This Is Your First And Possibly Last Warning
SMASHINGLOGO launched in 2015, and stands out from the crowd in the same way a knockoff action figure does: it’s just that disappointing. It’s available in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Swedish, and Turkish, but I couldn’t recommend it in any language.
Okay, I’ll lay off for a bit. It’s a tool that does just one thing: logos. There are no other services, no real addons to speak of. There are no free packages, but the paid packages are fairly affordable.
Even so, don’t. No, no… that’s not enough. For the sake of your business, you need to read on and find out why you shouldn’t touch this tool in its current state and go with another DIY designer like Tailor Brands or Wix Logo Maker. After all, I could just be a bitter customer, right? Read on. I’ll bet you a taco you’ll agree with me by the end.
The Words “Bare Minimum” Come to Mind
This is a website that doesn’t even have sample logos, testimonials, or anything else on the homepage that might indicate the quality of the service. Look, I love minimalism as much as the next designer who had to live through the excessively-shiny-button period of web design that was commonly referred to as “Web 2.0,” but this is a bit much.
Still, if you manage to put aside your skepticism, type in your company name, and start generating logos, you will be rewarded with what I am required to say are technically features. There’s no step-by-step wizard, and little explanation of how the process works. The user interface? You’re looking at most of it in the screenshot above.
You cannot manually choose logos or fonts. You have to rely on the generator. You cannot drag and drop elements to where you want them to go: you have to hope the generator gives you something like what you want.
You can select your colors, thankfully (more on this later). You can include a tagline. SMASHINGLOGO does support transparency, and logos are available in PNG format on the cheapest plan, with PDF and EPS versions also available in the Business plan.
You can go into a very bare-bones editor to generate variations on the existing logo, request logo customization from Smashinglogo’s own designers, and pay for the Premium plan to get a custom icon designed for you (more on this later, too).
There is a functional limit to how long the company name and tagline can be before the generator simply won’t generate any logos for you. I don’t know what that limit is, because the numbers are not listed anywhere, and the actual text fields don’t have a hard character limit. You’d have to type in one character at a time and keep hitting the button to figure out the limits, and I don’t have the time for that.
Seriously SMASHINGLOGO, having a hard character limit programmed into the text fields is as simple as <input maxlength=””>. You can do this. I believe in you.
Now this is a notable feature: there is no sign-up. The app uses some method like cookies or local storage to remember who you are, and it will keep your generated logos around for two weeks while you decide what you want.
I said it was notable. I did not say it was good.
The feature does offer the advantage of simplicity. Just go back to the website whenever you want, and revisit your logos with no hassle. However, it puts a time limit on design work, and makes it hard for you to, say, have your boss pay for the logo from another computer. Also, you can’t switch browsers or computers yourself. Once you start, you’re stuck working on the same machine.
(Technically) Loads of Possibilities
The libraries of icons, fancy capital letters for initial-based logos, and typefaces are large enough that you can make a logo that’s technically unique. Mind you, a lot of your options are going to start looking very similar, very soon. This problem is not unique to SMASHINGLOGO, but with the lack of advanced customization features, the problem feels a lot worse.
Some Custom Logo Design Included in the Premium Plan
As previously mentioned, you can ask for the SMASHINGLOGO team to customize your logo for you. If you only need small changes, you can have this done for free. If you want larger changes, the Premium Plan comes with exactly one hour of “Design Support.” It’s not much, but it’s something.
Get Feedback Before Purchase
There’s a sharing feature that will allow you to send a preview of any logo you generate to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Yeah, I’m not actually sure what Telegram is, so I figure it’s a social network used in some region of the world that I’ve never lived in. Still, you can get some feedback from your friends/coworkers before you make any purchasing decisions.
My Experience with SMASHINGLOGO
There’s not much of a wizard or process. The UI is very simple, though not clearly explained, even on SMASHINGLOGO’s “How it Works” page. With some experimenting, I was able to figure out more or less how it worked quickly enough.
What I found was pure tedium.
With no real advanced customization available directly to me, I had to just keep clicking “Generate” until I found a logo I liked. Then I went to the “Variations” screen in the so-called editor, and kept clicking until I gave up on finding a variation I liked better than the original. (The original was pretty decent.)
It’s a slow and irritating process, and I found myself wondering whether the design is bad because it was poorly thought out, or because they want me to give up and pay them to make the logo look right for me.
I’m leaning towards the idea that it’s all intentional. But they don’t know me very well. I’m a stubborn son of a stubborn Canadian (Hi, Dad!) and another, more stubborn Canadian (Hi, Mom!). I gave them the minimum amount of money for the logo as-is, because I’ll be damned if they’ll force me to interact with people when I don’t want to.
Paying was a simple affair, of course. There’s no reason they wouldn’t make that easy.
Ease of use
With so Few Features, There’s Not That Much to Learn
I’ve repeatedly said that little is explained, and that’s true. But you can most likely figure out what everything does by just… clicking on everything once. There’s really not that much to click on. Could they use a few tutorials? Or a few more tooltips? Yes, but that won’t stop the more experimentally-minded users.
At this point in the review, I am tasked with listing three whole ease-of-use-focused features. Given everything I’ve said about the UI so far, this should be interesting.
You Can Sort Of Save Your Work
This is a feature I focus on for every review. You need to be able to save your work, and come back to it before making any final decisions. Remember how I said there’s no sign-up, and your logos get saved for two weeks? Yeah, you can technically save your work.
I have to say, though, that I’m really not happy with how you’re stuck using one computer if you want to see the logos you’ve already generated. I’d prefer a member sign-up system, even with the hassle that comes with it. And this no-sign-up system basically means that it’s a lot harder to collaborate with other people unless they’re in the same room as you, or you can share your screen in some way.
Changing Colors Is Simple Enough
While some logo generators try to hide color picking options, or severely reduce the number of colors you have to choose from, SMASHINGLOGO offers 300 colors. Though as always, I’d be happier with a color picker. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Now, you can’t pick colors for each element. You pick one color, and if your logo has anything fancy, like an icon with bits that are supposed to be lighter or darker, the entire color scheme of the logo is changed to match the color you picked.
You Can Generate Similar Logos
There’s an option at the bottom of the logo generation page that allows you to generate logos that are visually very similar to logos that you’ve already favorited. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.
All in all, getting a logo is easy enough. Getting exactly the logo you want is quite hard. I’m used to a wizard process that at least asks a few questions. This logo generator just generates fairly random stuff, and you have to keep going until you find what you need.
All in all, it’s easy enough to use, but I wouldn’t call it “intuitive.” You’re going to spend most of your time wondering why SMASHINGLOGO doesn’t have so many things that nearly all of its competitors have.
Welcome to The Wonderful World of Email
Finally, a section where I can be nice. Sort of.
SMASHINGLOGO has no knowledge base, no tutorials, no documentation beyond a basic description of the process on the “How it Works” page, and a small FAQ. Thankfully, there’s some human-run support that, while not fancy, is perfectly functional. It’s all done by email, and you can contact them via a form on their site, or directly via the email address provided on the same page.
The person I interacted with was helpful, and responded quickly… once they were in the office. No hours of availability are listed, but the business address is located in Austria, and the email response times were consistent with someone who is pretty much on the other side of the planet from my location (Mexico).
First, I asked about the usage rights for the logo:
Then I asked about where to see my bill online, in case I lose the emails. Yes, that can happen.
Lastly, I asked about support for Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Affinity Designer (my personal vector editor of choice), but they won’t send you files in those formats, even upon request. Fair enough, really. EPS is the standard for scalable graphics.
The logo plans are cheap enough, if you’re buying the “Standard” or “Business” plans. Standard will get you logo files that you can use on your website or social media just fine. The Business plan gets you higher quality and scalable files for use in print and anywhere else you need to make your logo real big.
The Business plan also gets you the “Satisfaction Guarantee,” where if you buy a logo, then use Smashinglogo to make another one that you like better within thirty days, they will transfer your license to the new logo. They will only do this once.
Incidentally, there are no refunds. Ever. For anyone. There are also no free logo samples.
The Premium plan offers some more advanced customization (a whole hour of it), and the option to have an icon custom-made for you. Honestly, though? You could get that done by a designer for about the same price at a site like Designhill, or for a bit more at a site like DesignCrowd. And they’ll spend more than an hour on it.
If you do decide to buy, you can pay with any of the following:
- American Express
- Wire Transfers
- Apple Pay
Payments are handled by a third party called Paddle.com, and that’s the site you’ll be going to when you want to see your invoice, by the way.
After you pay, you cannot make revisions. You can request some, as mentioned before, but you are dependent on the goodwill of SMASHINGLOGO’s designers.
This whole service is designed to only almost give you what you want. They want you to get in touch with them, to hire them for custom work. They want to encourage upselling (which is to be expected), and impulse buying (which is also kind of to be expected, but ew). The prices for the Standard and Business plans are fair, but the way this service is monetized makes me uncomfortable.
You get all rights to use the logo however you like, plain and simple. Oddly enough, that’s all you get. I mean that you don’t get the copyright. SMASHINGLOGO retains that, no matter what you pay.
What you get, specifically, is a license to use the logo as you see fit, but the logo is not your intellectual property. I find that… odd.