7 Insider Tips on How to Get the Best Work Out of Your Logo Designer

Casa Magazine Logo Santa BarbaraGood logo design is highly individual. It is an attempt to capture the spirit and essence of your company in a simple, distinctive, easily recognized symbol. Designing a logo is a cooperative endeavor: the designer brings his or her expertise in visual communications; you bring a familiarity with your company, your customers and your goals. It is these two factors, working in harmony, that produce a great logo design.

Here are a few things to remember when you’re working with a logo designer:

1. Communicate, communicate, and communicate: The better your designer understands you and your company, the more your logo will reflect the things that make your company unique. If you have a business plan, a mission statement, a company history, a statement of goals and purposes, provide these to your designer. Answer any questions about your company, your products, your customers. What is it that makes your company unique? How are you different from your competitors? What do you bring to the table that other companies don’t? Make sure your logo designer really understands your company. Any experienced, professional logo designer will have asked these types of questions before embarking on designing.

2. Talk about the intangibles: Remember, you are dealing with creative people, so make an effort to describe some of the more abstract things about your company. What words would you use to describe your company – nurturing, aggressive, innovative, friendly, dependable, serious, quirky? If your company were a person, what would they be like? How would you describe the mood or atmosphere of the company? What colors would best symbolize your company? These are the sorts of things that nourish the creative spirit and get the creative juices flowing.

3. “Here, I sketched something out for you”:  If you have an idea, by all means, go ahead and communicate it. But beware of being too specific – that could box the designer in. Give them any ideas you have, but give them the latitude to play with it or do something else entirely. “What I want is a lion coming out of a cave with a sunset behind him…” Whoa! Way too specific. “I like the idea of a lion to symbolize our strength and leadership.” Better. If you have ideas for specific symbols, tools of your trade, or images you’d like to use, communicate these to your designer. But be open to their ideas as well.

4. Provide examples: If you have a specific look or feel you’d like to see in your logo, find some other company logos, ads or images that communicate that feeling. Clip them out of magazines or find them online. Give these to your designer and say “I’d like something with this sort of a mood or feeling.” You are dealing with people who think visually, so providing visual examples makes your ideas real.

Designer frustrated5. “I’ll know it when I see it”: There is nothing more frustrating to a designer than a client who does not participate in the design process, but just passively observes while the designer parades idea after idea before them.  Comments like “I don’t like any of these” or “this is not what we were looking for, do some more designs” are not helpful. Be a partner in the process. Engage in constructive criticism. What specifically do you like or dislike? Rather than “I don’t like any of these,” how about, “I like the feeling of strength in this one, but can we soften it a bit for the female audience?” or “I like the high-tech feeling, but can we make it friendlier-looking?” Try to acknowledge what is positive about the work and suggest a direction for improvement. Keep in mind that creative people are always more interested in what you like than in what you don’t like.

6. “Let me show it to my wife”: Unless your wife is also your business partner, maybe not a good idea. Sure, feel free to show the logo ideas to business partners, clients, stakeholders. Their feedback can be valuable and avoid obvious mishaps. But avoid seeking the opinions of people not intimately familiar with your business. And remember, the key word is feedback – not consensus or agreement. Keep in mind that great creative ideas are never the result of a committee. We had one client who insisted on taking our alternate logo ideas and surveying them on a large group of friends and associates. The one that got the most votes was the most bland, obvious and predictable idea. Unfortunately, cutting-edge ideas are not likely to get broad agreement. Be bold. Get all the feedback you want, but in the final analysis, go with the ideas that you like.

7. Let the designer design: Ultimately, you’ve hired a professional designer because they are the experts in visual communication and graphic impact. They are the idea people. Don’t rein them in too much. Encourage “out of the box” ideas. And when they come up with ideas, listen to them, discuss the rationale, and be open to something new and different. After all, that’s what you hired them for.

Follow these guidelines and you may be surprised at how good your logo can be.

What have your experiences been in dealing with graphic designers?

About Jefferson Hawkins

With over 40 years experience in graphic design, marketing and advertising, Jefferson brings a wealth of old-school basics to the digital age.

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