How to choose a logo design that’s perfect for you
Your logo is your brand’s signature and one of your company’s most valuable assets. It is the unique item that will symbolize your brand more than anything else. A well-designed logo is one that reflects your business and communicates your message. It should be simple, unique, memorable, versatile, and able to function without color.
In choosing a logo, there are important steps to take, both by yourself and with a graphic designer. In this post, I outline the logo design process and some important guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a logo that is perfect for you.
For the creation of your logo, you can choose a freelance designer, a design company or perhaps an advertising agency. Throughout this publication, for the sake of convenience and readability, I will use the term “designer” to include any type of company or individual that is applicable to your case.
Choose a budget
First of all, you need to decide your budget for your new logo. They can cost anywhere from $ 300-1500 (USD) and sometimes more. Just remember that you get what you pay for, and a designer’s fees will reflect experience, client history, and professionalism. Investing in a logo (and a corporate identity to go with it) is one of the most important first steps you can take when building a brand. A logo is worth much more than the hours it takes to create it.
You can find logo banks and contest sites online and get one for around $ 150. There are even different freelance sites where people bid unbelievably low prices, like $ 50. Just keep in mind that choosing a logo is cheap. online can be disastrous. Inexperienced designers can take forever, not communicate well, use clipart (a definite no-no), and may not provide you with the correct files you need for both print and web use.
There are so many places where you can find graphic designers. Choosing the right designer for you is definitely much more difficult (and we’ll get to that in a minute). You can locate many candidates using different methods.
- Ask around. If you know someone with a great logo, just ask who did it. Most of my freelance design work comes from references.
- Look for graphic design business directories like the one at GraphicDesign.com.
- Explore design galleries and portfolio communities like The Behance Network.
- Search for “logo design” and “logo development” on social media such as Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook.
Choose a suitable designer
After contacting several designers and requesting quotes, be sure to consider more than just price when deciding who gets the work. Consider the designer’s previous logos and the corporate identities they have created around those logos. Look for good design presentations because it shows how much they care about their own professional appearance. Read the descriptions that accompany each of your logo projects because a logo can look great and all, but it must meet specific design requirements to be effective.
More importantly, choose a logo designer whose design style suits your preferred style. By doing this, you will be happy with the logo you end up with, and the designer will be happy because that style is what they are most comfortable with.
You can judge the professionalism of a graphic designer by the following points. Not all of them have to apply, but be on the lookout for at least some of them.
- They are educated, direct, informed and efficient communicators.
- They explain their design process to you and tell you what will be delivered upon completion.
- They will ask you relevant questions to understand your business.
- They have to sign some kind of contract or service agreement before starting.
- They require a specified advance payment before starting.
- Your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are at least satisfactory. (As in any industry, bad writing says a lot about a person.)
A crucial note here: if the designer presents you with a contract or agreement, make sure ownership of the logo is transferred to you at the time of final payment. If there is nothing in writing that mentions the property, ask your designer to give you this agreement in writing. It is imperative that you own your logo design so that you can legally use it however you want in the future.
Inform the designer in detail
Whether you inform your designer in person or send a summary in the form of email, it is essential to explain what you want in detail. Answer these questions first:
- If you currently have a logo, why don’t you like it?
- What does your business do?
- Who is your target market?
- Who are your main competitors?
- How is it different from your competitors?
- What qualities do you want your company to project?
- What feelings do you want your new logo to incite?
- Have a slogan that needs to be included in the design?
- Will your logo appear on videos? If so, will you eventually need an animated version?
- What specific logos are your favorites and why?
- Do you like type logos (FedEx or ESPN), symbolic logos (Nike or Apple), or a combination of both (Pepsi or Adidas)?
Let the designer know exactly where you plan to use the logo. Sure, you will have business cards and a website, but will it also show up on billboards and on your social media profiles?
Ask if the designer will provide a logo usage guidelines document, outlining how the logo can and cannot be used. For example, what logo variation can be used on what background color? Finally, ask for a favicon. This is the little image that appears on your browser tabs, in your bookmark manager, and on your computer when you save a web page. They generally come in one of three sizes: 16 × 16, 32 × 32, or 64 × 64 pixels. Order a 64 × 64 pixel favicon, so it looks sharp everywhere.
Equipped with all this knowledge, your designer should be able to offer an accurate visual representation of your business. Solidifying your vision before reporting to a designer will definitely save you time, money, and headaches in the end.
When I entered the logo design industry, I found some clients who expected me to know all these things and provide them with a perfect solution to a problem that was not clearly expressed. Inevitably, it led to continual revisions of their logo and tired faces everywhere. That’s why I decided to start submitting a list of preliminary questions about logo design before even considering a job. If you don’t know what you want at first, you can keep changing your mind as the project progresses. It’s definitely okay to change your mind, but keep in mind that the designer will likely ask you for more money before continuing.
Choose a logo concept
The designer will then do the necessary research and experiments, then come back to you with some conceptual designs. This will take around two to four days, depending on the specific job. Ideally, they will present you with three to six hand-drawn sketches. When you see the concepts for the first time, choose a logo that immediately catches your eye. This is usually the one your instinct tells you to choose. Continue the decision process by asking yourself some essential questions:
- Does it represent my product or business?
- Do you get my message across?
- Is the design simple enough?
- Does the design have enough contrast to stand out?
- Will it work without color?
- Will it work when I am very young?
- Does it look too much like other logos?
- Will it be relevant in five or ten years?
After that, sleep on it. Do the exact same thing and ask yourself the same questions a second time. Do your answers change? It is also a good idea to ask your friends and family what they think.
Give helpful feedback
After the first draft, your designer may come up with a logo that looks like what you’re looking for, but it’s not often that they hit the spot right away. Therefore, it is up to you to communicate your needs to the best of your ability. Give your designer helpful feedback. Simply saying, “I don’t like any of them” doesn’t really help the process. Express why you don’t like something, or what you would like to see differently, such as, “I don’t like how stiff and symmetrical this is. Can you make it more movement or lively?”
It is necessary to give a clear direction, but try not to become the designer yourself. You’ve hired a designer for a reason, so let him do what he does best. If you have chosen a good designer who communicates well and fits into your preferred style, you can be sure that they will present you with quality work.
Upon release of the final payment to the designer, you should receive the deliverables that were promised to you at the beginning of the business relationship. This should include vector files that can be resized, as opposed to raster images that cannot be increased in size without being pixelated (blurred).
You need files that you can start using on the web right away (usually PNG, JPG, or GIF). Ask for a PNG or GIF if you want the background to be transparent (without a white box around your logo). You also need to get the original source files (usually AI or EPS). You definitely want to have the source files in case someone else needs to modify or expand your logo one day. For example, if one day you hire someone to create a video for you, then a source file is required to embed your logo; a JPG just won’t cut it.
When it comes time to choose a logo that is perfect for you, keep in mind that it is not a simple process. It takes a lot of thought about your type of business, your target audience, the message you want to send, the feelings you want to incite, as well as open communication with your designer.
However, a solid logo design is definitely worth the effort as it is the first thing your audience sees and will be with you for a long time.
Robert is a Canadian brand developer, marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He has a background in Graphic Design and Applied Communication Arts, and is the owner of the Better Business Brand blog. Join the Brand Tips mailing list for articles and lessons on how to build, maintain, and expand your brand to be successful in the marketplace.