Coming from the world of Action Sports and Motorsports apparel to founding a tech startup is a bit of a change and a hell of a challenge. For me, the one thing that will never change is having a great brand identity. Building a brand might sometimes call for rebuilding a brand. After conjuring up the idea of Apparl a few years back, I set out to commandeer a logo that would not only speak to me but would speak to our potential users. I found myself searching through hundreds of logos on some website and eventually settled on what I thought would be a good representation of our startup. The graphic artist that I had purchased the logo from was very helpful in tweaking the logo to fit our needs and providing us with the necessary file formats. I was happy with this design in the beginning, but as time went on I felt like there was something missing. I’m not sure what software he’d use to create said logo but the icon wasn’t as crisp as I’d hoped. It didn’t look like it was created on an Adobe platform and it definitely wasn’t “retina-ready” as it looked a little blurry when viewed on my MacBook Pro.
Wikipedia defines a “Corporate Identity” as the overall image of a corporation, firm or business in the minds of diverse publics, such as customers, investors and employees. I didn’t feel that our overall image was totally intact yet. All of the warm and fuzzies about the logo were all but gone. At that point, I decided that Apparl was in need of a rebranding and a new corporate identity. Although I had fallen in love with the previous logo, I wasn’t married to it. Experience taught me that proper branding is just as important as the product or service that your company provides. In some cases, it’s more important. I did not want to push forward with the project until we had our identity overhauled. And when I say overhauled, that would include everything from our logo to our promotional products. After a bit of research and our due diligence, we were able to compile a list of graphic designers that had the desired skill and creativity that we were looking for. We eventually settled on Graphic Designer, Mitko Mitov, who did a wonderful job in bringing my logo idea to fruition. And when I say “My”, I mean “Our”.
Here’s a bit of advice for those who are in need of a company identity and those of you who are in need serious denial of needing a revamping of their company identity:
1. If your company logo, company brand colors, company merchandise (swag), business cards, website, blog, stationaries, or letterheads don’t have one cohesive theme that represents your brand name, start over.
2. If you think your brand/company could be much better represented than it currently is for whatever reason, start over.
There is nothing wrong with pivoting and going back to the drawing board. There is a difference between creative criticism and hating. You’ll have to discern the difference between the two. Be willing to listen to criticism from your partners and colleagues. Ask your potential users or customers if they “easily” understand your logo. Hell, ask them if they understand what your company’s name is about. You’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression. I find that some of the most creative brand names, logos, and corporate identities are coming from many tech startups. However, some of the dumbest company names, logos, and corporate identities on earth can be found just one click away on Instagram. Start over!