A well-designed logo is probably one of the most important issues when it comes to design of corporate identity. The logo has to be describable, memorable, scalable and effective without color.
To fulfill these criterias is a quite hard task to accomplish which is why you need a professional logo designer to save your time and achieve best results up front. However, the choice of really good designers is quite time-consuming. What should you keep in mind in making your choice?
In this article David Airey, a logo designer himself, offers his personal perspective on the selection of logo designers, provides some insights in his workflow and explains why you should think twice before choosing logo designers from the Google’s Results front page.
by David Airey
It can’t be easy choosing a logo designer. There are thousands online, and only a handful are worth the money, so you need to be very careful when selecting the person to design your corporate identity.
There are some key aspects you need to look out for:
The strength of the logo design portfolio
Perhaps the most important of all aspects, when choosing a logo designer, is how good their past logos are. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because a website contains hundreds of logos, that the company showing them is actually worth spending money on. What’s more important in a portfolio, 100 mediocre logo designs or 5 / 10 excellent ones?
As a logo designer myself I’m very selective about which designs I show in my logo design portfolio. There are times when a client is stubborn about using a design element that I don’t recommend, and in those cases, I present my reasoning as best I can, provide the client with what they want, and move on.
When I look through some logo design websites, I see many ideas I’d not be happy supplying a client with. There might be some gems hidden in there, amongst a raft of poor options, so why dilute the workmanship by pushing that quantity is better than quality?
A Google search for logo design, shows Logo Guru in the #1 spot, and here’s one of the very first portfolio examples I was greeted with on the Logo Guru homepage.
According to the guidelines in my article about what makes a great logo this one doesn’t fare too well. It’s over-complicated, and because of this, doesn’t scale well. Legibility suffers in black and white because of the low contrast and overlapping image / text, and to be honest, it looks like a mess.
I don’t mean to be over-critical of another business, and I hope I’m not coming across as too negative. To compensate, I searched the Logo Guru site until I found a more favourable logo design (below). I had to click through more than 10 pages to find it, which goes back to my point about diluting the quality. If you show poor designs, how does your client know that they won’t receive one?
The Serenex logo is a much better than the Blooming Boutique idea, although I always like to read why a particular logo is chosen. Too many logo design portfolios show the logo alone, without even a sentence to describe the design brief. This leaves the prospective client looking at your designs almost entirely from a subjective point of view. They have no idea if it actually works, or fulfils the criteria specified at the beginning of the project. That’s why every inclusion in my logo design portfolio is published as an individual blog post, allowing me to show specific information, design alternatives, a small sample of sketches, and for you to leave your thoughts (positive or negative) in the comment form.
How does the logo designer communicate?
With the growth of the online logo design industry, it’s becoming much less common for a client to meet face-to-face with their designer. So just how will you be communicating about your important project?
Before any money changes hands, be sure about the communication process, and how available your designer is across different timezones. On my contact page, I state the following:
I’m available by telephone, email, instant messaging (Skype or alternative IM software) and face-to-face if you’re based around Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve also visited clients around the UK, and am more than happy to do so if the need arises.
You can tell a lot from the way in which someone expresses their thoughts. Grammar, spelling and punctuation can also give a snapshot into how knowledgable your prospective logo designer is (cue a reader comment pointing out a typo in this post).
Who better to tell you about a particular logo designer than their previous clients? Sometimes a portfolio can tell you all you need to know, but even then, wouldn’t it be nice to read what other people think of your prospective designer?
When I’ve finished a project for a client, I make sure to ask for a testimonial. There hasn’t been one occasion where a recommendation was refused, and I show a few client comments on the ‘hire me’ page of my site.
I think it’s vital to include a name after the testimonial, and better yet, a link to their website, or their email address (of course you must ask permission before supplying any contact info). A photo is also a nice touch which I’ve seen implemented. I’ve seen a lot of fake testimonials, and they’re normally easy to spot (no name, no website).
Questions a logo designer asks
It’s impossible to design a logo that works, without answers. Questions that should be asked revolve around company history, the target market, what sets the business apart, the company goals, the service or product offered.
At present, there are a couple of options for my logo design clients to take. They can either receive my design questionnaire via email, whereby they type their answers below my questions and ping the email back, or they can complete my interactive PDF form, found on the ‘hire me’ page of my website. If you like to create a similar form for yourself, there are details here – how to create interactive PDF forms.
The logo design process
What do you know about how your designer works? What steps are taken before and after a logo design has been chosen? Will you receive the file types needed for both print and web, at any size of reproduction?
It goes without saying, that when you’re spending a large amount of your hard-earned cash, you want to know exactly what you’re paying for. My personal logo design process is available for all to see, and I aim to be as transparent as possible in my working practices, in order to build trust, and a lasting client relationship.
Timeframe for project completion
Good logo design takes time. A logo designer can’t simply jump in front of their computer, type your company name, add an icon and send the file. You should expect a quality outcome to take at least three days, and don’t forget any possible revisions that may be required.
My estimated timeframe for logo design completion is usually five working days, following receipt of an initial downpayment. Be wary of companies who offer a 24 hour turnaround time. It’s simply not realistic, and shows that very little time is actually spent researching your business and competition. Research and brainstorming is an important part of the design process, and should never be overlooked.
Next time you’re looking for a logo designer, think twice before choosing those on the front page of Google.