Co.Design

Squarespace Makes Designing A Logo Dead Simple

With its characteristic slickness, Squarespace has teamed up with the Noun Project to give small businesses a tool to make their own logo. And it's good for designers too.

Since the company first launched in 2004*, Squarespace's mission has been very clearly defined: it shouldn't be hard for people to knock together a well-designed web presence, no matter what their level of expertise. Squarespace Logo takes that modus to the next level: it's a tool that makes creating your own logo as easy as dragging and dropping. And it's a good opportunity for designers too.

Squarespace Logo is a co-joint with the Noun Project, a repository of thousands of icons uploaded by designers around the world that can be used to simplify communication, and is used by everyone from sign makers to the White House. (Read our profile on the Noun Project here.) As it happens, the Noun Project's icons also make great symbols for small businesses that want a simple logo, but don't want to pay a lot to come up with one.

Squarespace Logo is easy to use. Upon loading up the Squarespace Logo web app, you can specify the name of your company, your tagline, your colors, and your fonts then search a library of thousands of Noun Project symbols to use for your company's logo. There's a symbol for pretty much every occasion: case in point, I found an icon depicting an asteroid crashing through the ceiling as two stick figures formed a beast with two backs, the perfect logo for, say, an insurance company dedicated to acts of God called "Asteroid Interruptus." But there are obviously less esoteric icons to choose from. Once you pick all the elements you want, a simple drag-and-drop interface allows you to position and resize them, while seeing what your finished logo would look like on your website, a business card or even a T-shirt is just a click away. It's a simple tool, and characteristically for Squarespace, very slick.

Squarespace Logo is also cheap to use: a high-resolution logo only costs $10 (low-res, watermarked logos are free). It is then saved to a unique URL, where the logo can be edited at any time.

At first blush, Squarespace Logo's ease of use and low pricing might look like it'll put a few logo designers out of business. Actually, though, it's a great moneymaking opportunity for designers who want to contribute symbols to the Noun Project: they'll make a royalty every time Squarespace Logo sells one of their symbols.

For small startups and businesses, Squarespace Logo is a simple, easy tool to add a little symbology to their branding mix. And for designers, it's an opportunity to earn a few extra bucks by contributing to the Noun Project.

You can try Squarespace Logo for yourself here.

An earlier version of this article mistakenly said Squarespace launched in 2007.

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31 Comments

  • Characterizing this as an opportunity for designers is crap. You leave business people with the mistaken belief that professional designers condone this approach, they don't.

    Cookie cutter logos do not destroy businesses. The mentality that believes cutting corners like this, to save a nickel because you're pitifully undercapitalized, is what closes business's doors.

  • It’s disheartening to see Fast Company and Co.Design perpetuate such fallacies about design. A lot has been said here already, but you’ve not only denigrated design and insulted creative professionals — you’ve done a disservice to business professionals everywhere by publishing such drivel.

  • Keep in mind that when you use one of these companies, the designers often copy existing symbols, marks and logos. It is super competitive and in any competitive environment, you have a lot of cheaters. They also tattle on each other. So you can end up with 10 designs you like but none that can be used since the others are not original. We've run into this with clients who have used these type services in the past. They are shocked to learn that their logo is exactly like another one when they thought they were getting an original. Just a word of caution.

  • Any business that actually goes down this route of clip art style branding is off to a horrible start.

    I understand that small businesses and start-ups don't have much cash for design, but there are many other ways to get design done on a budget (don't use 99designs as competition-based work is not a good idea for either party involved).

    For example, I frequently do 'mates rates' jobs for friends and friends of friends on the side of my regular agency job to keep the creative juices flowing and to learn how to one day run my own business. When I can get away with charging the full amount I always do.

    In addition, there are plenty of students and hopefuls out there that want to get a portfolio together. While you may not get top notch design, it would at least be better than this stock imagery crap.

    With both these examples, as long as either side does not feel ripped off then it's a win, win.

  • John, perhaps Squarespace's next product will be a piece of software that automatically writes tech articles. Anyone can use it, it's easy and cheap, only $5 per article, and it's good for writers too!

    Seriously. Clip art is not a logo, much like random words don't make a story.

  • For all of the designers out there, these kinds of tools will never replace you. Any company that can afford a designer in the first place will not use this service. If it makes you justify your work to your client because they cannot see the value you bring to the table versus a crude rendering, then the conversation needed to happen. There is no reason that designers should be upset about this. If anything, it will highlight why proper design work is so important and valuable to a company trying to build its brand.

  • The thing I'm most disappointed about, is that Fast Company are supporting this and saying it's a great thing. The respect I have for this blog has really gone down a notch or 2.

  • This is brilliant. Designers who flip out about Squarespace and the Noun Project are like like chefs who complain that people have a kitchen in their home. I'm not Thomas Keller and I'm unable to afford to visit the French Laundry for lunch each day but I still need to eat. This is just a tool for those who have different business priorities and this tool solves the logo problem quite nicely for the millions of small businesses ,from plumbers and hair salons to lean circle start ups. Would I like to eat like I have a fractional jet? Sure! But sometimes an exceptional frozen pizza fits the bill.

  • I am a contributor to The Noun Project but I am sorely disappointed in both The Noun Project and Squarespace for what I see as an irresponsible move. I also suspect that selling stock icons for use on company logos creates a copyright conflict. The businesses who buy these icons - yes, including my icons - will have no ownership of their own logos. This creates a conundrum for any business who uses one of my (or another designer's) icons on a logo because they now have an mark that cannot be trademarked and provides them with absolutely nothing unique in terms of a recognizable brand symbol.

    We in the design industry have to work really hard to communicate the value of good, unique design and how it helps businesses achieve their growth goals. What Squarespace and The Noun Project are doing completely undermines this work and devalues what designers do.

  • Charles Wamhoff Borgerding III

    You mean I can design generic icons all day for no money in the hope that it will magically fit the needs of someones unique business and they'll purchase it from a third party so that i can collect a few pennies? where do i sign up? Cooper-Hewitt here we come.

  • I don't see this as being damaging to designers.

    If we are talking about small business that can't afford to pay a fee for branding services, why should they go logo-less? They still have a business to market.

    Besides, I'd rather not work for less, and I certainly don't want to shortchange the client by giving them anything short of my best effort.

    If anything, a market saturated with generic icons will only force business owners to hire a designer when they look to differentiate themselves from their competition. The way I see it, bland icons only make well-designed marks look that much better.

  • Totally agree. If someone wants a well designed, researched logo, then hire a designer. If you are a business and want a quick company mark, then go with one of these but rest assured that it will look like someone else's and just fade into the background. A good logo says a lot about a company.

  • People will no doubt debate whether this damages designers, but be that as it may, this is terrible for businesses. Using stock icons as a logo gives them an "logo" that they can't trademark. Even though the icons are Creative Commons licensed, the copyright is still owned by the original designer. This is irresponsible all the way around.

    As to your question about "should they go without a logo" ... yes. Regardless of their need to promote their business, there is no entitlement to a logo any more than there is an entitlement to computers, advertising, etc. The argument is also moot considering the number of $99 logo sites on the web. If you own a business and can't afford a $99 logo, you don't have a viable business to begin with.