Rebels Are Honest

One of the key pillars of rebellion.

February 17, 2020

The influx of social media has created a vortex of lies. Lies about how many followers you have, lies about how well your life is going, lies about the good a company does for the world, lies about how cool you are. But rebels are not like that. Rebels are honest.

What does that mean? Honesty is telling the truth regardless of how it makes you look.

This means putting aside vanity metrics in exchange for something deeper and more meaningful. It means being real when you mess up. It means giving accurate descriptions of what you could do for someone, instead of boosting your capabilities. It's having the courage to stand before the facts available and admit that things could improve. The beauty of that is that you can genuinely move forward rather than living a lie that everything is perfect.

Rebels are honest.

More you say?

Is it time for a new logo?

This question gets asked a lot, here is how I'd respond and things to consider before creating a new identity for your startup.

12.16.2019

Logos are tricky and inherently subjective. Not only that, but with a slew of vendors like Fiverr, Upwork, 99Designs, and friends/family who do design work as a side hustle, it's hard to figure out navigating a new identity for your startup. So, here are the top five things all startups should consider when deciding whether or not it is time for a new logo.

Is your logo descriptive of what your startup does?

Descriptive logos detail what services/products a startup provides. For example, if you owned a computer hardware startup and your logo was a monitor screen, that is a descriptive logo. The issue with descriptive logos is that they focus on what you do rather than why you do it.

Logos should be somewhat representative of the fundamental purpose behind your startup and the emotional resonance of your brand (more on this later). Furthermore, descriptive logos are a terrible solution in the long-term, especially if they are focused on a particular technology. Reason being, we don't know how long any particular products or services will be around.

Does your logo look like all of your competitors?

Everyone loves to chalk up Apple as one of the greatest brands of all time. While the logo is the tip of their branding iceberg, it successfully demonstrates the need to stand out. Here is an example of what I mean:

apple-logo-comparison-to-ibm-dell-and-hp

You see, it would have been easy for Apple to create a blue logotype just like their successful competitors, but they would not have been identifiable at all. They would have been pegged as a copycat. The goal of a logo is to be an easily identified mark that helps people recognize your startup. If your logo looks just like all of your competitors, then your logo isn't doing its job.

Did you receive all of the proper formats of your logo when you first got it?

We're diving into the weeds here, but this is an important part of logo design. The downside to sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99Designs is that they do not guide users through the proper ways your logo should be distributed. For example, the logo on your website should be in an SVG (scalable vector graphic) format, not a PNG or JPEG. It's not your job as a startup to know this, but you should be informed by the designer which one to use. They also do not develop variants for specific applications like social media, favicons, or different lockups for different applications. In short, if you find yourself scrambling to make your logo work in different contexts, it is obvious that the logo was not built with those applications in mind.

Is it legible and memorable?

Effective logos are simple. The reason for this is so that they can be easily recognized in a crowded market and distinguished from other marks. Simplicity, in the context of logos, could be distilled into two key components:

Legibility (how easy it is to read)

Memorability (how well you, your team, and your customers remember it).

Your logo is not a place to get fancy with grandiose illustrations or granular details. It needs to be just as clear at .5 inches tall as it would be on a billboard.

A simple test to check for these qualifiers is to try and draw your logo from memory. Ask your team and some of your loyal customers to do the same. Are they completely off? If they are, it's time to change.

Has the brand of your startup changed?

Your logo is not your brand, the brand is the gut feeling someone has toward your startup. This feeling is hard to pinpoint without walking through a formalized brand strategy process, but it is found and felt over time.

While logos are not meant for communicating everything about the company, a good logo will be appropriate for the brand. For example, Metallica's logo would not suite a company like Gerber Baby Food because the emotional qualities are at ends with each other. Gerber wants people to feel happy and cared for, while Metallica wants you to feel the wrath of heavy metal.

The first step is understanding what the feeling you want someone to have toward your startup is. Once you can define that, you can see how your logo matches up. If they are in contention with each other, it's time to change.

How does your startup's logo stack up against these questions?

read more

Time Categories

A small change in my calendar settings that led to big insights.

2.10.2020

One of my closest friends lives in London, but he's in San Diego now for his sister's wedding. It was a pleasant surprise. I hit him up and he told me he'd only be in town until tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow evening!? Dang, that's not a lot of time to get together.

I checked my calendar and saw a bunch of scheduled items. All of them are black, so there's no distinction between them. How could I have scheduled so much stuff on one day?

Cue color coding. I created some alternative colors to use to showcase different meeting types I have. Red for in-person and green for digital meetings.
Sure enough, I have three red items today. That's a lot of meetings in a very short amount a time. Don't get me wrong, I love people (a lot more than most designers, I'd think), but this showed me that I'm spreading myself thin for time. This burns the most when I don't have flexibility to see friends from out of town because of it. Something had to change.

So I set a rule: if I see two red/green slots in one day, that's it. No more. A red flag, if you will.

Color-code your calendar.

read more