[Podcast] Branding and Logo Design with CEO Yali Saar

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Branding and Logo Design Advice

Podcast by Push and Pull Sales & Marketing

Wednesday, 25th of September 2017


“It is really fun to see how Tailor Brands is growing and helping hundreds of thousands of businesses every month.”

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Podcast between Yali Saar CEO of Tailor Brands and Shari Medini of Push and Pull Sales & Marketing – Full Podcast Transcription

Marcello: Welcome to the Push Pull Sales & Marketing podcast I am Marcello

Shari: I am Shari, and each us will provide you with sales and marketing strategies that you can implement immediately into your own business. Today, I am speaking with Yali Saar who is the co-founder of Tailor Brands, which is a company that helps you to create professional logos within minutes. I have used Tailor Brands for both this podcast and the parenting website that I co-founded. So, I am excited to have you on the podcast today, Yali!

Yali: I am excited to be here!

Shari: Thanks for coming. What we usually start with is if you can tell me a little bit more about yourself and Tailor Brands. Where did the idea come from? How did you get where you are today?

Yali: Sure. My background comes initially from journalism. I was actually a journalist, then a political spokesperson, and then by a kind of a weird mystical way, I found myself in the creative team of BBDO. I was doing projects for large organizations, dot-com companies, soda companies, and the more we did those projects I realized that there was really in an equation of time versus quality. The equation seems very logical to big corporations because they can spend the money. But, when you go to the smaller players there is really an issue. If somebody is opening up a coffee shop, and he wants to compete with Starbucks just across the road, there is really a huge barrier of entry. So actually after the BBDO, I went on to establish a nonprofit called “Raising the Bar.” We started it in New York and expanded to San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Sydney. It was around rebranding education and was always around the aspects of rebranding. But the idea of branding was always set with me since I had back in BBDO. After raising the bar, my two co-founders, Tom Lahat and Nadav Shatz, and I went back to that idea. Tom comes from a long history of design and Nadav comes from the technical side. After having the idea for a while, we had a vision of basically how to try and solve that equation, and the idea was creating a mechanism that would enable us to basically automate a lot of these functions that we were doing. Whether it was me on the creative and copy side of BBDO or Tom on the design side, the idea was to basically develop machine learning-based platform that would allow the system to do anything from designing a logo to writing posts for any small businesses. It means that automating every service that BBDO would give Coca-Cola but give it to any small business regardless of the budget. So, we started tailor brands two years ago, and we grew tremendously. Now, there is a design happening on the platform every second and a half.

Shari: Awesome

Yali: It is really fun to see it growing and helping hundreds of thousands of businesses every month.

Shari: I am really surprised to hear that it is only two years old because I have to go back and see when I created the Push Pull logo.  We did, essentially, a rebrand with you guys because I came across your service. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a logo, but I was so blown away by what you put together automatically within 10 minutes of me being on your website. I felt like it was a no-brainer I need to buy this logo like it is perfect and I love your plane of time versus quality. It is such a problem. It is so hard for businesses to compete with these big guys who can throw unbelievable amounts of money at graphic designers and market research to formulate. It does make branding matters for making that first impression. I think of finding the answer to that. It sounds like you have to put together the perfect team as well from the technological to the designer aspect, and then all of your knowledge coming in. It sounds like definitely a formula for success between everything.

Yali: I obviously agree about branding matters, and there’s actually a funny story. I guess that you’re familiar with the sentence “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Bread slicing machine was actually invented in 1912 if I’m not mistaken. Nobody really wanted to purchase sliced bread because at the end of the day, what you were buying was a more expensive loaf of bread that would actually expire faster. It took almost 17 years to a small bakery in Missouri actually packaged the sliced bread and branded it in a way that people were willing to buy it. This is what branding is all about, and it is the perception and understanding that the perceived value of the product you’re selling is as important as the actual value of it. This is what allows a $2.00 Bodega coffee to be sold for $5 at the Starbucks.

Shari: It’s all about the logo and the perception, a hundred percent. I don’t know where to start as I have so many questions for you guys but one of my big questions, and I know the one that the audience is interested in, let’s start with the process of Tailor Brands, I go to your website what do I do?

Yali: You go to tailorbrands.com, simply input the name of your business, you tell us a little bit about what you do, and write that in. Then, Tailor starts a little game, and we try to make the experience as similar to working with an actual designer. So, it would show you a couple of images we call it this or that, and you would tell us what you like. Then within two minutes, you would get between six and twelve logos to choose from.

Shari: I have a question along the way I’ve wondered about that step where you get to enter the description of your business. Are you guys picking up keywords from that or how is that working on the backend?

Yali: It’s actually a process that is called Natural Language Processing (NLP), and what we do there is two things.

A) We obviously have this term “cloud” where it picks up specific things and basically is able to match them to criteria that we know work for design.

B) It basically crosses intersections between how you’re saying stuff, and if you think about it, the design has patterns to it. This is how Tailor actually works. If you think about anything creative, it can be broken down into a linear formula with n variables.

So, a logo is just the result of a stylish structure and a typeface, and where we all like to think of ourselves as unique little snowflakes. The design does have patterns to it, so if you would ask a fashion logo from a graphic designer, he is most likely to give you a typeface called Didot. The reason is that Dior, Harpers Bazaar, Giorgio Armani, and others are using the same font. So, we are associating that with fashion, and that is what you want your clients to associate your brand with. So, Tailor is able to pick up, let’s say you said the fashion logo, immediately the system try and give you a font called Didot and so on.

Shari: I saw that first-hand typing in one for the podcast, but the second one for business and sales and marketing. Because, what happens for you guys listening that haven’t been there like you said you type in the description, and then it gives you this or that options of a whole bunch of different fonts. When I typed in more business related things, I was getting those stronger like all caps and type of fonts. But when I was doing it for the parenting website, I was getting a lot more of the handwriting type fonts, a little bit swirlier and more casual, and I thought it worked perfectly. It gave me the opportunity to pick what I was attracted to, but it was still steering me down a path. My audience is gonna know what tricks worked when they see it because even if we’re on a subconscious level, we’re looking around for websites, magazines, or advertising, you’re right that those fonts do convey something. If I had bold all caps type of typeface on my parenting website, people might be a little bit confused as to what’s going on. When they’re used to seeing something softer and more relatable, the reverse applies to business type stuff.

Yali: I think when it comes to branding and your business just starting out, there are two very important things to remember. The first thing is that the brand and the design should really project what it is that you’re trying your customers to, your audience to take or to acknowledge in the product that you’re setting forth. The second thing is after you got the logos in Tailor Brands you’ve probably been through this process. It allows you afterward to create posts and banners and whatnot using the same language, and that’s a second very important thing about branding. Keeping brand continuity is one of those things that makes a difference between your customers identifying you on every other channel and becoming followers there as well, or just losing them.

Shari: Absolutely. Like you said, with all the different social channels, it is so important to have that consistency. It’s not so many years ago people might see a brochure or a storefront, but now, we need to make sure that things are consistent in so many different places and sizes. It looks good everywhere which was a big selling point for me too. With you guys, we can have a black-and-white version, color version, and also get all of the various copies of this so that we can use it in any way whether it’s printing it on a t-shirt or putting it in a tiny Twitter profile picture; it really works for anything. One of my other questions is, should a logo be a trend or is there such a thing as a timeless logo like I feel I see a lot of simple text seems to be on brand with just the name of the company and there’s not necessarily an icon. It is a kind of just simpler and the better. What do you think?

Yali: There is definitely such a thing as a timeless logo versus a trend. Typography logos is what we refer as simple text logos, and that is usually very timeless in nature which is why we like them. You see the Dio today it looks like more of the list as it looked twenty years ago. American Payroll looks great even though it’s simple Helvetica font. There are trends that I would usually try and avoid them, and you’ve seen that we recently had dynamic logos, which are logos that change every time you use them. Those tend to be sometimes confusing but what we try and do with some of our services is keep your brand and logo timeless and updated. If you think about it, there are ways to keep updating your font as I go forward and one of the simplest ways to look at it would be taking a logo like Ford – a very old logo. It’s been for a while, and it looks pretty much the same, but it doesn’t. If you looked at it two years ago or three years ago, they flattened it out, and there was a trend of getting rid of all of the bevels and emboss we had in logos prior and going for a flatter version, and that’s fine. You should pick up a logo that could go through the ages, continue on being timeless like the Ford logo, and still accept changes upon themselves without being completely transformed.

Shari: That makes a lot of sense, and it’s really good advice. I was assuming that the Ford logo like they’re not changing the font. But like you said, it’s almost like the logo accessories: are we gonna have a shadow, is there gonna be the bevel, is it just gonna be flat, the colors might shift slightly, and I guess that’s my other question too. Do you feel like there are color rules to follow or do you even have a personal preference of colorful logos versus just black and white where is that another kind of trend is out?

Yali: I’ll give you the simple answer. Any good designer you ask would tell you that his favorite color is black. But, the truth is it’s funny because there’s a difference between what I like and what people. When we started out Tailor, we set up black as the default color for all logos. When we started checking what people were actually purchasing we noticed that blue is the most favorite color for the majority of our clients. So, people tend to prefer colors on their logos, and my recommendation is always a black and white version with your color logo. As long as you can use both, it’s great. But if your logo really only works with color, then there’s an issue. The color is not always going to look great on any backgrounds, and you need to really make sure that your logo can be featured on different sorts of backgrounds.

Shari: And be recognizable too. If your logo is recognizable enough even in just a black and white version, it still looks like your company. I think you guys have done a really good job of that in what you’ve been able to pull together as options for people. You can view it with color, you can view it as black and white, and you can see that that in its simplest form it still stands apart. It doesn’t look like you just typed something in a Word document and blew it up.

Yali: By the way, the current trend is the simplification. If you look one of the most interesting examples and understanding how recognizable a logo can be is, you can take MasterCard as an example. In their last rebrand, it changed its logo to just being two circles, without even the MasterCard in the middle that they had for years and the fact that people can just recognize the brand by having one circle in red and the other circle in yellow – that’s the aspiration of any brand

Shari: It’s amazing. I think I’ve seen that postcard around online where they take the text out of logos, and you have to see what brand it is, and I think it is an important reminder. Along with that, how do you feel about icons versus just text alone, does it really depend on the audience or the industry, how do we decide is it just our own personal preference, how do we decide whether we should pick. Because on tailorbrands.com, you are able to pick either like an initial based logo, the text-based logo, or an icon-based logo, and you get some variety too, how you put those together? But, you guys have a really good icon library as well for people to pull from, so what do you recommend?

Yali: There’s a reason that we let you choose. There are things that we try, content, and guide you through, like the style. Once you chose something, we would try and guide you through the style, but the type of logo is really up to you. There’s another story that I love, and it’s about the IBM logo. The IBM logo is a very recognizable logo, and it was created, I think, in 1982 by Paul Rand, who is one of the greatest brand designers out there. For years, people had crazy theories about why it has eight lines to it, is it the 8-bit is as it has 8-bit computers. Paul wrote about a hundred pages worth of brand book about why it has eight lines to it, and years later, he was interviewed, and they asked him the actual reason. He said, listen, I tried nine lines, and it worked too well; I tried seven lines, they work too well; eight was just a good number. Then, they asked him how you knew that this font is going to convey the technology, and he said the other option that almost one was a font called Old English. Old English is actually a Gothic style font, and if we would have chosen that today, you would recognize computers as Gothic fonts. It’s Paul’s duty to make sure that, regardless of whatever type of logo you choose, it would look great, it would have eight lines, and not nine. Because it looks great, and that is tailor’s responsibility. But at the end of the day, whether you want an icon, typeface or initial, that is up to you. A logo is something that you live with for a long time – you really have to take a hard look and decide, this is what I want to go with.

Shari: I’ve just been blown away by how different the styles and the logo options you’re able to put together. Even if you go to the end, and you get your six options or whatever, and you’re not quite happy with it, you can start fresh, and you’re getting another six. As you said, they all look good, they’re simple, but there’s something about it, I’m not a designer, and I don’t understand how you get to that point. I’m just always impressed that each and every option looks professional, and nothing is ever too busy. How does it designed endless amounts of pieces and pieced together, by technology, or how did you get there?

Yali: A) Thank you B) Imagine the logo as this equation that I told you about with the structure in the typeface and the style. Now, depending on your preferences, we can mend those pieces together in endless amounts of ways. When I’m saying endless, I mean hundreds of millions. Now, the second part is, how do you take those endless variations and add creativity to them. So, when you get those six logos, step afterward, you’re directed to our editor that allows you to change small things. Every change that you make there is a sort of mistake, it’s overriding our initial recommendation.

Shari: I’ve ruined your logos by trying to improve upon them, and I usually end up going back to the default it recommended.

Yali: But, we love the fact that you’re doing that because that’s creativity, that’s how a system learns, that’s the basic, and that’s the premise of machine learning. When you make those mistakes, it’s not just you making those mistakes; F are making those mistakes every month. Then, our system is able to recognize patterns and things that you are changing in the initial rule set. It creates new rules based on that, and by doing so, the system is always improving and creating new designs, and that’s how the premise of Tailor works.

Shari: That’s pretty incredible. Once we’re in there editing the logo like changing color, I think you even get the option to try different fonts, so when we’re kind of playing around with those kinds of things, are there any hard and fast design rules that might be more of a pop question? Maybe we are looking for color, and some colors always go together, other colors that you should always avoid putting together, or does it really depend?

Yali: Tailor gives you the recommendations of what color should be working together. There’s what we call the color circle that maybe you are familiar with, and that would give you basically what colors are working together, what colors are not working together. Yellow and purple would go well together, red and green would go well together, and so forth and so forth. There are combinations that you can actually find online that are always true, and the nice thing about Tailor is that if you don’t change the pre-generated recommendations, these are the recommendations to go with. Now, in terms of what colors convey, that is a whole different story. There are things that simply work, and this comes with our association of what we know colors do. For example, if you look at blue, it is a color that always gives people confidence. There are psychologists who would tell you what code the blue color triggers in the brain. But you can also go and argue, no, it’s because we’ve seen enough brands that convey our confidence that is using blue, and now, blue conveys confidence. There was a point in time after Facebook and Twitter madness that every app on your phone had a blue icon to it. I think that in a way you have to take into account the color circle and the emotional aspects of color. You don’t really need me for it, and you can find it everywhere online. But, you also have to think what can really set you apart. If you’re creating an app, in every other app on a blue symbol to it, my real advice as a designer would be regardless of you’re trying to convey confidence, do not use blue; because you’re just going to be swallowed in that sea of blue. Shari: That is a really good point. Like you had said before, it’s a balance of following what your audience expects but also standing out. That’s a huge advantage to branding and logo designers – the ability to set yourself apart a little bit as well

Yali: Definitely. Onto that, you can infuse a number of facts, for example, the color brown for very wholesome simple and honest brands it works very well, purple conveys kind of majestic royalty type brands, blue is very trustworthy calming kind of brand, and green has this natural vitality. I can give you a lot of buzzwords for different colors. But at the end of the day, let me know what street the brand is located in, whether it’s an actual street, somebody’s phone, or a search result on Google. Then, look at the competition and understand how you want to set yourself apart.

Shari: I think that’s great advice. One of my other logo related questions is that you give the option to include the tagline within your logo when is that recommended? What do you see with your customers if they choose to include the tagline, do they only use that with the tagline? Something that’s been interesting for me, both of my logos that I’ve created through you, I have not used the tagline. I’m kind of curious when that should come into play or when we should be paying attention to that.

Yali: In my recommendation, a tag is something that, eventually, somebody is looking at a logo. A logo is a kind of sign that you put everywhere, and you want a person to be able to look at it and, in the shortest amount of time, remember something about the product the logo is supposed to be representing. For a lot of us, the name of our brand conveys what we wanted it to convey, and then, we want to reduce as many elements as possible. So, there would be less for that person’s brain to absorb. If the name says enough, I would avoid adding a tagline. Because it’s just more stuff, it’s more cleverness, it’s more things for that brain to remember, and it’s going to end up reading the tagline and not remembering what the name was. However, when the name by itself doesn’t mean a lot, and you want to add another line to say what the business does, this is what a tagline is supposed to help you with by adding those two three words that would help you to sharpen the message. However, what I would avoid always is, adding a tagline that is a whole story. When it comes to a tagline, the less is more.

Shari: I agree hundred percent, and I think that there are plenty of people who think like tagline is something where they can put in their paragraph description of the business. As you said, it’s difficult to come up with a two or three sentence tagline that adds value and doesn’t confuse people further or detract from it. I do think it’s a tricky thing, and for me, partially, it just came out of laziness that I was like I can’t come up with a tagline that I’m happy with, so I’m just gonna leave it out.

Yali: But by the way, I say that you made a wise choice in that specific case. If you decide to add a tagline, it is important to think of it has to be four words, and it has to answer two simple questions: what is your product and what sets it apart from the competition?

Shari: Which brings me to my next question for you, what sets you apart from your competitors do you have any competitors in this space? I feel like this is very unique in its execution because there are plenty of websites that you can find to create logos, but I’ve been very underwhelmed by a lot of them that I’ve come across. So, what do you think sets you apart from the competition whether that’s websites or that’s in-person designers?

Yali: I think, if you map out the market, you have a lot of template generators out there, and there our approach is to create the quality that sets us apart. When it comes to real-life designers, my whole philosophy is we are not there to take anybody’s job. My role is to try and supply the most quality product in the shortest amount of time. There are a lot of people they don’t know any designers, they don’t have anybody to turn to, it’s too expensive, or it’s too time-consuming, and this is where exactly Tailor fits in. Our technology allows us to bring the quality of a small agency at the time of an automated online solution, we want. If we live in a time where you can build up a website in five minutes and start processing payments in ten, I want you to be able to design your logo and anything else in under a minute. This is where we set ourselves apart from the competition giving you breaking that equation of quality versus time

Shari: I think that’s great. Can you speak the other thing that really sold me on tailor brands too was the legality of it? I was starting to hear horror stories of people who had pieced together their own logos and then grew their business only to receive a letter from a lawyer saying they weren’t allowed to use that font or there were issues. I had the confidence to you guys that if I’m buying a logo through you, I have that peace of mind knowing that I have the commercial rights to use.

Yali: We had a lot of experience working in agencies understanding how this process works. We also consulted with many big typography makers and so forth. We really wanted to supply you with a solution which just grabs and go, and you don’t have to employ lawyers, accountants, or whoever, just start using it. Once you download anything from Tailor Brands, you’re free to use it wherever you see fit.

Shari: That’s an amazing service. Something that I at least wanted to make that point because I think a lot of people starting out don’t even realize that they’re opening themselves up that they’re vulnerable to potential lawsuits. If you go on some sort of free font website and download a font, a lot of times, it’s for personal use, and they’re not letting you use those things for commercial use. So, having the security of Tailor Brands is absolutely worth for the money to use you guys by knowing that you have this to use wherever you want and have access to really a high-quality logo anytime you need it. What are some common questions that you hear from people, including who have used Tailor Brands, who are starting out, or before they jump into creating a logo?

Yali: I think the most common question I hear, it doesn’t have to do to design necessarily, has to do with what you need to think about before you start designing and how do you come up with a name for your business. I’d like to take the opportunity to ask you. How did you come up with the name?

Shari: I asked my husband, Marcello, who does the podcast with me. Here’s my idea, I want to start a sales and marketing podcast, I’m in the marketing world, you’re in the sales world, and I feel like they fit together. But, what are some common sales terms or concepts, and he started throwing out a couple, like push-pull that relates to sales and marketing. That’s what I was looking for because I wanted something like you said that people in the sales world, when they hear that push-pull terminology, then sales and marketing or different sales strategies come to mind. So within that name, it didn’t want something that was too outlandish or too abstract, but I also didn’t want to just say what we were doing. I feel that it needs a lot of brainstorming, paying attention to what’s going on around you, and trying to provide unique combinations. The same kind of thing happened with “Adore Them,” which is our parenting website. Karissa, who’s my co-founder, and I were having a lot of talking back and forth and thinking what do we want to convey; we want to convey love and positive parenting. I go to Thesaurus.com a lot, and we typed the words and saw what comes up, and it was like “Adore.” I liked the word Adore, I liked how it sounds, I liked how it looks, and I liked what it conveys. Then, the logistics wise, what’s available, what’s available as a URL, and what’s available on social media because those are really big factors that we have to consider in the digital world.

Yali: By the way, it brings me to the second point that we hear a lot, and that question is when do I need to start building my online presence. I think you guys answered that perfectly, and it is as soon as possible. When you’re building up any brand, the first line of defense to your credibility is going to be your online presence. The first thing that people are going to do is typing your name on the web, in Google, and search for you, and if you’re not there, any outreach or anything that you make, including any email that you sent, is less credible. So, if you have an idea, and you want to start testing it, I would honestly recommend you to build out that design or logo. Even if you can’t start a website, just start a Facebook page with that logo and start posting there. It would give your project so much more credibility when you’re trying to connect it with other people, and that is priceless.

Shari: Absolutely. As you said with the logos, it’s that presence what are you conveying; you need to look professional online, you just have to now, I mean it is a base step line. But even if it’s just a very simple one-page website that’s clean and conveys things with a succinct amount of information, it is such a huge tool just to be able to say, hey, go to Pushpullsales.com, and they get a feel for what you’re all about.

Yali: Definitely. We have one of our earlier customer who was making whiskey stones, and the way he wanted to sell those was going to trade shows and getting buyers to distribute them. He was a maker, he didn’t have any experience in marketing, and he didn’t think also that he needs to. He got to one of those trade shows, and one of the buyers told him, “listen, your product looks great, but the truth is you don’t look like a real company. This person crafting stones in his spare time, but I can’t trust him to be able to manage the load, and my first recommendation to you is to get a logo out there get a sign – look like something I can trust.” He did that, and he managed to start getting orders, and there is so much value we don’t even perceive about that first interaction with the client, with a buyer, with anyone, and we really need to make as much impact as we can.

Shari: That brings up a good point too that a lot of times, the logo is step one. For me, it’s so helpful to have a logo and be able to see what type font we’re using, are we using any color, and then we can model the rest of the website or social media platforms off that core branding piece.

Yali: Sorry, what was the question again?

Shari: No. I didn’t really ask you a question, I was just saying that it is important to start with the logo versus build out a whole website, and then we’ll decide on a logo. I feel like the logos are a logical first step to have the font you like, and you can mimic that throughout the rest of your web presence.

Yali: That is hundred percent correct. We like to think of a logo as the centerpiece of that business. You need to start it, and that gives you the tone for anything else that you do have to work.

Shari: Sure. Before we wrap up things, do you have a recommendation for our listeners whether it’s a book, app, a course, or something like that, other than Tailor Brands, of course?

Yali: There’s an excellent book called “Buyology,” and also one called “Brainstorming,” it’s the same guy. It takes an action item-based approach and scientific approach towards marketing, and I think it’s a must read for anybody starting out of business. Shari: Awesome. I’ll have to look into this. I haven’t heard of either of them, so I’m gonna head to Amazon and see if they’re there after the show, and the other thing is how people can find you?

Yali:  Go to www.tailorbrands.com or just write Tailor with an i brands on Google, and you’ll find us there.

Shari: Perfect. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today, Yali. I know I got a lot out of it, I think all of my questions answered, and we appreciate you taking time out of your day.

Yali:  Thank you so much. It was so fun.

Shari: All right. We’ll talk to you later good luck with everything.

Yali: Bye

Ready to Start Branding Your Business?

Getting the ball rolling with your brand doesn’t have to be hard. By being prepared and focusing on the things that matter, you can focus more attention on the big picture and maximize your impact. Find the right tools to fit your needs and see how easy it is to create a powerful corporate image.