10 Best Branding Agencies for Startups

Nearly all creative agencies include 'branding' in their list of services, but not many actually specialize, or are any good at branding.

Then there's all the branding agencies that have outgrown the typical startup budget, like Huge or Pentagram for instance. Even medium sized agencies like Big Human, now show their dream-client list as being companies like Lego and Tesla.

The list below is not for the the current startup unicorns, it's for the up-and-coming unicorns. If you are a fast moving innovative startup looking for a branding agency, this list is for you.

logos for the 10 best branding agencies for startups floating in space shining bright like diamonds
Best Branding Agencies For Startups: Red Antler, Condensed, Jessica Jones, Gretel, Together, Motto, Anchour, We Are Underdog, Gander, Orange You Glad

Why should you trust this list?

Our agency has been around for over 15 years so we've had a lot of time to research and understand our competition. We are a competitive agency but one that recognizes and admires other players in the space. We've grown to love each of these agencies for different reasons over the years.

Note that these agencies are NOT listed in any particular order, each is the best-of-the-best in their own way.

This list is updated regularly and was created in January of 2023.

Anchour

We build impactful brands.
A photo of a piece of paper with logos on it, showing off examples of logos designed by Anchour's brand studio.
Logos by Anchour Branding

Why we like Anchour

We love how they distinguish themselves as storytellers. Just the way they tell their own story lets you know they'll do a good job telling yours. Based in Maine, Anchor's brand feels very outdoor and rugged, just look at that massive anchor logo or how their video takes place in a woodshop! The story they tell is one of dedication to the craft and art of refining and revising a brand.

What types of startups should work with Anchour?

Any brand looking to develop or refine their storytelling would be a good fit.

Visit Anchor (opens in a new tab)

Jessica Jones

Logos and visual identities that become the hallmarks of wonderful brands
Screenshots of the components of the Chromatic Branding, showing off typography, shapes that go into creating the graphics, primary and secondary color palettes
Brand Identity for Chromatic by Jessica Jones

Why we like Jessica Jones

Jessica has been around for a long time, she does quality work, and obviously doesn't churn out projects. She has a very transparent approach, unlike most other agencies she has a web page that shows her pricing options. You can tell she enjoys her work, and tries hard to make sure each will have a place of honor in her portfolio. You can't say that about a lot of the brand agencies out there.

What types of startups should work with Jessica Jones?

A very early stage startup or an independent entrepreneur would be ideal for Jessica Jones.

Visit Jessica Jones (opens in a new tab)

We Are Underdog

The World is Drowning in a Sea of Sameness
Image of a line-up of Corporate Suits with geometrical black and red (digital-looking) distortion over their faces.  Shows off the aggressive branding style of We Are Underdog.
Branding for DTC Tech company Eve by We Are Underdog

Why we like 'We are Underdog'

This agency isn't for every startup, which is a good thing. Lots of the branding agency sites feel very homogenous, not counting this list of stand-outs of course. And it's not just the agencies that all feel the same, but the brands they create don't feel very unique either - go figure.

Well you can't make that critique here, 'We Are Underdog' prides themselves on going against the grain. Their brands, and their site speaks loudly and proudly to rise above the noise.

What types of startups should work with 'We Are Underdog'

This agency would not be for you if you are looking for an understated elegant brand probably, but there's a lot of others on this list that would. If you are looking for a sledge hammer of a brand though, you've found your agency.

Located in Hoboken, NJ

Visit We Are Underdog (opens in new tab)

Gretel

We create clarity. Clarity of purpose and clarity of communication through insightful strategy and memorable design.
RISD re-brand by Gretel

Of all the names on this list, Gretel may be out of reach to some startup budgets, they work with larger clients, but we love their solutions to problems. Their work regularly de-constructs graphic norms like the type here on the RISD logo or the work they did with CBS pulling apart the iconic eye logo. The simplicity of it gives it impact and makes it memorable.

What types of startups should work with Gretel?

Larger well funded startups, or startups that are open to parting with some of their equity are a good fit Gretel.

Visit Gretel (opens in a new tab)

Red Antler

Challenging What is and creating what's next.
Subway advertising for Prose by Red Antler
Branding for Prose by Red Antler

Why we like Red Antler

Red Antler is one of the larger names on this list, they get into the territory of startup agencies that are out of the reach of most startup budgets. They get around this by partnering with startups and taking some of the payment in equity (like an accelerator program).

Not a lot of superfluous flashiness; they come up with compelling graphic solutions that don't end up looking tacky or too trendy. They have a really good eye for what makes a good logo mark. A good amount of their work feels playful, which can be a hard thing to sell to a client but always feels like a win when it's done right.

What types of startups should work with Red Antler

Larger well funded startups, or startups that are open to parting with some of their equity are a good fit for Red Antler.

Red Antler is based in Brooklyn NY

Visit Red Antler (opens in new tab)

Orange You Glad

Helping brands we care about look sharp since 2002.
bright orange background with fruits and vegetables on it, decorated with edible stickers by Sticky Lickit - the Sticky Lickit logo large in the middle.
Branding for Sticky Lickit by Orange You Glad

Why we like Orange You Glad

Orange You Glad has always had a special place in our hearts. They were one of the few agencies that existed in Brooklyn when we started out in 2003. I remember thinking it was so cool that they had their logo painted on the roll-up gate of their building. Always fun and playful over everything else, you can be sure that the work you get from them will be creative and energetic.

What types of startups should work with Orange You Glad

Early stage and funded startups, likely looking to create a 'fun' brand with a lot of personality are a good fit.

Check out Orange You Glad (opens in a new tab)

Franklyn

Franklyn is the creative studio you’ve been searching for your entire life. Prepare yourself for surprise and delight.

NOTE: Don't judge them on this cringy tagline, they have made some great brands:

Capsule Branding by Franklyn

Why We Like Franklyn

We were going to try to limit the number of Brooklyn agencies on this list, but there's just so many great ones. Franklyn is definitely on the list, they are great at taking something that would normally be boring and clinical like a pharma service and making it into an exciting brand. This is pretty common now for DTC prescription services, but not when Capsule came out, they set the bar.

Visit Franklyn (opens in a new tab)

Together

We Build Brands that Re-Shape the World
a tote bag and ball cap branded with the Resource Furniture logo
branding for Resource Furniture by Together

Why we like Together

We like how technical and precise Together's work is while still staying playful and creative. Their design solutions are thought provoking, and their brands are iconic. Great all around branding agency for startups!

What types of startups should work with Together?

Fast moving larger startups and existing mid sized businesses are a good fit.

Visit Together (opens in new tab)

Condensed

What makes us unique

Our agency, Condensed, was one of the first branding agencies geared towards working with startups. Before starting our own agency, we were at much larger Manhattan agencies working with corporate clients. We wanted to start a small agency to bring that top level of artistry, and service to the startup scene which was just starting to take off in Brooklyn.

We try to make every job our most important job. We don't take on many clients, and we have a very small team. So by design every job needs to be very important to us. You can read more about our branding process here.

Agencies that almost made the list

This list is always being updated, here's a few more branding agencies for startups that we love which were not mentioned above, we keep updating this list, so keep checking back in the future.

Brent Lagerman

Brent Lagerman