Buildabrand – Design by Machine

There’s a brand new website out there called which bills itself as “an online branding system that allows entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals to create, manage and apply instant and personalized branding to their business.”

It’s simple, you enter your company’s name, choose 5 words that best describe your brand, and presto, you have an instant logo. You’re given hundreds of stock clip art icons to choose from, then you’re asked to sift through a huge selection of fonts that basically mimic the bad system fonts you already have on your computer. Then you’re offered various color combinations to apply to your shiny new logo.

As soon as I read about this site in this Fast Company article, I had to give it a try. Let’s take a look at what buildabrand might create for some of the worlds most recognizable companies.

I went through the site experience with the mindset of the person who might be starting this company today. Here’s where we ended up. (With the actual logos included in case you wanted to compare.)

Funny how similar they all look. And would any professional designer ever recommend those typefaces? This is the work the machine produces, and buildabrand would gladly take your money for. They would allow you to use hobo as your typeface. Hobo.

Buildabrand’s noble aspiration is to provide professional design to entrepreneurs at a reasonable price. No sensitive designers to deal with if you want to change a font or a color. Why would you pay hundreds of dollars for a service that you can complete in ten minutes online for just a few bucks?

The site offers literally thousands of possible combinations. That’s just the problem, you get no guidance. All of the choices are canned, you’re free to pay for and end up with a really bad design. And one that has the possibility of being reproduced for someone else’s company. Can you imagine a competitor coming to market with the same logo as you?

I hope no brand that takes themselves seriously would go about getting a logo this way. I know you’re excited about starting your business and you just want a logo right now. You just need something to put on your powerpoint slides and business cards to you can start talking with investors. You’ll worry about serious design later. But what if your business is as successful as you’re betting it will be? What if you get huge fast? Or even get to a decent size at a decent rate. You might feel stuck with the logo you started out with, or at least some version of it. Are you going to completely change your brand identity over night like that? After all this work? Your customers know your logo by now. It’s already on all those business cards and that delivery truck…


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