Case study: designing a logo for a start-up business

One of the most common briefs that we receive at Monchü is from start-up businesses, looking for support with their logo design. It’s a style of project that we enjoy doing, because it often marks the start of a journey for a start-up founder, and we love being part of that.

In this post we’re going to use EdPlus as a case study for how we approach designing a logo for a start-up business at Monchü.

The Brief

Edplus was founded 2018, as an Oxford University spinout company. The ambition was to build an app to make learning at home easier and more fun for children, whilst ensuring that they remained engaged with their learning. Toby Staveley, co-founder of EdPlus, approached Monchü to design the new EdPlus logo.

They wanted a logo which:

  • Would speak to both parents and children
  • Was fun and somewhat cheeky
  • Would work well in black and white, but also fit with the blue colour already chosen for the EdPlus app
  • Would speak to the purpose of learning
  • Would demonstrate the depth of knowledge behind the app – it’s powered by a complex algorithm developed by EdPlus co-founder and world-renowned mathematician Professor Francis Brown.

They also liked the idea of having a logo which incorporated the name ‘EdPlus’ alongside an icon which would represent their brand’s purpose. Examples of this which they thought worked well were Slack and Airbnb. At the end of this post we’ll give some of our advice and tips for designing a logo, but this is one important area – exploring existing brand logos to see what kind of style you like, and what would work best with your brand.

Our process

Monchü’s graphic design team took this brief and developed some initial concepts for the EdPlus logo. You can see some of these first-stage concepts below.

Edplus
Edplus
Edplus
Edplus

We immediately gravitated towards the idea of nodes to demonstrate that EdPlus was all about enhancing learning, and to represent the level of research and development which had gone into the app. This idea of nodes was something that EdPlus had also been using to show how their algorithm worked, and so it fitted nicely.

Alongside the nodes, we’d used a variety of different fonts, all with fairly thick and rounded lines. This would help to keep the logo playful and fun, and appeal to children as well as parents.

We presented these initial concepts to EdPlus, and after discussing with him we moved forward to develop one of the concepts into the final logo. We delivered four versions of the final logo: a colour logo, a colour logo with the EdPlus slogan, a black and white logo, and a black and white logo with the EdPlus logo.

EdPlus
EdPlus
EdPlus
EdPlus

Tips for designing a logo for a start-up

One of the benefits of working with a creative agency like Monchü on your start-up logo design is that we can support you with expert advice in terms of branding, drawing on our experience with previous clients in a range of different industries. If you do design to design your start-up logo yourself, here are our top tips:

Don’t put too much pressure on your logo:

We understand that the logo that you choose for your start-up, as well as the name, can feel like incredibly important parts of the process of starting your company. It can feel like the logo needs to encapsulate everything that the brand, and you as a founder, stand for.

And don’t get us wrong, those things are important. But expecting your logo to be the foundation of your brand is an unrealistic expectation. Your logo is a brand mark, something that future customers will recognise and remember as a representation of your brand. But your brand is much more than just that logo. Your brand is how your customers feel about your company, including your customer service, your tone of voice, how you interact with them on Twitter, and how you give back to the company.

Those things will all develop alongside your company, and your brand will too. Your logo is simply a starting place. The most important thing is that it’s memorable. So try to take the pressure off yourself to create the ‘perfect’ logo.

Start with your customer

You’re starting a start-up business because you think that your target market has a problem that you can fix. For EdPlus, for instance, it was all about encouraging children to learn outside of the classroom, by making at home learning fun, engaging, and easy to do.

When you’re designing a logo for your start-up, make sure that you keep your audience and customer in mind at all times. What would resonate with them? What logos do other brands that they love using?

Create a moodboard

EdPlus came to us with two logos that they loved: Airbnb and Slack. There’s no better starting point when you’re designing a logo for your start-up than research and exploring logos of existing brands. Which brands do you love, and what are there logos? What makes a memorable logo?

It can be very useful to make a moodboard of the logos you like. This might be a physical moodboard, with you printing out powerful logos and sticking them on a pinboard. Or you might use a tool like Pinterest and create a board of ideas. This will give you a great place to start when coming up with ideas for your own logo design.

Pinterest logo mood board

Looking for support with your own logo design? Contact us and one of the Monchü team will be in touch.