New Squarespace Service Causes Controversy

Design Features Squarespace

On January 22, Squarespace announced the release of their latest service offering, Squarespace Logo. The remarkably easy logo generator helps with the first steps of branding a personal or business identity and does so with just a few clicks.

Not only is it easy, it’s also extremely inexpensive. In fact, it provides logos for non-commercial use completely free of charge. Those who want a logo for commercial purposes only have to pay $10.

Sounds pretty great, right? Not to many within the design community who have been crying foul in the aftermath of Squarespace’s announcement. Twitter was awash with outrage and angry reception to the news, which many designers are considering a giant middle finger to those who make a living creating logos and crafting brand identities.

If you aren’t familiar with Squarespace, it’s a much-loved website and blogging platform that makes creating and maintaining a web presence easy. Squarespace and their services advocate for a well-designed web presence, making many designers big fans of their tools. It was for this very reason that many of those same designers consider their logo generator a betrayal.

Squarespace addressed the criticism with an update on their blog saying, “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. Similarly, the fees generated by Squarespace Logo are used in part to compensate the graphic designers who contribute their work to The Noun Project.”

And that’s the part many seem to be forgetting. The logo generator uses more than 7,000 icons from The Noun Project, a library of icons contributed by designers for “creating, sharing and celebrating the world’s visual language.” It’s not replacing designers, it’s using them.

As the dust is finally settling, some of the industry’s biggest names are also stepping forward in defense of Squarespace. Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swissmiss shared her opinion in a blog post saying, “I have respect for the thoughtfulness and craft that went into it. Am I super thrilled that they 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. I know quite a few folks over at Squarespace and I can assure you one thing: They care about design. They care about the web being a more beautiful place. And I am grateful for it.”

Squarespace Logo is easy and the end result is simple. Yes, it will probably be very appealing, as they point out on their blog, to new business owners who find themselves overwhelmed by the price and process of creating a brand identity. But will it serve as a substitute for well-designed logos or profession graphic design in general? Probably not, and that probably wasn’t their intention either.

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