Your logo is your brand’s signature, and one of your company’s most valuable assets. This is the only element that will symbolize your brand more than anything else. A well-designed logo is one that reflects your business.
It needs to be simple, unique, unforgettable, versatile, and able to work without color. In order to choose a logo, there are important steps for both yourself and the graphic designer to go through. In this post, I outline the logo design process and some important guidelines to keep in mind when choosing the perfect logo for you. For the creation of your logo, you are free to choose either an independent designer, a design firm or perhaps an advertising agency. In this post solely for the purpose of convenience and readability, I will use the term “designer” to include any type of business or individual as applicable in your case.
Choose a budget
First, you should decide your budget for your new logo. These can cost anywhere from $300-1500 (USD), and sometimes even more. Just remember that you get what you pay for, and a designer’s fees will reflect experience, customer history, and professionalism. Firstly, Investing in a logo (and a corporate identity to go with it) is one of the most important steps you can take when building a brand. The cost of a logo is more than the hours it takes to make it.
You can find Logo Bank and contest sites online and get one for about $150. There are even different freelancer sites where people quote very low prices—like $50. Just be aware that picking up a logo for a bargain online can be disastrous. Inexperienced designers can take forever, may not communicate well, use clip art images (a definite no-no), and may not provide you with the correct files you need for both print and web use.
There are many places where you can find graphic designers. Choosing the right designer for you is definitely very difficult (and we’ll get to that in a minute). You can locate a lot of candidates by using different methods.
ask around. If you know someone who has a great logo, just ask them who did it. Most of my freelance design work comes from my link.
Find graphic design firm directories such as those at graphicdesign.com.
Browse design galleries and portfolio communities like Behance Network.
You can Search “logo design” and “logo development” on social networks like Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook.
Choose a Suitable Designer
After contacting several designers and requesting quotes, make sure you look at more than just the price when deciding to get the job. Consider the designer’s past logos and the corporate identity built around those logos. Look for good design presentations as it shows how much they care about their professional appearance. Read the descriptions that go with each of their logo projects because a logo can look great, but it must meet specific design requirements to be effective.
More importantly, choose a logo designer whose design style best suits your own preferred style. By doing this, you will be happy with the logo you end up with, and the designer will be happy because that style is what they are most comfortable with.
You can judge the professionalism of a graphic designer from the following points. Not all of these need to be implemented, but be on the lookout for at least some of them.
- They are courteous, direct, knowledgeable, and efficient communicators.
- They explain their design process to you and tell you what will be delivered upon completion.
- They will ask you business-relevant questions to understand your business.
- They have some sort of contract or service agreement to sign before getting started.
- They require specified advance payment before they can start.
- His grammar, spelling, and punctuation are at least satisfactory. (Like any industry, bad writing says a lot about a person).
An important note here: If the designer presents you with a contract or a contract, make sure that the ownership of the logo is transferred to you upon final payment. If there is nothing in writing that states ownership, ask your designer to put this agreement in writing. It is essential that you own your logo design so that you can legally use it however you like in the future.
Explain Details to Designer
Whether you send your designer a face-to-face brief or send a brief as an email, it’s essential to be clear about what you want. Answer these questions first:
- If you presently have a logo, why don’t you like it?
- What does your business do?
- Who is your target market?
- Who are your main competitors?
- How are you different from your competitors?
- What qualities do you look for your company to project?
- What feelings do you want your new logo to evoke?
- Do you have any tagline that needs to be included in the design?
- Will your logo appear in the video? If so, will it eventually require an animated version?
- Which distinctive logos are your favorites, and why?
- Do you favor typographic logos (FedEx or ESPN), symbolic logos (Nike or Apple), or a combination of both (Pepsi or Adidas)?
Tell the designer exactly where you plan to use the logo. Sure, you’ll have business cards and a website, but will it show up on billboards and on your social media profiles as well?
Ask if the designer will provide a logo usage guideline document, which gives advice on how the logo can and cannot be used. For example, what logo variation can be used on what color background? Lastly, ask for a favicon. This is the small image that appears in browser tabs, in your bookmarks manager, and on your computer when you save a webpage. They typically come in one of three sizes: 16×16, 32×32, or 64×64 pixels. Ask for a 64×64 pixel favicon so it looks crisp everywhere.
Armed with all this knowledge, your designer should be able to deliver an accurate visual representation of your business. Consolidating your vision before briefing a designer will definitely save you time, money, and headaches in the end.
When I entered the logo design industry, I encountered a few clients who expected me to know all these things and give the right solution to a problem that was not clearly articulated. This inevitably led to non-stop modifications around his logo and tired faces. So I decided to start sending myself a list of initial logo design questions before even considering the job. If you don’t know what you want in the beginning, you can keep changing your mind as the project progresses. It’s certainly okay to change your mind, but keep in mind that the designer will probably ask you for more money before continuing.
Choose a Logo concept
The designers will then do the necessary research and experimentation, then come back to you with some concept designs. This will take around two to four days depending on the specific task. Ideally, they’ll present you with three to six hand-drawn sketches. When you first look at concepts, choose a logo that immediately catches your eye. This is usually what your gut is telling you to choose. Continue the decision-making process by asking yourself some essential questions:
- Does it represent my product or business?
- Does this convey my message?
- Is the design simple enough?
- Does the design have enough contrast to stand out?
- Will it work without color?
- Will it work when it’s too small?
- Does it look too much like any other logo?
- Will it be relevant five to ten years down the road?
After that sleep on it. Do the exact same thing and ask yourself the same question a second time. Do your answers change? It’s also a good idea to ask friends and family what they think.
Give useful feedback
After the first draft, your designer may actually present a logo that’s close to what you’re looking for, but it’s not often that they’ll hit the nail on the head right away. Therefore, it is up to you to communicate your needs as best as possible. Provide your designer with feedback that may be useful. Simply saying is that “I don’t like any of them” doesn’t really help the process. Express why you don’t like something, or what you want to see differently, such as, “I don’t like how rigid and symmetrical it is. Can you speed it up more or make it more alive? can?”
It is important to give clear direction, but try not to be a designer yourself. You hired a designer for a reason, so let them do what they do best. If you have chosen a good designer who communicates well and matches your preferred style, you can be assured that they will provide you with quality work.
You should receive the deliverables promised to you at the beginning of the business relationship, upon release of the final payment to the designer. This must include vector files that are resizable, unlike raster images which cannot be increased in size without being pixelated (blurred).
You need files that you can start using on the website right away (usually PNG, JPG, or GIF). If you want the background to be transparent then ask for a PNG of the GIF (no white boxes around your logo). You also need to obtain the original source files (usually AI or EPS). You’ll definitely want to keep the source files in case someone else needs to modify or expand on your logo someday. For example, if one day you hire someone to make a video for you, a source file is needed to include your logo—a JPG just won’t cut it.
When it’s time to choose the perfect logo for you, realize that it’s not a simple process. It depends on your type of business, and your goals.