En Route to Saenthood:

#31 Return of The Logo

This series is about what we’re learning, observing and experiencing while building our startup Saent (pronounce “Saint”). The good, the bad and especially the ugly, each time in under 5 minutes reading time.

About two months ago, I wrote about how and why we had decided to remove the Saent logo from our hardware device. In short, we felt a logo was serving our (branding) needs, not those of you, our users. Since we truly want to put the interest of users first in everything we do, we felt removing the logo made sense to underline our values.

And so we did. We produced a few new prototypes without logo and started testing.

Immediately, the experience with the logoless device felt weird. Not necessarily in a negative way, but certainly not in an overwhelmingly positive way either. It lacked a sense of quality. The button became like a surreal object, a bit unsettling even, like something from outer space that had landed on your desk. After a while people we showed these logo-less prototypes to got used to it, but the initial impression was not pleasant for most of them.

I guess this says something about our current state as humans. It seems we’re conditioned to expect some kind of logo and branding on many products we buy and if it’s completely missing, it feels like the product is unfinished. If you’ve ever seen a car without any trace of a logo or wordmark, you know what I’m talking about. In a way this is crazy, but currently it’s too large a mission for us to take on to change everyone’s expectation of seeing logos on everything (stay tuned though, it’s on our radar ;) ) .

It was not only a matter of perception, though — there was also a practical problem: without any logo or wordmark, it was impossible to judge how much time in your session had yet progressed by looking at the button. Since there was no anchoring point whatsoever, it just constantly seemed like the bottom points of the arc were shifting, instead of feeling like a progress bar that empties or fills.

Without a logo, it’s impossible to “read” the visual LED progress bar.

Unfortunately this means we have to backtrack on our promise of delivering you a logoless device. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to offer it as an option (we would be happy to!), but with our current production volume we can only produce one type of Saent button, and with logo was clearly perceived as the better, more high quality variation. Maybe we were just ahead of our time, and one day the world will be ready for logoless products that don’t serve as advertising and branding beacons!