Hi there! Who are you, and what are you working on?
My name is Dawson Whitfield. I recently launched Logojoy — an online logo maker that uses machine learning to make it feel like you're working with a real designer.
Logojoy is for anyone trying to start a business, blog, non-profit, club, or anything that requires a logo. Typically, a logo is the first step for people starting anything, and we're trying to make it easy for these folks to get a simple, good looking logo that they can use on their website, business cards, etc.
I think people choose Logojoy over the 10+ competing logo makers because it's not just a dumbed down Photoshop. We understand your tastes and needs just like a designer would, and we present you with mockups that get you thinking. Even if those designs aren't perfect, we make it simple and enjoyable to see variations and make changes.
I would segment the product into two parts: the logo generator, which takes input and generates logos; and the editing interface, which allows users to see variations and edit things like font, colors, etc. The logo generating algorithm is still in its infancy, so right now it's mostly acting as an idea source for most users. The editing interface is actually pretty robust, my favourite thing about it is that we present options as variations. For example, if you want to see different fonts, we don't give you a drop-down list of fonts — instead, we show you versions of your logo, each with a different font, so it's very tangible.
An AI-powered logo maker is a fantastic idea. How did you come up with it? And what motivated you to get started?
I came up with the idea for Logojoy when I was designing a logo for a client. I've been a designer for 12 years or so, and I've probably made 150 logos for clients. I would get frustrated designing logos for small businesses because (a) it was so time-consuming to create 30 mockups, (b) it would take weeks to do those small back-and-forths, and (c) the logo would end up being so simple that I felt like that entire process was a waste.
As soon as I had the idea, and couldn't find anyone doing it right, I started working on it.
The main thing that motivated me was just building something cool. I did a quick Google Trends lookup and saw "logo maker" was searched 3x more than "website builder" — which was a big source of comfort during the development process. Whenever I was unmotivated, I would open that tab. I must have opened it 200 times.
Funny enough, another big motivator was how poor the current solutions were (in my opinion). It got me so excited to think that I could offer a product that was 10x better than the next best product, especially because the market was so big.
And lastly, what got me really excited to build a small product that actually generated revenue was Indie Hackers, which I've been following since your debut on Product Hunt :)
Logojoy uses artificial intelligence for its designs. How does it work, exactly? What tech are you using? How long did it take you to build?
This is the fun part. Our logos are just combinations of ingredients — fonts, colors, layouts, symbols, etc. Logojoy uses machine learning to learn which ingredients go better together.
It starts with tracking basically everything our users do. We track things like: the inspiration they selected, the logos they favorite, the changes they make to logos (e.g. changing the font), the logos they purchase, and more. We currently track about 80 types of actions.
Every day, the learning algorithm reads all these actions and weights each one by how many times it occurred. Because of the structured way it reads actions, it's able to define rules based on "heavy" actions.
For example, an action might be defined as "user changed font weight from 100 (light) to 600 (bold)". This action object includes the number of times it occurred, every other preceding action, and all of the logos ingredients. In this case, let's say the algorithm concluded that every time this happened, the color of the logo was classified as "light". The algorithm would presumably define a rule that says "if the color of the logo is light, do not use a light font weight".
Making V1 took about two and a half months. The most challenging this was definitely creating the structure for the system to define its own rules (in other words, the machine learning). My stack is old-school: PHP, MySQL, jQuery.
Where'd you get the money to bootstrap Logojoy?
I financed Logojoy with savings and a little bit of freelancing.
You're up to $15,000/mo in revenue in less than a year. How exactly does your business model work? And what have you done to grow so fast?
We allow users to build unlimited logos for free. Once they're happy with their logo, they pay $20 for a basic version, or more commonly, $65 for the premium package with includes vectors.
We honestly just built a good product. The key to logo design is presentation. Some people pay $65 for an extremely simple plain-text logo solely because we present the logo in a beautiful way.
We launched on Product Hunt and told everyone in our social networks about it. I would highly recommend getting someone with posting power to post your product on PH on Tuesday — it made all the difference.
Since then, our traffic has been almost 100% word-of-mouth. What really surprised me is how quickly the news spread across the world. Within a day, Japan was our biggest market (with 25% of all our traffic). I think we have a tendency to see the US as the whole pie, when if you're creating something that isn't restricted by language, your market is 10x bigger.
We're starting to experiment with Adwords — where we're paying about $0.20 per click. We're spending about $250/day and that brings about 1,800 people to the site every day.
We're seeing about 5,000 people come to the site each day. 25% of all visitors complete the logo-making process and sign up. Of the people that signup, about 0.5% purchase a logo. We're hoping to raise that up to 1-2% within the next month.
The day Logojoy launched, it made $450 USD and it's only been increasing since. In February 2017, Logojoy made nearly $70,000:
What are your goals for the future? And what are the biggest challenges that lie ahead of you?
I think eventually Logojoy could empower entrepreneurs to design anything from a logo to an ad. I'm really excited now that I can invest all of my time into Logojoy and really make it a world-class product that people LOVE to use.
One thing that will be an ongoing challenge is instilling trust in our users and positioning Logojoy on the same level as designers. Even if Logojoy is eventually able to produce results that are as good as a designer would, people still won't value it as much.
What do you think your biggest advantages have been so far? If you could go back in time, is there anything you'd do differently?
I think my ability to both design and develop has been crucial. When you're able to go from vision to finished product by yourself, you can move and pivot so quickly. I think that my most powerful advantage is the confidence I have to take on any problem. Once you truly know that every problem can be solved by breaking it down into smaller pieces, nothing can stop you.
If I could go back in time, I would definitely get beta users earlier. Once people started to use the site, I was so much more motivated to finish features and fix bugs.
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What's your advice for aspiring indie hackers?
What really worked for me is building a small product. The big picture I have for Logojoy will take years. I was able to get really excited about it because I decided on the simplest version of it. Spend time deciding on the most critical features to launch with, and only build those.
For me, it's all about staying motivated. It's hard to stay motivated sometimes, and the two things that helped me the most are a) being close to launching, or starting with the simplest version of what you want to build, and b) getting feedback from users.