You know you need a new business logo design but you’ve been putting it off because the process sounds so intimidating. Or maybe you’ve worked with a logo designer in the past and the experience was always stressful. I’m here to reassure you that it doesn’t have to be that way! By following these five tips, the process is sure to be less of a headache and possibly even fun.
#1 – Reference photos
You show up at the hair salon with 27 inspiration photos, but you come to your graphic designer with a vague idea of what you’d like your logo to look like. Big mistake! As graphic designers, we are obviously visual people. Share with us anything and everything you’ve seen that tells a story about what you like (or even what you don’t like) in a logo design. I try to get my social media savvy clients to join me in pinning to a Pinterest board. It’s an easy and fun way to bounce ideas back and forth, especially if the client is not local to me for in-person meetings. Send screenshots of logo designs you like, even if they are from a different industry. Just remember to try and explain what it is that you like about the logo: color, typeface, the use of negative space, etc.
#2 – Be prepared to answer LOTS of questions
Working with a graphic designer should ideally mean you will need to answer a lot of questions about your business, target audience, local market, business goals, and so on. If you designer doesn’t ask about these things, they are not doing their job. I’ve experienced resistance from clients in the past who either don’t know what they want or don’t understand why I need to know so much information. By designing a company logo a graphic designer is helping you invest in your business. You want to make sure you are not wasting time and money on a logo design that looks pretty but is not serving its intended purpose.
#3 – Cut the clip-art
This one disappoints lots of folks, but the pretty jpeg images you want to incorporate into your logo are not going to work. To get the most out of your logo design you’re going to want a vector graphic. Your logo designer will use software like Adobe Illustrator to design your logo, which creates lines that can be made infinitely larger or smaller. The line below, part of a vector image being created in Illustrator, could be made infinitely large or small.
Raster images on the other hand (such as jpeg files) are made up of pixels and will look like tetris blocks when you try to make the image larger. The image below was blown up to around 1500% of its original size (something that you might need to do if you’re printing an outdoor sign, a car wrap, or a truck graphic) and you can see every pixel making up the image.
#4 – Less is more
Many clients come to me and are totally following tip #1 above and they have TONS of ideas about what they want in their company logo. But they’re going a bit too far. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Make up your mind!” It’s a common misconception that you need a lot of graphic elements in your logo design in order to make it portray what you do. Or to make it “pop”. Take a look at many of the world’s biggest brands and you’ll notice they are extremely simple. Well-thought out, but simple. “I could draw a swoosh myself,” you say, “so why should I hire a graphic designer?” You see, there are subtle elements of a logo that the eye glances over but your brain reads them as professional and polished. The letters, for example. If you simply type out the letters of your company name, not every font will display them in a manner that looks good. It takes typography knowledge and a good eye to set the letters the appropriate width apart (called kerning; throw that out in conversation with your graphic designer and she will be WAY impressed).
For example, the font below, Nexa Rust Sans Black, has some awkward spaces when initially typed out. Also, the default space between the lines of text (called leading) is excessive.
The example below is still not absolutely perfect, but by adjusting the kerning and leading it looks a bit more refined, and the letters on the top row line up with the letters on the bottom row.
#5 – Understand why a good logo designer is so expensive (but essential)
These days there are lots of ways to get a free logo design, or a cheap logo. Why would you pay a logo designer so much money? Like any other profession, a graphic designer has spent time, effort, and maybe even money to gain all the knowledge she has. You wouldn’t pay someone $5 to perform heart surgery, but you don’t mind letting someone design a free logo for your business. Your logo is EVERYTHING in your business. It will be the first thing many customers associate with your company. Subconsciously they will determine whether you are an established, successful business or a cheap, struggling one, all by looking at your logo. It’s vitally important for a company to work with the most experienced designer their budget allows for. You can always rebrand your business as it grows and you have a bigger budget to work with. Also realize that a good logo designer may spend hours working on your entire logo design, from questions and research (tip #2 above), to sketches, back and forth conversation and edits, finalizing the image in Illustrator, and setting up the different types of files.
Remember, graphic designers are everyday folks, and we are in the business of helping! So don’t be scared or shy. Logo design CAN be stress-free and a fun beginning or rediscovery phase for your business.
Have you worked with a graphic designer before? What things did you find to be helpful during the design process? Leave your tips in the comments below!