This is the first post in a series of posts designed to address common design process-related issues & questions encountered by the small business owner & creative professional. Our goal is to answer some of the frequently asked questions from small business owners & creative professionals to professional logo designers in small, easily digested chunks – if we wrote it all in one post, nobody would have time to read the tome! Hopefully, you’ll find this series useful.
In our first post, we’ll address 3 common issues faced by a new business owner or someone who is rebranding their business (you). These items are:
- I know I need a logo but I have no idea where to begin & I’m not sure what I want or which designer to use for it!
- All I need is the logo, right?
- I’ve found a designer I like, I can just pay them to design a logo for me & expect it to be perfect with no input from me, right?
While we do offer the services that we’ll be discussing, we understand that we aren’t a perfect fit for every instance – a perfect example of this may be traditional corporate logos. You may have noticed that our shop doesn’t sport any of these & the reason is that it’s not a style that we find particularly inspiring & we want to enjoy what we do for our clients as much as they enjoy the finished product. Our goal is to educate & empower the small business owner & creative professional to understand the world they’re entering so they can identify the best designer for their needs. Having been on both sides of these questions, we can offer a unique perspective that can be difficult to come by & we know that it can be overwhelming to someone who didn’t expect a process to deliver the best possible product for their business, so let’s dive into these 3 points of working with your logo designer & provide a foundation that will make your design process much more enjoyable.
Question 1: I know I need a logo but I have no idea what to use or where to begin.
To answer this question, there are a few points that are key for a successful logo design & business branding process which you should keep in mind:
- Have you taken the time to browse sites like Pinterest or Etsy to see what styles are available & which of them appeal to you?
- If you have a particular design style/aesthetic that appeals to you & your target market, have you noticed any designers that produce the same style?
- Do the designers that you’ve noticed make themselves easily accessible to the public?
The single most important piece is that you’ve settled on a style that works for you. Once you’ve done that, the rest falls in place fairly easily. If you love shabby chic logos, great! Choose a designer that majors in that & falls within your budget. When choosing your designer, though, be sure that designer makes themselves accessible to you via more than just email or a contact form. If you don’t have any way of contacting them, you’re entirely at their mercy & we’ve had more than a few clients tell us that they paid their last designer in stages & the designer stopped talking to them following the final payment. When we ask if they were able to contact them on the phone or if they had an address, they reply that the only method they had to contact them was over their website or via email. If any contractor you deal with doesn’t make themselves immediately available to the general public and imminently identifiable, we feel that is a sign that you should be very careful when dealing with them. Better yet, pick someone else!
Once you’ve identified a designer, they may have preselected packages that your needs fall within or you may need to work with them for a custom package, just be sure that you’re going to be happy for years to come with what you’re getting. Professional designers will use either a questionnaire or have a series of questions or an interview to determine the best design for your needs – logo design is certainly not one size fits all! Once you’ve agreed on a package from your designer & filled out the questionnaire or completed the interview, trust them to deliver a quality product & stick with the concept. Often, business owners are tempted to get outside feedback during the design process & their sources magically exhibit a profound depth of knowledge in graphic design & marketing, which results in the business owner asking to dramatically change course in the middle of the design process. Trust your designer & stay true to yourself & your target audience, we can’t stress this enough!
Question 2: All I need is a logo, right?
The answer to this is – it depends on your business model. The odds are pretty high that you will need more than just your logo, though, in the form of branded collateral items. What are collateral items, you ask? A few examples may be business cards, website headers, brand-consistent website graphics, thank you cards, etc. Unless your business & website are super simple & clean & you’re not interacting face to face with people, you’re going to need branded collateral items to present a well thought-out, professional image to your target market. How embarrassing would it be for a business owner to have an awesome logo and realize that they have an engagement in a day or two which will require business cards but they didn’t think to have business cards designed & printed, so they’re left with a rush job that falls far short of presenting a cohesive, professional appearance for their business? It could mean the difference between landing a valuable contract and not. Similarly, there are very nice website options readily available in free versions but to present a unique look for your business brand, unless you can use a generic template, your business website isn’t going to make sense to your visitors. If you can use a generic template, that may mean that your branding is missing what it needs to stand apart from the competition, too. While there are approaches that this can work with, we generally don’t advise our clients to fade into the generic background with everyone else.
Question 3: I’ve found a designer I like, I can just pay them to design a logo for me & expect it to be perfect with no input from me, right?
We’ve all been in a situation where we paid a professional to complete a job & thought to ourselves, “I’ll just get out of their way & let them work their magic!” While there are certainly professions that this is applicable to, business branding is simply not one of them & telling a designer that you trust them to design something awesome with little to no input from the you is a fatal mistake you need to avoid. We’ve spoken with clients who used large, popular designers local to their area & used this approach & were disappointed as a result. What would make a large, thriving graphic design agency fall short when presenting their client with multiple logo concepts (designs) from which to choose? The client had no input into what they wanted! There are so many directions that a design can follow, even within the design aesthetic that appeals to a person, since what we’re presenting to the client is that most subjective of all things – art.
We’ll be back next week with our next segment on helping you to not only survive but thrive during the design process!