Will a robot design your next company logo? Yali Saar is counting on it. So are two venture capital firms – Mangrove Capital Partners and Disruptive Technologies – which have invested $5 million in Saar’s company, Tailor Brands, which creates logos without ever involving a human being.

You simply input the name of your business, answer a few questions, and in less time than it takes to order a cup of coffee, your entire branding campaign is on its way.

We tried it with a brand we had already designed the traditional way. While we still preferred the logo we spent hundreds of dollars on, that’s not the point of Tailor Brands, where a logo costs as little as $3.

“We want to democratize branding for those who don’t have a million-dollar budget,” Saar says. “We could capitalize the company more and identify clients with bigger budgets. But we want to make sure every coffee shop in Jerusalem can compete with Starbucks.”

There are over 80 million businesses that want branding but can’t afford it, Saar adds.

Logos designed automatically at Tailor Brands cost as little as $3. Photo: courtesy

Some two million companies have started the logo design process with Tailor Brands, generating 20 million different logos. Not all companies complete the process because they only pay if and when they decide to adopt the final design. The remaining logos are like ideas floated by an ad man.

Saar ought to know – he was once one of those ad men.

Tailor Brands cofounder Yali Saar. Photo: courtesy
Tailor Brands cofounder Yali Saar. Photo: courtesy

Saar grew up in Israel and started his career as a child actor on the Israeli Children’s Channel before moving to the stage at the Beit Lessin theater. But he wanted something “with a little more content in it, that would challenge me more,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

So he moved to New York and enrolled at Columbia University to study journalism. He ended up writing copy at BBDO, one of the world’s largest advertising firms. There he met his Tailor Brands cofounders, Nadav Shatz and Tom Lahat. They began working up an algorithm to automate some of BBDO’s design backflow.

Tailor Brands’ cofounder Nadav Shatz. Photo: courtesy

The algorithm was meant for internal purposes, but Saar wanted to go bigger. He contacted the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. The organizers were willing to feature it onstage if Saar and his team could turn the algorithm into a consumer-facing product.

That was in 2014 and the company has been tearing up the logo design world ever since. These days, Tailor Brands generates more than 350,000 logos a month. The company’s goal is to become the biggest branding agency in the world.

Tailor Brands’ cofounder Tom Lahat. Photo: courtesy

Not just logos

“People wanted a logo to start, but then they came back to us and need business cards or banners or posts for their online presence,” Saar says.

That led to the realization that the money wasn’t in one-off designs but in recurring subscriptions. For around $10 a month, Tailor Brands will develop logos in multiple sizes and formats (think t-shirts, business cards, Facebook ads, PowerPoint presentations and letterhead) along with analytics, so you can see how your ad campaign is doing and how many followers you have on social media. There’s also a weekly scheduler.

Tailor Brands will even set its robots to work on your text copy. You choose from a list of styles just as you do for logo design.

Using machine learning, Tailor Brands learns what its clients prefer and can even identify new creative trends based on changes customers make to the initial design.

Saar says this makes Tailor Brands more effective than other logo sites where designers try to give the client “exactly what he wants. A true designer’s role is to educate you about what you need.”

A Tailor Brands subscription includes a complete brand book. “We educate you as to what your business stands for and how to use your brand in the right way and with the right colors and positions,” Saar says.

Tailor Brands suggests the best design and colors for your branding. Photo: courtesy

Tailor Brands doesn’t always give you what you expect. We input text for a brand that included the word “pepper” but none of the logos came back with a picture of a pepper.

“Not every logo with ‘gold’ in the title should be gold-plated,” Saar says. “Not every plumber should have a wrench in his logo.”

Given that Tailor Brands is entirely automated, what are the chances that two plumbers could get the exact same logo?

“It’s statistically possible, but it’s no more common than if a Japanese and Israeli designer came up with the same logo,” Saar says. “There are tens of millions of different variables.”

Tailor, by the way, is not a shortcut for “tailor-made,” as we thought. Saar imagined his company’s technology with a personality. Tailor is the tech’s name, he explains. “We wanted it to become its own identity. The biggest argument we have in the company is whether Tailor is male or female.”

Tailor Brands started in New York, but several months ago Saar relocated himself and the company’s headquarters to Israel. There is now a team of 20 in Tel Aviv.

“A lot of people don’t realize we have amazing marketing talent here,” Saar says. “Companies like Wix, which are purely business-to-consumer, don’t need a US office. They can be solely in Israel and still dominate their market overseas.”

Plus Saar missed his homeland. “It’s always a bit of a cultural shock coming back, even if you grew up here,” he muses. “But after a while, it’s a good cultural shock.”

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