Tailor Brands is on a mission to bring high-quality logo and branding design within reach of small businesses. The NYC-based startup has developed an algorithm that mimics the work of a professional graphic artist.

Quality branding design for small businesses via an algorithm

A firm’s visual identity is a vital element in publicising and promoting its products and services. While large companies have the financial resources to convey their image and values through a range of channels, this is much more difficult for small firms that have to manage with far lower budgets. According to Yali Saar, co-founder and CEO of Tailor Brands, around 80 million small businesses in the United States do not have the funds to invest in proper branding tools. This New York City-based startup is offering a unique design service: it will transform your computer into a professional graphic designer using an algorithm.  A tailored logo and basic set of branding elements tools can be produced for a fee of just $50.

Having presented its services at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco in September, Tailor Brands has now officially made its customised design platform available for beta testing.

Founded by a team of three creative design professionals, the company has set out to “democratise quality design”, making this service available to smaller businesses. “Looking at the design market, we realised that there was no cheap high-quality alternative. So we came up with the idea of creating an algorithm capable of producing tailored design work, hoping that one day this could serve as a virtual design agency for all the small businesses and freelance providers who don’t have the resources to hire the services of a graphic artist,” Saar explained.

‘Democratising’ design via machine learning

The Tailor Brands service is easy to use and the fees are very transparent. Any company looking for a customised branding solution can go on to the website, enter basic details – company name, values and the look and feel which the owners wish to create – and the system will produce several alternatives for tailored content. The client can then choose from the different proposals the one which best corresponds to his/her business. Yali Saar says that there are over 350,000 design options for every system input. The algorithm will filter these down to a choice of three different customised logos which seem most suitable for the firm in question.

The process of creating a customised visual identity starts with a semantic analysis of the client’s brief. The system will then create a brand profile and link it to a number of visual settings using an analysis technique – for which a patent has been filed – based on the choice of logo style, form and structure. The machine learning technology which underpins the entire process conforms to the basic rules of design and stylistic structure, which enables it to generate a different logo for each demand. Only when the client has made a final choice of the high resolution image s/he really likes will s/he be billed for the basic $50 fee.  Creating a visual identity for specific communication items such as restaurant menus, bags, etc will cost more.

Quality branding at an affordable price

“We take a holistic artistic approach. We believe that branding basically begins with a logo, and once we have that we can design all the rest for a firm,” Saar explained.  In the longer term, Tailor Brands is planning to offer an overall design solution plus handholding for small businesses through all the branding stages. Meanwhile Tailor Brands is continuing to tweak the algorithm, taking on board suggestions from professional graphic artists and also intends to expand the headcount to ten staff during 2015. Since launching four months ago, Yali Saar and his colleagues have received excellent feedback and claim to already have customers in over thirty countries worldwide.

Tailor Brands thus seems to have come up with a highly useful, innovative approach for small businesses that are keen to benefit from high-quality professional branding but lack the resources to hire a design agency. The US startup is pricing its offer far more competitively than for example the similar service run by France-based 99designs, while also providing unique customised logos that do not depend on pre-existing templates. It remains true however that for corporates with bigger budgets, this machine learning-based service cannot really match the advantages of having a real graphic artist working on your branding.

By Eliane HONG