Squarespace rejects claims its online logo design
tool is "a replacement for professional designers"

| 17 comments

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News: New York technology firm Squarespace has published a statement slamming criticism that its new service for creating logos demeans the role of the graphic designer.

Following the launch of Squarespace Logo last week, designers took to Twitter to express their views on the online design tool, with some branding it as "disgusting" and "one giant F U to entire design community".

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Squarespace Logo's user interface allows users to customise the design of their logo

The furore provoked Squarespace founder Anthony Casalena to post an addendum to a statement on the project's blog, explaining its position regarding the importance of professional graphic designers:

"We've seen a number of comments online about Squarespace Logo being positioned as a replacement for professional designers," the statement read. "Squarespace Logo is a basic tool for individuals and small businesses with limited resources to create a simple identity for themselves. It is not a replacement for the brand identity a professional designer can craft and deserves to be compensated for."

"We expect Logo, much like Squarespace itself, to drive more people to appreciate the importance of design, leading to increased demand for professional creative services," the statement continued. "Similarly, the fees generated by Squarespace Logo are used in part to compensate the graphic designers who contribute their work."

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Logos produced with Squarespace's tool can be used for various commercial purposes including websites

Squarespace, which launched in 2004 as a service for developing simple websites based on standard templates, teamed up with online icon database The Noun Project to create the new logo design tool.

It allows users to choose from a range of over 7000 basic icons and manipulate them to their own specifications, adding text, changing colours, proportions and the alignment of the various components to produce a logo that can be used on websites, business cards and other branded material.

The vector icons that are available on the site are submitted by graphic designers, who are credited on the interface page and receive a royalty every time their icon is specified for a project.

Once customers have designed their logo they can download a high resolution version for commercial use by paying $10. The service is free to existing Squarespace customers.

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The icons available range from simple shapes to more sophisticated vector drawings

Reaction on Twitter ranged from outrage about the tool seeming to oversimplify the process of brand identity creation, to support for Squarespace's attempt to make graphic design more accessible to novices.

"At first I kind of thought everyone was overreacting about #squarespacelogo until I saw how much of a mockery it makes of my profession," said a tweet from @carolineroyce.

"Honestly, if you’re worried that #squarespacelogo will replace your line of design work, you must not be that good at design," countered ‏@gburnham.

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The online tool allows users to see how their logo would look on a t-shirt

Critics who published articles about the issue are largely in favour of the way the service enables users with little knowledge of graphic design to produce simple and attractive logos, while recognising that brand identity is a specialist skill that remains the domain of professional designers.

"Squarespace's Logo service isn't in competition with the work of good designers," said Tom Actman of Creative Review. "It's merely a (pretty good) creative tool to help those visualise their own ideas."

Tina Roth Eisenberg of graphic design blog Swiss Miss added: "Am I super thrilled that [Squarespace] are saying 'anyone can design a great logo', not really, but that's not the point. Their logo builder is not much different than a tool like Adobe Illustrator."

  • Jeroen van Lith

    Why the fuss? Logo’s are 60s things.

    • bozzo

      So are apostrophes apparently : P

  • Matthew

    It’s like a mathematician complaining about the development of calculators!

  • Colonel Pancake

    If your work can be replaced by an app that offers people what they want for less, you only have yourself to blame for offering comparatively little. It only speaks of designers’ foolish narcissism to pretend our chosen career path should be immune from technological advances that threatens our coveted privilege to arrange letters and symbols for an unreasonable sum.

  • brononamous

    It’s not a replacement for designers because it’s s***.

  • HR

    Having looked at the website I am staggered that any genuine corporate identity professional would feel threatened.

    • tive

      Designers are sensitive.

  • iag

    3D printing will replace craftsmen! Computers will replace artists! Online shopping is the end of the high-street!

    etc.

  • anaquin

    I would be about as scared that HG TV will be an end of professional interior designers. You get what you pay for and for $10.00 you get $10 worth of logo design.

    • double

      Replying to this comment:”You get what you pay for and for $10.00 you get $10 worth of logo design”

      Who’s to say that getting $10 worth of logo design isn’t good and you always get a bad product? Steve Jobs paid $5 for his logo and looking at Apple now I would say he got his moneys worth.

      The point I’m trying to make is that design is not a restricted guided profession like law or medicine. There are guidelines to what is considered good design and that’s what every designer will quote or argue but at the end of the day, they are just guidelines and you are free to break them as you wish (as a matter of fact every designer is encouraged to think outside the box).

      You really can’t do this with medicine and operate on someone heart simply because they had a toothache, just doesn’t work even if you think that’s thinking outside the box. But with design you can replace a circle with square and that’s perfectly okay because there are no rules that says you shouldn’t.
      So who’s to say what’s good or bad design since it’s all subjective. What you might consider a crappy design will look like a master-piece to someone else and right or wrong at this point is purely based on one’s taste.

      I challenge any designer here to define good design and not be subjective. If you say good design has to have colour (or lack of it) then that’s subjective. What’s proper use of colour if one asks? What you might consider proper, I might consider wrong and that’s just my personal taste. If you say proper spacing or typography then once again that’s all personal taste and nothing more.

      So what designers should realize is that they offer a service that is purely subjective and you can only set your price on what you do. Just because someone opted to pay $10 for similar service does not make it bad or crappy. If they got a logo that “they” liked then what gives you any right to claim that a bad design just because they got it done cheaper?

      You are basing it on some guidelines that are purely subjective and your own personal taste. Neither one qualifies a designer or you to say what’s good or bad.
      Cheers.

  • Beatrice

    Logo design doesn’t matter. I could name 20 powerful companies with awful logos. Hence this is a far more honest approach than the marketing speak that most graphic designers use on their clients.

    Only designers would disagree. Or people who have been conned into spending a lot of money on their logo.

    They’re nice, but unimportant things.

    Put simply, you couldn’t do it with say, a doctor’s services because it’s too important. (Remember Mango.com?)

  • Chris MacDonald

    I really can’t believe for one second that this will replace a graphic designer. Two dozen logo’s to choose from, with a tagline.

    Let’s face it, those that want a decent logo will pay to have one. Everybody else still to this day uses clip-art.

  • JayCee

    There has been logo design software around for years and years. This is clearly aimed at the small business market for those unable to afford the fees of a design consultant.

  • http://www.marcposchdesign.com Marc Posch

    Logo designers are howling, brand developers are smiling.

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    Because cameras replaced illustrators and painters, right?

  • Dylan

    Honestly try using it, it really shows how to sensationalise a crap online program as something amazing. Sorry but Paint.NET is free to download and is arguably 1000x better and has been around for some time yet I still see logos being commissioned by companies with designers doing them.

  • NND

    Fantastic, so the small and medium designers are going to be left jobless because of your little idiocy. Super, now I can just download a bloody recipe for muffins and call myself a pastry chef…