A company’s logo is it’s face to the world. It’s the starting point for creating your brand, but what’s the process? How do you as a client get a good logo that best represents your company? Using a qualified designer is a good starting point, a good place to look is the Graphic Designer’s of Canada’s website, or ask people you know who are in business. Once you’ve found a designer, look at their portfolio to see if they have work you like, as well as seeing if they’re a good problem solver.
Understand that the designer’s process will begin with a lot of research. They’ll be looking at your competition, what their logos look like, as well as getting to know more about your company. Your designer will begin an exploration process when they know as much as they need about your company, competitors, your customers (and potential customers) and what the logo will need to convey. It’s a good idea to not have preconceived notions of what your logo should look like, let the designer explore ideas of what your symbol and word mark should be. This is where a lot of clients make the mistake of wanting to see a logo that they like–trust your designer. They have a better understanding of what makes a good logo, things like coming up with a mnemonic graphic that works in a variety of applications and sizes. Trust their instincts, they’ve been trained to develop a solution to your need, not just come up with something to satisfy you personally.
You should only look at three design solutions or less, if the designer hasn’t hit the mark (solved the problem), pay them for their time and move on. But remember, a logo isn’t something that the president likes or dislikes, it’s a symbol that defines a company. Some of the best logos in the world had to be fought over to get applied. The worst way to kill a great idea is to have a committee choose a logo. When you are presented with a logo design proposal, find out the thinking behind the symbol(s)–why the designer chose a typeface, or what the symbol is supposed to evoke. Asking everyone in the office which one they like is an excellent way to get rid of good solutions (“Sorry, Jim in accounting hated them all, and I trust Jim’s opinion”). Most people don’t have good design sense–sorry to say–but that’s why you hired a designer.
Likely the designer has produced hundreds of ideas distilled down to one or a few ideas that are good solutions, it’s a bad idea at this point to start massaging the idea (“Can we try it in blue, I love blue, how about a different typeface like Comic Sans?’), this just waters down the symbols ability to be effective on the intended audience. The same goes for having too many choices, I was involved in a logo design competition (a paid competition), where one agency provided 50 different solutions, they weren’t solutions–just alternatives. Too much to choose from can be confusing and end up masking the best solutions.
If you’re serious about having a logo that represents your company, has some lasting power, and is memorable, don’t try online logo design factories, they’ll give you something that is just OK and may not work well in all the applications you need. Use a qualified designer, someone who’s been to design school, preferably an accredited designer–there’s nothing wrong with asking for credentials.
When you hire a designer, you’re paying for their time, and partnering with them for your project, make it a point to get familiar with them, help them learn about you and your business. If they’re a pro, they’re going to ask a lot of questions and work to come up with the best solution. This will take some time on their part, the best solutions don’t come overnight, they come from research, exploration and refinement.
Once your logo is accepted, that’s just a beginning, you’l need to set standards on how the logo is to be used and stick to them, this is part of building your brand and having a consistent approach to your appearance to your customers and the world. Every corporation has a set of standards for their logo, so should you.
We all like a good deal, but remember a professional designer is like any professional, you wouldn’t haggle with your dentist, don’t haggle with your designer–you want the best, not the best deal when you’re talking about the face of your company. Apple was one of the first companies in recent history to recognize the value of good design, but Steve Jobs wasn’t a great designer, he hired great designers, and that made all the difference for his company.