BEFORE WE DIVE INTO THE LIST, LET ME EXPLAIN WHY THESE THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT BEFORE HIRING A LOGO DESIGNER.
I’m often asked, “How much do you charge for logo design?“ It’s a perfectly reasonable question and it seems simple enough to answer, but it’s not. Why? A logo is a lot like a signature. It belongs to one person or, in this case, one business. The purpose of the logo is to be unique and identifiable. You want anything with your logo on it to be instantly recognised as yours. Your products, your services, your message. It’s the figurehead of your visual identity. A simple, compatible (i.e. complementary to your intended branding) mark which represents your business. Each business, like each person and each signature, is different. And the importance placed on that signature differs every time. That brings us to Number 1…
1. DECIDE HOW IMPORTANT THE LOGO IS TO YOU
I get it. Starting a business is tough. The costs can be phenomenal. You’ve got a budget and you want to stick to it. Besides, is a logo really that important? Put a few images together or choose a nice typeface and you’ve got a logo, right? Well, no. A good designer will put a lot of thought into your logo. The designer needs to know about you, your business, your niche, and your customer. They need to know where you’ll be using your logo. Is it going on the side of a truck? On business cards? Will you be running your business primarily on Facebook? As designers, we take these things into account. We have the skills and experience to know what works best in print vs digital. We know that certain shapes and layouts work best with certain platforms. For instance, your logo will need to be square or circular (1:1 ratio) for most social media profile pictures, but you may need a horizontal layout for a website header. You may actually require several logo variations for various uses.
So the question remains… how much does your logo mean to you? Is your business really more of a hobby at this stage? Will you have the time to organise a re-brand later, or is it best to get it right before you launch? Do you already have a backlog of clients waiting for your services, or will you need to entice them by showing you’ve put effort into the way you present yourself? Would a ‘template logo’ (one design used by any number of businesses, but updated with your business name) be adequate? Or do you value the time it takes to create something unique? Here’s the thing, if you’ve decided you want something unique: You’re better off providing your designer with your business plan than with a mood board. It’s the designer’s job to know which colours, which typefaces, which visual message will encourage strong connections between you and your audience. But it’s up to the business owner to tell the designer who the customer is, how your business will be positioned in the market, etc., in order for the designer to make those decisions. A lot of this info will be contained in your Business Plan. Now for Number 2…
2. GET CLEAR ON YOUR MESSAGE
Most designers will ask you to complete a Design Brief at the onset of the project. In that Brief, they will often ask you what your message is. You might be thinking, ‘it’s a logo, not a slogan or a by-line. What kind of question is this?‘. Fair enough. Here’s what we want from you… Graphic Design is also referred to as Visual Communication and there’s a good reason for that; Graphic Design is not art. The objective of Graphic design is to achieve a specific goal; to send a message to your audience. If you’ve ever read poetry, you’ll know that it’s all about using imagery (in the form of words) to convey a message. Graphic Design is very similar, only instead of using words, we use colour psychology, text alignment, visual hierarchy, etc., to convey the message. Our intention is to make the reader feel the way the author intended by communicating the message visually. When your reader feels, they connect. And connection creates trust. This is why having a clear message is incredibly important. Without a message, the visuals are nothing but decoration. They may look nice, but they’re not effective. They aren’t being utilised to achieve a goal. The real value of a Graphic Designer is how well they communicate your message and promote connection with your audience. If your designer asks you what message you want your logo to communicate, will you know how to answer? Whilst a designer can work with you on this question, it’s best to have the answer as clear in your mind as possible beforehand. The clearer you are about your message, the clearer your designer can be about how they will deliver that message, the timeframe they can deliver it in, and the cost involved develop that message visually. If you want to get super clear on your message we’ve created a comprehensive ‘Build Your Brand‘ workbook to help you get there.
3. TRY TO LET GO
OK, so you’ve developed your Business Plan, you’re clear on your message, and now I’m asking you to let go? That’s insane! But yes, you heard right. It’s your business and, as a business owner myself, I know it can seem like an extension of your very being. You’ve nurtured it and helped it grow. But it’s time to step back and let it breathe. Allow room for another perspective. Allow your designer to view the business and message objectively, the way your audience would. Remember the old saying ‘you can’t unlearn what you’ve already learnt‘? No? OK, I made that up. But it’s true. It becomes so much harder to see something from a beginner’s perspective once you’re no longer a beginner. Your audience doesn’t know your business the way you do. They don’t intrinsically know the message you’re trying to send. It’s exceptionally hard to un-see your message when you already know what it is. Allow your designer to be a fresh pair of eyes. You’ve got your heart set on having your logo covered in silver sparkles? That’s great! We can work with that, but maybe it needs some tweaking. Remember why you hired the designer – for their expertise. And if you don’t have trust in your (potential) designers’ expertise, end the relationship. It’s OK to decide you’re not a good fit. It’s a professional relationship, not a friendship. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Keep looking and find a designer you can work with, whose ideas resonate with you and who understands your message; but let the designer do their thing and allow them to explain why if their vision differs from yours. Getting a logo designed is an incredibly exciting process and I hope these tips help the journey go even more smoothly.