“I am a visual person. My first step with any brand is always defining the core values and building a logo that represents them. A great brand makes a connection and a great logo is a point of identification — it’s the key symbol that customers use to recognize your brand. A great logo is a visual, aesthetically pleasing element that triggers positive recall about your brand that the name of your company alone might not.” — Paul Pluschkell (Founder/CEO, StartupOS)
At StartupOS we are incredibly passionate about achieving our Purpose: To dramatically increase the overall number of startups and the probability of their success for new, diverse generations of founders.
As we began building our brand, we wanted to ensure our passion showed through in a person’s first interaction with the company.
To start, we thought about our primary customer: founders. We see founders as individuals filled with creative energy and positive spirit, emboldened by their bright ideas. We also see founders as unique. Each one, bringing their own perspectives and background…and their own superpowers!
So, what would speak to these awesome and unique individuals? Let’s start with our mark.
Keywords that come to mind: energy, spark, circuit, connect, current, surge, forward movement
“The Oh Ess Bolt” implies and reads as “OS”
One of the ways in which we differentiate ourselves from the competition is how we’ve built our offering. Our competitors are books, websites with checklists, or coaching teams with cookie-cutter playbooks. These, to the frustration of many founders, tend to be linear and generic, even impersonal.
A founder’s journey is anything but linear and completely different than any other’s. So we built a platform that systematically supports each founder where they are at on their journey. And we strengthen that platform with an ecosystem of partners and a community of investors and mentors because no founder can go at it alone. So, much like the “operating system,” or “OS,” of your phone or computer, StartupOS provides our customers with a platform to simplify their efforts when navigating a complex journey.
Invokes “Power On”
You can’t do much of anything without power. It is a symbol of action. We are here to help take that idea and move it into reality. Let’s go!
While you won’t see many founders wearing capes, we believe each one has their own superpowers. StartupOS helps founders tackle the non-superpower parts of the job so that the superpower part can truly shine!
Understanding that the startup journey isn’t as simple as going from Point A to Point B, we know that some founders may find us at different points in their journey. The different colors of the ring symbolize the various points of the journey a founder might be on, and the continuous ring is an invitation to join us at any time, wherever you are.
We spent a significant amount of time “modernizing” our typeface from early/working logo designs.
There seems to be a common trend amongst many companies to create a monochromatic, single-color brand. And to be honest, we tried that route, too. In fact, there were some options we really liked. The one-color or one-accent brands are popular for a reason; they are clean, sharp, and stand out.
For us, though, that wasn’t enough. We wanted our color palette to reflect our values and serve as a representation of inclusion and togetherness, compassion and compromise. Our blend of colors reflects that it takes a combination of people, knowledge, and resources to build a successful startup.
- Velvet Electric — Democratized access to knowledge and resources
- Power Up — Guidance that keeps founders on the right track, focusing their energy on what matters most
- Elemental Fusion — Community to provide support from a variety of angles
- Spark — Empowerment that gives founders greater confidence in their pursuits
Footnote: The Progression of Our Logo
Similar to the way a sculptor begins turning a rough and ragged piece of stone into a stunning piece of art, our initial sketches brought the form into view and showed us what we didn’t want in a logo. Early versions revolved around the “power button” concept, with the well-known encircled vertical line. While we liked the concept, the look felt a bit tired and lacked a sense of inclusivity.
As we chipped away at the next set of versions, a more modern feel started to emerge. The mark evolved to become a bolt of lightning, also in the shape of an “S.” Its form conveyed a level of strength, energy, and, yes, power that elicited much stronger feelings than the same symbol you would press to simply turn on your TV.
We also adjusted the typeface to reflect a sturdy foundation to build on with a sense of refined nuance needed for a tailored approach to each founder’s unique journey. Carefully analyzing each part of the name, we even agonized over how to present the “A” (also designed to show upward movement), ultimately opting for simplicity.
We were getting somewhere. We knew we were in the ballpark, so we digitized the new idea and began refining the shape, exploring our use of color and how we would integrate the ring around the bolt.
The exercise of deciding whether to use a single- or multi-color palette informed a completely new shape concept, where the bolt was split and the ring around it was welded together. In addition to the multi-color palette, using the whole palette in the bolt and welding the ring to form one continuous, never-ending ring was the final piece we needed to capture that spirit of diversity, inclusivity, and the belief that we are stronger when we work together as one.
And in case you were curious, we “painted” the story of our logo brand in just 932 words. So, in this case, the logo didn’t quite paint 1,000 words… just go ahead and round up.