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Creating our company logo

September 28, 20166 min read

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nano3labs was first conceived almost four years prior to us becoming a “real” company. In 2013, after handing in my resignation to one of the first startups I worked at, I wasn’t sure what I would do next. Maybe it was time to start my own business like I always wanted. All it needed was a name.

After watching television one night I saw the logo used by the brilliant series Breaking Bad. I began to wonder how they came up with the name and logo. Perhaps great artists can indeed steal great ideas.

The idea of using a chemical compound to form our brand struck me as neat. After a few days of white-boarding and many terrible names, I stumbled upon NaNO3 — Sodium Nitrite aka Chile saltpeter, which is sometimes used as an oxidizer for fireworks 🎆 Jackpot! We got a name.

Since was taken, we added the labs for an even better scientific reference 🤓. Another beautiful part of the name was nano‘s meaning of small and the positive connotations it carries in the technology sector. There we have it then: Time to register, sit back and profit 🤑. (Or so we thought.)

Of course, life got in the way. We partnered with my roommate, Anton, and created 0idle (zero-idle): an AirBnB-inspired startup to transform the way we see empty and idle spaces. Our first startup, like many, failed.

After 0idle, I spent over two years doing freelance work. Still, I found myself wanting to start my own consulting company and it was time to make it a reality.

Like any reasonable entrepreneur, I turned to Fiverr to help create a few options for our new logo. I wrote up a quick description and picked three different designers to try their hand at it.

Having little clarity on the goal and giving it to inexpensive designers didn’t help. I thought to myself “maybe they can come up with an idea for me, they are the experts after all”. As always, garbage in, garbage out 💩.

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Hmm, not really what I had in mind. Maybe if I can help them select the font. So I looked at a few weird fonts.

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We were still using the chemistry inspired name capitalization NaNO3Labs. I thought of Breaking Bad and their logo design. Maybe I can borrow an idea from it. After some more googling I came across the formula for chocolate.

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This is what the formula for NaNO3 looks like.

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No matter how hard I tried, I could not get it to look right.

After a few days, I finally asked myself “do we really want to appear to be a chemical company? It has absolutely nothing to do with our actual business.” What if we focused on the word nano and made it seem like a small, compact and advanced company, just like we want to be seen.

Maybe we can start by using a font developers love. This will help us better communicate the services we provide to our clients.

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Not bad! I like it.

What if we tried to sprinkle a little computer science in there with an O(n) notation.

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Too many brackets and it needs to be read backward to make sense. Let try again.

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Better, still not quite.

Let’s put it in my favourite text editor, atom, and see what we get.

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Damn looking good!

Time to ask for a design revision from our Fiverr guys.

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Not quite there.

Wait a minute! I have an idea what if we used the atomic energy symbol, it is used by both React.js and Atom?! After all, what is smaller than an atom (yesElectrons I know, smarty pants).

Quick mock.

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And let’s ask the designer to do his magic.

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Amazing! But come on gotta have 3 electrons there, after all, we are nano3labs.

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Almost! Just need to move one electron be on its own ring.

Finally! Perfection.

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Hope you liked our story. Feel free to share your story in the comments below.

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© 2021 Michael Yagudaev