need to stand for something. Marketing experts have long taught the principles of positioning—finding an idea that your brand can associate itself with and be known for.

Some examples from a few big brands that have done this well:

• Through consistently brilliant advertising, Volvo came to be associated with “safety”. Whether it was true or not, people thought of those boxy Volvos as a safe choice when buying a car.

• In the 60s and 70s, Avis was a distant second to car rental industry industry leader Hertz. So they embraced the idea that if they were going to earn your business, they would have to try harder than Hertz. The cars would be cleaner. Newer. Less Expensive. They would work harder to please their customers.

• Long before everyone carried their iPods and iPhones in their pockets, Apple embraced the idea that their products weren’t for everybody. They had less than 5% of the computer market. But those who did use them were often artists, designers, and other creative types. So Apple advertised that they were for people who “think different”—an idea many people still associate with the brand, more than a decade after the last ad in the campaign ran.

What does your brand stand for? It can be anything, but if you want to build a great brand, it must be something.

3. Design Matters.
One of the fortunate things that happens to Katniss upon her arrival in the Capital is the assignment of Cinna, a stylist with a flair for great design, to her team. Tributes from District 12 (Katniss’ home) are traditionally dressed as coal minors for their public appearances—a look that is a bit hokey. Rather than play to type, Cinna reimagines the District 12 look into something dazzling and totally unexpected.
 

Your brand’s design doesn’t have to be over-the-top or expensive. But it should support the ideas your brand stands for. If you brand is cheap or inexpensive, the design should reflect that. If your brand is exclusive, the design should reflect that. Whatever your brand stands for (whimsy, tradition, good taste, delicious, fun, etc), the design of your packaging, website, logo, and other marketing materials should help customers feel it.

4. Your Brand Needs to Get Attention.
Before the games begin, Katniss has an opportunity to perform for the game makers. But they’ve been watching contestants all day, are bored, and are paying more attention to their lavish dinner.

How to get their attention? Katniss pulls out an arrow, aims it toward the crowd gathered around the table, and fires an arrow at the apple stuffed in the roasted pig’s mouth, pinning it against the wall—and shocking the game makers. It works.

When it comes to brands getting attention, you could do worse than these:

Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell• On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell ran an ad in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell (to help reduce the national debt) and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. Readers were outraged. But the stunt got attention: more than 650 print publications and 400 broadcast reports covered the news. This was before anyone on the Internet could point out it was an April Fools Day joke.

• Pepsi filmed taste tests between their cola and Coca-Cola showing customers choosing Pepsi over Coke. It was wildly successful and forced Coke to change their formula in response (in what became one of the biggest marketing disasters of the century, but that’s another story).

• When author Peter Shankman jokingly tweeted that he wanted a porterhouse steak delivered to the Newark airport when he landed, Mortons Steak House delivered. A tuxedoed waiter was waiting for him upon his arrival. Twitter lit up with hundreds of retweets and the story was repeated dozens of times online.

What can you do to get attention for your brand?

5. You May Need to Take A Risk or Two.
Katniss forms an alliance with a very young tribute named Rue, who can’t possibly give her an advantage or any real help in fending off the professionally trained tributes from the richer districts. But it turns out that Rue saves Katniss from those very tributes when she points out a hive of genetically engineered wasps (tracker jackers) which she drops on the competitors, saving her life.

At the End of the first Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta (the other competitor from District 12) have won. But when the rules are changed to force them to fight each other to the death, Katniss suggests they eat the poisonous nightlock berries they had found depriving the Capital of a winner. She hopes that they game makers would rather have two winners than none, though she can’t be sure. The gamble pays off.

Fans of the books and movies can go certainly name other instances where Katniss (or even Peeta) does something that at first appears to be foolish or risky, but pays off in a big way.

What risks can you take to elevate your brand and grow your business?

Back when Starbucks was a tiny one store coffee bean seller, Howard Shultz became convinced that customers would flock to an Italian espresso bar experience, despite the fact that no one had done it before. When the owners of Starbucks rejected his idea, he left and started his own chain of coffee stores called Il Giornale. A year later, when the opportunity arose, he risked everything to buy the Starbucks name and stores (they had grown to six). 21,160 stores and $15 billion later, it would appear the risk paid off.

So what risks do you need to take to move your business to the next level? Is it an unconventional hire? Launch a new product category? Or maybe you need to cut back and focus on your core product? Try a new marketing strategy? What ever it is, building a truly great brand often requires taking significant risks with big potential pay-offs.

6. You Don’t Have to be the Best. But You Do Have to Survive.
Hunger Games VictorsAs the Hunger Games begins, it is obvious that Katniss is out gunned. She’s not trained to fight, she is disliked by the other competitors and her potential sponsors, and she isn’t up for the psychological trauma of the games (not that we blame her). Very few people would pick her to win the games.

But she does have a few skills that help her survive. She is good with a bow and arrow. She is compassionate (at times). And she wants to protect Peeta. She’s not the best contestant to win, but by applying the skills she does have, plus a bit of luck, she does win.

The same lesson is applicable to creating a great brand. The best product doesn’t always win. In the late 70s, Sony developed Betamax, a video recording technology that many believed was far superior to existing VHS tapes. Unfortunately for Sony, competing manufacturers adopted the other standard. Both products went to market, where customers preferred Sony’s competitors over Betamax.

The list of inferior products that have succeeded is long. Most markets have room for more than one competitor, which means several products of differing quality can succeed.

You don’t have to be the best, but you do have to do everything you can to succeed.

7. You Probably Can’t Do It Alone.
Perhaps the biggest lesson from the Hunger Games trilogy is that while one person can make a difference, it takes a lot of teamwork to win. Katniss needs help from Rue and Peeta to win the first games (along with stylists, sponsors, and advisors), and a larger contingent of allies to survive the second. And to challenge the Capital, she needs help from the districts, including the mysterious District 13.

From time to time, brands find it advantageous to work together to promote their mutual interests. This recent commercial from Arby’s is a good example. But it’s not the only one.

Automakers often promote complimentary brands with their cars—things like the brand of tires, satellite radio, or services like OnStar. Department stores often have kiosks or entire departments dedicated to particular brands. Airlines and credit card companies often promote each other. And the list goes on.

The same is true for your brand. To grow your brand and find real success, you’ll need the help of partners, customers, and others on your team. Who can you rely on for help in building your brand and growing your business? Are there products related to yours that you can hitch yourself to or cross-promote?

We’ve made it sound simple—follow these seven ideas and you’ll succeed. It’s not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and a bit of luck. It takes a remarkable product, as well as a logo, a purpose, and great design. It requires taking risks and doing everything to survive.

But if you do what Katniss Everdeen does in the Hunger Games, you just might create and grow a remarkable, compelling brand.

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

Posted in Branding | Leave a comment

9 Quotes for Small Businesses and Startups from Costco Cofounder, James Sinegal

James Sinegal QuotesJames Sinegal cofounded Costco in 1983 and served as the retail chain’s leader and CEO until his retirement (to the board) at the end of 2011. Sinegal grew up in the retail world, starting his career as a grocery bagger where he fell in love and became forever committed to the business.

Sinegal’s business strategy for the top warehouse-club retailer is marked by his voluntarily low salary (compared to other CEOs) while making sure employee compensation was in the top percentile for comparable jobs in the market ($40k annually for legacy cashiers). In general, his business philosophy was to provide high quality at low prices, keep an open door policy throughout all levels of management, and essentially make every decision based on the long game without considering what the short-term gains might be. It worked.

Technology is important and so tends to steal the spotlight, but we don’t want to forget that sometimes the best business advice comes from getting back to the basics of retail strategy. These quotes from Sinegal can easily be applied to any business’s long term strategy:

“The one constant is value. Value is appreciated no matter where you go.”

“If you’re a big-picture guy, you’re not in the picture. Retail is detail.”

“We only have one bullet in our gun: the right product at the right price.”

“I think the biggest single thing that causes difficulty in the business world is the short-term view. We become obsessed with it. But it forces bad decisions.”

“When employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors.”

“Paying your employees well is not only the right thing to do but it makes for good business.”

“If you’ve got to work for the rest of your life, you’d better do something you’ll enjoy.”

“In the final analysis, you get what you pay for.”

“You have to take the shit with the sugar.”

—James Sinegal, Co-founder of Costco

Posted in Advice, Quotes, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Logo Design News This Week (4.45)

It’s Friday, which for millions of people around the world means it’s the day after the new Serial episode is out. For the rest of us, it’s the day we take a look back at the biggest news from the world of logo design. Here’s what caught out attention.

Rome Braves Alt Logo DesignWe’ve noted this before, but we love this time of year—baseball’s off-season. Because this is the time of year when minor league teams introduce new logos, often to drum up support and ticket sales for the new season. So this week we saw a new logo for the Rome Braves. Looking at the logo (which we mostly like), the connections to baseball and Rome (the one in the old country) are pretty obvious. But we’re struggling to see the connection to any braves. What we don’t like is the way the “R” is slapped on the helmet and not curved to fit the artwork. A quibble. Maybe the better criticism is that it looks an awfully lot like Marvin the Martian.

More baseball logo news: The South Bend Cubs also unveiled a new logo, which is exactly what you would expect from a team called the Cubs. And the Cincinnati Reds have a slightly altered version of their logo on their batting caps. Finally, here’s the new logo for the Sussex County Minors.

Everett City LogoA few weeks ago, we told you about the City of Everett, which was having a contest to choose a new logo for the city. Well, after 850 entries and 5,700 votes, a winner has been chosen. And given how bad the vast majority of the designs were, they didn’t do so bad. But what they got is very corporate and doesn’t “say” anything about the community. Oh, and some people think it looks too much like another corporate logo. The two logos are close, but we don’t think the design is stolen. Then there is this.

We hate stuff like this. Two companies, both with beaver logos. They don’t look much alike, but the bigger company forces the smaller one to get a new logo. How anyone could mix up the two logos is beyond us.

New Deviant Art LogoWe saw a lot of online chatter about the new logo design for Deviant Art, an online art forum where designers and other artists post their work (some of it very NSFW). Here’s the brand page that explains the new design. Given that this is a community of talented artists, virtually all of them had an opinion about the new logo. Many don’t like it and have posted their own “fixes” to the site.

Vietnam has a new logo that looks a lot like the tourism logos for a bunch of other countries. Formal icon? Check. Bright colors? Check. Meaningless tagline? Check.

New Cincinnati Streetcar LogoKolar Design was paid $25,000 (federal funds) for this new logo for Cincinnati Streetcar, the city’s light rail service. Along with the new logo, the city is selling founder’s club cards which allow holders to ride the street car an unlimited number of times in the first couple of months. While the logo easily fits in with other metro/train/subway service logos, it also incorporates the thick capital C that represents the city. The streetcar won’t run for another 21 months, so there’s plenty of time for people to get to know the new look.

Now seems like a decent time to remind everyone that can get a great logo for just $49 here if you don’t have federal funds to cover your design budget.

Impact wrestling has a new logoImpact Wrestling Logo Design and we’re not impressed. Neither is this Twitter commenter who points out its shape is a little phallic. That’s not what we see, but it isn’t a great logo. Look at the different line weights of the font and the different angles on the letters. Dislike.

Put your hands up in the air for the new Wisconsin Humane Society logo.

Annie Jump Cannon Google Logo DesignWe wrap up this week with a quick look at the new Google logo celebrating astronomer Annie Jump Cannon’s 151st birthday. She developed a classification system for stars based on their temperatures.

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

Posted in Logos, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

9 Reasons You Haven’t Finished Your Logo (Yet)

Every day, hundreds of customers try our logo maker software. But too many walk away without the logo design that they need. You may be one of them. We really don’t want that to happen. Here are the reasons most of them (and maybe you) walk away… and what you can do differently to make sure you get a logo you love!

#1 I’m not a designer. I don’t know how to start.
This is probably the number one reason people turn away. You can’t draw much of anything beyond a stick figure. You’re not alone. In fact, that’s exactly why we created our logo maker software. We had our professional design team create nearly 10,000 icons. They aren’t clip art, they are real logo designs that you can use as a starting point for your own brand.

Finish LineHere’s how it works: click the start button (or just click here) to launch the software. There’s nothing to download—it just runs in your web browser. Once the software opens, you can either choose the category related to your business or product, or enter a term into the search field and hit enter. You’ll see all the designs we have related to that category or term. Once you find one you like, click it. Then you can enter text, choose a font (there are almost 50 options), and change the colors.

The fact that you’re not a designer won’t stop you. The software is designed to make it simple—and fast. For anyone. You can have an amazing logo you’ll love in just a few minutes.

#2 I can’t find an icon that I like.
The Logomaker software has nearly 10,000 icons to choose from, including shapes, swirls, letters, animals, flames, boxes… the list is long. So it may take some searching and a bit of imagination, but you’re almost certain to find something here that will work for you.

If you’ve looked and there’s nothing that works, let us know. We’ll do our best to help you find what you’re looking for (it can be a challenge with so many icons to sort through) or we’ll put you in touch with a designer who can create something a little more unique for your project (there may be an extra charge for this service).

With so many logo icons, we’re certain you’ll find something that will work brilliantly!

#3 I just don’t like how the elements are coming together.
True enough. Getting things just right can be a bit challenging. Not because it’s hard, but because you don’t want to settle for less than perfect. We get that!

If you’re unfamiliar with the software, it can be a bit of a challenge. So we put together a kind-of user manual that will help you see how to do it. If you’re interested, you can download a copy here. It will show you how you can adjust, rotate, and flip your icon, how to place the text so you can use different colors, where to click to change the colors, and some great examples of the kinds of amazing logos you can create. Worth checking out if you need that logo soon!

#4 The colors don’t feel right.
One of the best things about our Logomaker software is the almost limitless options when it comes to colors. But that can cause some trouble as well—not all colors mix well. Match a greenish-yellow with a reddish purple and you could have a messy disaster on your hands.

Fortunately there are some easy solutions. If you have a color combination that you like (something you might find at Adobe’s color picker, for example), you can find the hex codes (this is the programming number associated with the color on websites) in our color picker. This may help you to match the colors better.

And, if you need help to get the colors just right, you can let us know what you’re trying to do and we’ll see if we can adjust the files for you. Just email us and let us know how we can help.

Feedback#5 I want some feedback before I decide.
We don’t blame you. It’s smart to ask for a second (or third) opinion on what you’ve created. So we’ve tried to make it easy for you. Once you’ve created a brand design that you love, you can use our ask-a-friend feature to reach out to a few trusted colleagues for their input. (Occasionally the email program we use won’t send to some addresses, in that case you can take a quick screen capture or picture of the logo and email it to your friends directly). Ask them what they think. Then incorporate any changes that make sense and download the files you need. Speaking of which…

#6 I’m worried I won’t get the files I need.
We’ve seen other logo design software that only provides you with one file type when you make your purchase (usually a JPG). And if that file isn’t a high-resolution vector file (like an EPS) then what you are getting is close to worthless.

Logomaker.com provides you with ten different file types and sizes when you purchase your logo. You’ll get the high-resolution EPS file that you need to print your logo on business cards, signs, billboards, and more. You’ll also get JPGs, PNGs, and GIFs in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. These files are designed to be used online, with Microsoft Office, and much more. Check out this page to learn more about what you get with Logomaker.

One more thing: if you’ve purchased your logo and need a special file type or size for some application we haven’t thought of, we’ll create it for you, if we can. Just ask. We’re here to help.

#7 I’m worried that this is some kind of scam.
Believe it or not, we’ve heard this from a few potential customers. And we understand. No one wants to get ripped off by some fly-by-night design company that won’t be here to back up their work next month. That’s not us. We’re the oldest online logo maker application and proud of it. We’ve been here since 2004 (more than a decade!) and plan on being here for years to come.

Expensive#8 The logo is just too expensive.
There was a time, not so long ago, that if you wanted a logo, you had to pay thousands of dollars and wait weeks or even months to get the final designs. These days there are a lot of options that offer logos for a few hundred dollars, and in some cases even less than that.

Our high-resolution logos are just $49—and with that you get unlimited service from our team here, 10 different file formats (including a high-resolution EPS file), plus we store the logo in your account (and up to five others) for no additional charge—forever.

But if that’s still too much money for a logo, we also offer a free web logo with no strings attached and nothing to buy. Simply design the logo you want, save it, then click the free logo button in your account. You’ll get an HTML snippet that you can paste in the header of your webpage that will display your logo whenever someone views your website.

$49 or free. We have a price that’s right for everyone.

#9 I don’t need a logo.
You may be right. And if that’s the case, don’t buy one! But before you make up your mind, here are a few questions to ask yourself to figure out if you really need a logo. You might want to check this out too.

If you decide you don’t… fair enough. But if you do need a logo after all, choose the best online logo maker to help you get a logo you will truly love—Logomaker.com.

Do you have a reason for not getting a logo that we haven’t thought of? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can figure out a way to help.

 

Photo credits: Andrew_D_Hurleygiulia.forsythe, and Historias Visuales via photopin cc

 

Posted in Advice, Logos | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Quotes to Motivate your Start-up from Evan Spiegel, Co-founder of Snapchat

Evan Spiegel Startup QuotesForbes journalist J.J. Colao said of Evan Spiegel that he “will either become the next great billionaire prodigy or the ultimate cautionary tale of youthful hubris.” At 24, Spiegel’s ego is perhaps his only fully developed and proven attribute, but the street cred to back that ego up isn’t far behind.

Spiegel grew up in the prestigious Pacific Palisades area of California, the son of two lawyers. He attended Stanford University until he dropped out to focus on his entrepreneurial brainchild, Snapchat. Snapchat is the smartphone app that allows the user to send a picture to selected contacts on a timer. When the time’s up, the picture disappears forever (well, unless the recipient takes a screenshot). Snapchatters send 400 million Snaps each day, matching the daily upload totals of Facebook and Instagram combined.

The impermanence the app allows is what differentiates itself from other social media picture platforms, which might explain why Mark Zuckerberg offered Spiegel and his co-founders $3 billion in cash in November 2013 to acquire the app (Spiegel declined the offer, hence the “cautionary tale of youthful hubris” comment). But now, one year later, investors value Snapchat at $10 billion. So, good call, Spiegel. Your ego has served you well so far.

Even though Spiegel hasn’t cashed in on his labor or patience, we don’t think it’s premature to showcase a few quotes from this young entrepreneur. Here’s Spiegel’s take on business and start-ups, and a glimpse into why he has that cocky reputation:

“There are very few people in the world who get to build a business… I think trading that for some short-term gain isn’t very interesting.”

“It’s no surprise companies that quickly grow in value attract those who may want to also profit from the hard work of others.”

“It’s not about working harder; it’s about working the system.”

“Be thoughtful and mindful about the things you say to other people.”

“When we first started working on Snapchat in 2011, it was just a toy. In many ways it still is—but to quote Eames, ‘Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas.’”

—Evan Spiegel, Co-founder of Snapchat

Posted in Advice, Quotes, Start-ups | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Logo Design News This Week (4.44)

We’re back after a week off to digest turkey and watch football, though we doubt our absence was noticed by many. But a week away means that there’s a double portion of logo design news to work through this week. So let’s get started… Here’s what caught our attention this week:

New 7up Logo DesignHere’s a great new logo for soft drink brand 7 Up. We really like this cleaned up, stripped down, flattened version of the iconic design. The brand has been using a red backgound since the 1950s, which was changed to a red bubble by 1964. The new look seems to be retro and modern at the same time. More upscale then the typical soda brand. A few of the news reports of this new design say the rollout will begin in the middle east. There’s a really cool collection of vintage 7Up ads here (scroll down a bit). We think the brand might have gone even a step further and resurrected the “Uncola” tagline. An opportunity missed.

The European Union may have a new logo.

Valencia CF Logo DesignDC Comics filed a complaint with the European Union alleging that football club, Valencia CF, is infringing on the Batman logo. True enough, the logos look similar—after all there are only so many ways you can draw a streamlined, heroic bat. The problem here for DC is that the football club had been using a bat as part of its logo for twenty years before Batman was born and orphaned. In fact, the city of Valencia has had a connection to bats since James I of Aragon liberated Valencia from the Moors in the 13th century. Then just as we doubted the European courts will side with the comic book company, Valencia pulled the plug on the new design. Problem solved.

Another Spanish soccer logo controversy… at least for some. Real Madrid signed a three year strategic alliance with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and removed a cross from their logo to avoid offending muslim sensibilities.

Scrappers Logo DesignWe saw a few dodgy sports logos this week. First, the Detroit Lions unveiled a logo to celebrate their 75th Thanksgiving Day game. And it’s not too bad if you don’t look at the clip-art looking football player and lion. Then, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (single-A baseball affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) introduced a new secondary mark. Ugh. The team says this is “just the beginning of even more exciting things to come for the 2015 season.” Lets hope the upcoming excitement doesn’t include any more bad logos. And then there’s the new look for the Biloxi Shuckers, which is a bit crowded/messy, but at least has a bit of character.

The just finished month of November is becoming famous as the month when men stop shaving to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Now it appears at least one very cool logo is getting in on the act.

Dayton Chrisitan Warriors Logo DesignWe saw a couple of new college logos this week. Let’s start with the new mark for William & Mary College which keeps the calligraphic WM cypher (which dates back to 1714) but updates the logotype with a more modern font. Very nice. And almost entirely opposite in look, feel, and history is this new logo for the Dayton Christian Warriors featuring several christian symbols. The Warriors brand mark is designed to be identifiable as Christian even when separated from the name of the school.

Russian gun maker Kalashnikov introduced a new look and tagline this week. The new slogan is “Weapons of Peace.” No, we’re not joking.

The Flying Scotsman Logo DesignThanksgiving was a great opportunity for a new Google logo design. And sure enough, Google delivered the goods with a living, breathing turkey. But we really liked this logo celebrating St. Andrew’s Day and the 80th anniversary of the Flying Scotsman which was only shown in the United Kingdom.

Did we miss your favorite new design? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Logomaker, Logos, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Want to Start an Online Business? Read These Three Books Now.

We’re big book fans. And when we find a good book, we like to share it. Like this list of 7 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read. That list is a couple of years old now, but everyone of those books is still great. Or check out this list of 5 Books that Will Change the Way You Think. Another great list.

But recently we’ve come across a few other books that are worth recommending. Unlike the books on the lists above, these books are focused on starting an online business and marketing to online customers.

If you’re looking for a quick, inspirational read (about starting a new business) to download to your kindle, iPad, or just to hold in your hand, these books are just about perfect. And they’re all available for less than $10. Check them out:

7 Day Startup BookThe 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch by Dan Norris
I just downloaded and read this book after hearing about it on a podcast. If you’ve ever wanted to start an online business, this is the book to read. Dan Norris tells about how he started business after business, only to see each one fail. It’s when he has almost given up, down to his last few dollars, and ready to look for a “real” job that he finally finds success.

The irony isn’t that Norris has figured it all out, after so many failures. It’s his last shot. One last desperate attempt to succeed. He doesn’t take any time to think through the idea, to prove the concept with potential customers, or to get things right. He’s up and running in less than seven days. And for the first time in more than a decade, his business is a runaway success.

Norris walks you through the steps he took: coming up with the idea, evaluating it, choosing a business name, creating the website in one day (and for $100 or less), and more. Definitely check out this book if you are thinking of starting an online business. It’s just $3.99 for the Kindle version. Buy it here.

Start Small, Stay SmallStart Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling
Like The 7 Day Startup, Rob Walling’s book is all about starting an online business. And Walling gets into the details in a big way. This is less about his personal experience (though he shares some examples from his first couple of businesses) and more about the how-to start an online business without venture funding, co-founders (or even employees), and without spending 70-80 hours a week working on your business.

The author is a programmer. But what’s unique about this book is his recommendations to start marketing before you spend any time programming or building your product. Follow his advice to learn how to come up with ideas for a business, how to validate your idea so you know customers will buy your product, and even how to name your product.

Walling is a serial entrepreneur who finds and idea, builds it, grows it, then as the business hits its stride, starts with a new idea. His advice is awesome. (You can here more from him in this excellent podcast: Startups for the Rest of Us). You can get his book at his site or at Amazon where the Kindle version is just $10. One caveat: the book hasn’t been updated for a couple of years. The information is still great, but there are a few dead links. Still worth every penny. Buy it here.

Traction BookTraction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg
Once you’ve read the two books above, you’ll want to start reading and underlining this book. Weinberg (who is the founder of the search engine Duck Duck Go) draws on more than a dozen interviews with successful founders to dig into the marketing tactics that helped them gain traction with customers.

Today its easy to build a product and put up a website—the two books above will show you how easy it is. The problems start when you have to market your idea. And that’s where this book comes in. You’ll learn how other successful businesses have used public relations, search engine optimization, email, content marketing, online advertising, affiliates, and more. There’s almost no way you’ll walk away from this book without a few ideas to try. When it comes to growing your business, this book will be the one you reach for again and again. Like the others, it’s available at Amazon (and of this writing, it’s just $3.99). Buy it here.

Do you have a favorite startup book? We’re always looking for more to read. Tell us about it in the comments.

Posted in Advice, Books | Leave a comment

13 Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs from Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran Small Business QuotesBarbara Corcoran is most recently recognized as the first female on Shark Tank based on her credentials as the woman who turned a $1,000 loan from her boyfriend into a billion dollar empire. Sure, it didn’t happen overnight, but can you say “quintessential entrepreneurial dream”?

Corcoran’s degree is in education. She taught school for one year before picking up part time jobs, one of which involved renting apartments in New York City. Her entrepreneurial breakthrough came when she published a New York City real estate guide highlighting trends in the market and then sending it to prominent New York City newspapers. Sources like The New York Times picked up The Corcoran Report, legitimizing her business at no cost to Corcoran. She also has an uncontested claim as the first person to think of using the internet to show real estate properties.

After nearly 3 decades in the industry, she sold her real estate business for $66 million in 2001. Since that time, she has continued as a syndicated real estate columnist and contributor, author, and savvy investor (which is how she turned her $66M into more than $1B).

Corcoran is also a sought-after key note lecturer and subject matter expert. Here are some of her most quoted pieces of advice for entrepreneurs:

“If you want to be noticed, dress the part.”

“Failure is my specialty.”

“Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.”

“Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.”

“People want to do business with someone they like. If people like you, they’re going to want to do business with you. And if they don’t you’re going to have an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome.”

“Most great entrepreneurs I know are nothing like the other kids. They’re almost like tangent lines—those lines that seem to go nowhere. Nothing connects them, until they get out in the real world. Then they connect just fine.”

“A good organization is like a box of crayons. You need different colors of the spectrum, but all the crayons should fit in the box.”

“Always choose attitude over experience. Always.”

“That ability to pop back up is true of anyone who succeeds in their field.”

“Great sales people [don’t] have the ability to feel sorry for themselves.”

“In business, you’re the Chief Salesman. Create a sense of demand, rather than waiting to have demand.”

“The joy is in the getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you’re in the pit together, are the best years of your life. So rather than being so focused on when you get big and powerful, if you can just get the juice out of that… don’t miss it.”

“If you get labeled a winner, people come along for the ride.”

—Barbara Corcoran, Entrepreneur, Shark Tank Investor

Posted in Advice, Entrepreneur, Start-ups, Success | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

16 Inspiring Quotes for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Small Business from Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki QuotesYou know him as the creator of the Rich Dad brand based on his Rich Dad Poor Dad book series. Robert Kiyosaki is also an entrepreneur, an investor, financial commentator and radio personality.

Originally from Hilo, Hawaii, Kiyosaki graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy which, if not necessarily unlikely, is an unpredictable start for an entrepreneur of his caliber. Being a small business owner or entrepreneur isn’t always marked with success. For Kiyosaki, he endured multiple bankruptcies and a car-dwelling situation before hitting his stride by making a series of smart business ventures and getting into real estate investing. Acquisition of hard assets is a concept that he both practices and preaches. His approach to financial success and business falls a little outside the traditional path, but the result of his success has bred the same lessons for him as any other entrepreneur.

Kiyosaki is a champion of the entrepreneur and he’s liberal with advice: learn to sell, brand, and market. Considering his book series and significant media presence, it’s not hard to find his advice and inspiration for entrepreneurs, but we’ve curated some of the best nuggets here:

“If you are the kind of person who is waiting for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait for a long time. It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green for five miles before starting the trip.”

“Often, in the real world, it’s not the smart who get ahead but the bold.”

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.”

“When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.”

“If you avoid failure, you also avoid success.”

“Critics only make you stronger. You have to look at what they are saying as feedback. Sometimes the feedback helps, and other times, it’s just noise that can be a distraction.”

“The thing most people don’t pick up when they become an entrepreneur is that it never ends. It’s 24/7.”

“You have to look for teachers. If you want to be a mechanic, go hang out with mechanics.”

“I believe that one key to success is to accept truth – no matter how it’s spoken.”

“Quitting is the easiest thing to do.”

“Inside every problem lies an opportunity.”

“Face your fears and doubts, and new worlds will open to you.”

“I wasn’t born a natural entrepreneur. I had to be trained.”

“Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to trust your team. It’s a lesson I’ve had to relearn quite a few times.”

“Success is not a stop sign.”

“Most businesses think that product is the most important thing, but without great leadership, mission and a team that deliver results at a high level, even the best product won’t make a company successful.”

—Robert T. Kiyosaki, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor

Posted in Advice, Entrepreneur, Quotes, Small Business, Start-ups, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment