Having a logo done is a delicate thing. Your logo is the stamp of your brand and it’s an assignment that simply cannot be handed lightly to someone on Fiverr. You can use a pitch-based system like the one at 99designs, where designers all over the world bid for your project, but the communication between you and the designer will be limited. You can certainly save some money this way, but because of their necessary rapid-fire approach, those designers will likely miss the most important details about your brand, namely its purpose and core messages.
So traditional freelance logo designers remain as the most sensible approach. Yes, you hire them at a premium so you have the freedom to manage your logo project until you are happy. Sounds simple right?
Not so fast!
I once hired a ‘friend of a friend’ who would make my logo at a reasonable rate. I saw her work and although she wasn’t Picasso, I thought she had ‘potential’ to do something cool for us.
I had different ideas on how to convey my brand. I’m very purpose driven so there were lots of emotional elements we could infuse into the logo.
She promised unlimited revisions, which sounded like a guarantee that we would reach a destination where we both would be happy in.
Her initial proposals were OK but not good enough. I thought that with a little bit of guidance and ‘coaching’ we could reach an interesting result. For some reason, (probably my not communicating effectively), the quality of the logos kept the same when it didn’t go worse. They were even overlapping lines and obvious border mistakes. I kept on guiding her, but at one point, she complained that we were working beyond budget.
I walked out of the project having paid 50% as a down payment. It was painful because I lost money, I didn’t have a logo and I lost hope in freelance designers!
Of course, I got over this experience and decided to give another opportunity to yet another struggling freelance designer. This time I was more specific with the brief and the expectations. I knew that I wanted a whole new brand identity and I knew exactly the logo variations I needed. She understood my indications at once and nailed it on the first draft. We just needed to change a couple of gradients and colours to have a winning second draft.
Today, I’m sure this logo represents my brand and I get really excited every time I see it in my email signature.
5 tips to have your designer make you a great logo:
Your imagination can quickly go wild when you think about your logo, but you need to ensure you ground these visions on practical applications of how the logo will actually exist.
Imagine how it would look on:
As I already referred to Picasso above, I will quote something he said you surely have already heard.
“Good artists copy great artists steal”
Don’t rush into being too original. Yes, you are different than your competitors, but maybe you can find inspiration on brands from a different industry that share your values or simply inspire you aesthetically.
I did this mistake before and I learned to look for inspiration in anything I do.
Don’t be shy about sending your designer logos you like. They should keep an open mind and respect that your proposed style might not match your industry. Nothing raises more red flags than a creative professional who isn’t being creative.
You must love what they’ve done. Don’t go for them simply because you think they have ‘potential’ because you are not paying them to give you a logo in 2 years. Unless there is great chemistry and a generously discounted price, you shouldn’t try to coach them or give them an ‘opportunity’ or work experience. Pay for what you get.
Also, bring their previous work into context. Their portfolio might look good in their neat website, but how would the same logos look in the situations described in point 1?
In business and marketing, there is an idea that luckily is spreading like wildfire: people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. In this context, your logo is the key element to express your purpose.
Unfortunately, most businesses struggle to explain their purpose beyond making money. I get that, but making money is out of the question when it comes to designing your logo.
Make sure that not only you, but also your designer, understand the ‘why’ of your brand. If you haven’t thought about this, read this article about the importance of key messages in your online marketing.
If you are too polite or complacent with your feedback to your designers’ drafts, you may mislead them into thinking that they are in the right direction. Do appreciate anything you like about their drafts but be sure to provide honest and specific feedback. With any objection, give a reason why you feel that way, and trust me, ‘I don’t know’ is something any designer will find nerve-wrecking.
Expert tip: use Google images to help you express any abstract concept. Designers are visual people! For example, if you ‘want the logo to be more welcoming’, you can show the random image below.
Getting your logo design can be a rabbit hole that can be avoided if you prepare yourself with tips from people that have learned the hard way.
If you are developing your personal or business brand, you will need a logo at some point. But as you develop your brand, conveying your purpose and differentiating points are crucial, so it’s important that your brand identity is a reflection of what you are about.
Bio: Peru Buesa is a blogger and content marketing strategist on a mission to ensure the internet is a useful tool that helps humanity move forward. Reach out to him on his website Gozen Media