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Branding Your Business

Asking Important Questions: What Makes an SMB/Startup Logo “Cool?”

Asking Important Questions: What Makes an SMB/Startup Logo “Cool?”

If you’re an SMB or a startup, you can’t rely on an easily identifiable logo alone. Instead, you want your logo to be contemporary and cutting-edge, and help your consumers discover what your company does.

It’s a tall order: make your consumer understand your business

and be cool. But don’t worry – there are several key elements of SMB logos that you can quickly identify and emulate to make your logo the envy of every startup. Try mixing, matching and playing with one or more of the following features, and we’re sure that your logo will transform in no time.

Turn an icon on its head.

Cover is an app that helps friends easily split checks at restaurants. The company’s logo features a familiar, instantly recognizable image of a knife and fork on a plate. However, the logo upends expectations with contemporary purples and a subtle right-skew of the utensils, signaling that the company is creating newness within an old marketplace.

Don’t be afraid to be classic and modern.

A company that connects film, VR and game designers to projects, Zerply’s logo typifies a classic logo with a twist. The font is a mixture of cursive and print, formal and informal and fun and serious, kind of like the website and its users themselves. Additionally, the choice of a retro-is-modern-again green makes the logo memorable and even nostalgic.

Convey meaning.

CluckCluck, an app that helps parents and babysitters communicate, uses their logo to demonstrate a playful version of their service by featuring a chicken and her babies. This visual drives home the meaning with a catchy call-to-action beneath the image. Featuring a chicken, three chicks and rustic fonts, CluckCluck’s simple, welcoming feeling is aimed at appealing to busy parents.

Demonstrate adaptability.

A logo can’t look good just in one place – it has to fit in everywhere. That’s what’s so pleasing about the clean lines and straightforwardness of Stripe’s logo: it could do well on a poster in downtown Manhattan, or on a clean, modern website. Stripe, a company that lets developers simplify web and mobile payments, has chosen archetypal font and a no-frills style to make their logo exemplify their ideal of simplifying life.

Hide elements in plain sight.

Some of the best logos have hidden elements. Egnyte, for example, a file sharing app, creates several meanings within its logo. The “Y” can be interpreted as either an illuminated light bulb with a red glow or as a person opening up his/her arms in new discovery. Still, notice that these messages do not overwhelm the logo – the clean lines and bold colors are pleasing on their own, and keep the viewer at ease.


A cool logo doesn’t have to be intimidating, especially if it’s for a fun product. Moshi Monsters, a website that lets kids design their own animated monsters, includes elements from the site itself -the eyeball, the horns, the tail. Incorporated with a fun colors and a bubble font, this logo does triple duty: it appeals to children, it’s eye catching and it lets consumers know about the product.

Think these logos are cool? Or are there other elements of hip logos that you think we should add to this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!