1/ Design isn’t what you might think it is
Design is communication. The interaction, behaviours, flows even down to the copy that you talk to your users with, all of this is designed communication and process. But most importantly design is problem solving through process and ingenuity. This is me setting out broad context.
2/ A fixed identity at the beginning is crazy.
In my opinion like the motivations of every user the product should begin with itself and move outward. If you are young and still in the discovery stage there will be alot of questions still in the air. Who the company is, what problem you are actually solving and how you will go about it. A logo, Identity and the guidelines that a brand needs are fed by the direction and vision that a company has established. In a few months time you could be pivoting into a completely different area so the visual identity you need has to be as fluid as you are right now. Logo’s are the heart and soul of companies so wait until you have finished the discovery phase to begin putting the full identity together. Setting out a simple colour palette and some rules to what those colours are and how they should be deployed can be a great time saving measure. When deciding on colours understand that every colour has a meaning and have their complimentary and contrasting partner. Have a look at this article on the Huffington Post on The Psychology of Color in Logo Design (INFOGRAPHIC) . This will start down the path of defining your look and feel: instruments of how you talk to the user/customer.
Decide on a font. Whether that be Googlefonts/Typekitintegration or just the basic web-safe font choices it doesn’t really matter just pick one and stick to it. I have seen alot of startup websites where pages have different sized fonts on multiple pages. This breaks the rhythm that you build from page to page. Make it large enough to comfortably read with a good line-height so paragraphs of content don’t look cluttered and give it space to breath. You will hear designers mention the fact that most images and content aren’t left to breath in layouts and this is very true. Simply giving elements enough space to communicate and not overwhelm the user can make the experience for the user more comfortable. I read a good article entitled ‘Don’t let your startup make these design mistakes