Designing your logo is a daunting task. Here's a look at five small companies' logos and how they came to be.
Steve Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery, based in Brooklyn, New York, had the logo for his company designed in 1987 by none other than Milton Glaser, one of the world's foremost logo designers. In fact, it was Glaser who aided in renaming the company, which was originally called Brooklyn Eagle Beer. "Come on, you've got Brooklyn. Who needs an eagle?" recalls Hindy of Milton's comment on the original company name. Although the company didn't officially open until 1988, the logo was essential in helping it pique the interest of investors. "I think that logo definitely helped us raise money. It was on the cover of our business plan, and when we went out to raise money, people were very impressed that Milton Glaser was on our team," says Hindy.
In 2004, sisters Titi and Miko Branch launched the Miss Jessie's Original hair product line, named in honor of their paternal grandmother. A year later, they reached out to Deroy Peraza, co-creative director of the Brooklyn, New York-based design firm Hyperakt, to create a unique logo for their products. The Branch sisters provided Peraza’s designers with an array of references that they wanted their logo to reflect, in both style and texture. The references "cigar labels…apothecary packagings, pictures of wing-tipped shoes," says Peraza. What resulted was a logo with a very classic, "old-world and apothecary-like feel," says Titi. "We wanted the product to have a historical kind of feel to show that the product was rooted in tradition."
Snooty Peacock is an online jewelry store based in Dallas that features handmade jewelry, a southern charm, and a saucy logo. The company was founded in April of 2009 by co-owner and designer Amy Ward; her mother, Nancy Sharpe; and her sister, Pamela Batson. Five months after launching, they reached out to family friend Ryan Russell of Ryan Russell Designs to craft their company logo. Having an explicit idea of what they wanted, they relayed their design aspirations to Russell. He provided the team with several proofs to choose from, but the peacock design that they settled on was "head and shoulders" above the rest, says Ward.
In late 2010, Susan Sarich, founder of the Los Angeles-based bakery chain SusieCakes, contacted Simon Endres, creative director of Brooklyn-based Red Antler, to update the website of her then-five-year-old company. Endres, however, saw a stale logo and convinced Sarich to let his firm handle the task. "They hadn't executed [the original logo] to really match their product and their service," says Endres. With a unique idea in mind, the Red Antler team went about creating a classic design, using custom typography that was created to mimic letterforms etched in icing. "There has been a tremendous growth in bakeries—retail bakeries, independent bakeries, homestyle bakeries—since I opened SusieCakes five years ago," says Sarich. "The importance of standing out and having something that is unique and identifiable specifically to your vocation or your brand is more pertinent today than it was five years ago."
Globetrooper, a Sydney, Australia-based start-up that specializes in pairing travel partners, chose a different method for having its logo designed. Instead of enlisting the services of a dedicated graphic design firm, co-founders Todd Sullivan and Lauren McLeod crowdsourced their logo via 99designs, a Toronto-based outlet founded by Matt Mickiewicz. The week-long contest for their company netted 200 entries. So, out of all of those entries, how did the team settle on a single design? "We created a spec for our logo and had a picture of the perfect logo in our minds, but as the entries came in, we changed our minds over and over again. It's quite a tough emotional process," says Sullivan. He later edited the winning design to produce their current logo, using Adobe Illustrator to tweak the colors, placement, and sizing.