Logo Design Process: Designer and Client
“Each program begins with the formulation of a set of objectives and a verbal description of what the client logo should say. These are the design attributes we want to portray in the new logo. … Intent has to be articulated before you begin, or you just get sucked into a process where everything you do is self-justifying.”
When businesses think about logo design they do not necessarily understand how important a good logo is and how valuable it is to their business. Every business client should consider working with a logo designer. There is a process that all logo designers setup for themselves in order to create a company’s commercial brand or economic entity. This can be accomplished through the logo’s shapes, colors, fonts or symbols. Logo designers use a process that ensures that their final design incorporate the clients needs and not their wants. There are many steps that are essential to the process of creating a logo such as: a design brief, research and brainstorming, sketching and conceptualizing, positioning, presentation and celebration. Each step is equally important to each other and we will look at each step much more extensively. I will also talk about what a client should expect from a logo designer and their willingness toward working with them and staying on track during the logo process.
Even before we discuss the first step, make sure as a designer you plan out money issues. Whether you get paid by the hour, flat fee, or work out deposits during the process, it is always a good idea to get this out of the way and worry about later. The first step in the logo process is called a design brief. This involves a question and answer session with the client, which saves both the logo designer and the client time. It will help focus on the details that will attract which ever target audience that the business is leaning toward. This is a time to discuss any topics that either party wants to throw to table. Make sure the design brief is detailed. Having a detailed design brief helps the business or company owner what they want to achieve from the project. For the logo designer, the design brief is used as a reference for staying focused and remembering the key points toward the design. There is other information that should be included within a design brief. There should be a summary of the business and history of the business. The company should have an explanation on its services and the competition they are up against. There needs to be a reason why the design project is taking place. Information regarding any previous work or activity dealing with any graphic work should be discussed. Demographics is another important piece of information so a business or company and reach out to their target audience. You want to write down objectives, budget and have a schedule and deadline.
The second step of the logo process is called, research and brainstorming. There are seven important points to research and brainstorm about such as: identification of focus and creative directions, logical artistic impression, society and surroundings, direct/indirect competitors, geographical location/target market/seasonal target, colors/fonts/placement/size/ general layout, and design usage: short and long term. The most important for a logo designer is to look into the client competition and trends that are involved around the business or company. Looking at other competitor logos is another aspect to consider, because you want to ensure that your logo differs from the rest. A designer must look over what sets the business or company apart from the rest. History of the business and its future should be linked with its identity and what they are pushing for. The next stage involved in this step is to brainstorm. Creativity comes into place when developing the logo design and having a concept behind the meaning of the logo. The design brief and research will help you run across ideas that will work and others that may not.
The third step of the logo process is called, sketching and conceptualizing. Sketching out your ideas in a sketchbook would be a good plan. Sketching helps generate a strong set of possible directions. Sometimes it will only take a few hours to come up with a great concept on paper. Other times it may take a few days. The sketches you create can then be transferred over to a computer where you can experiment with all your sketches. At this time you can also experiment with typefaces, if you want type within the logo. If you are going to be working with type, consider playing with spacing, especially kerning and leading. Using color is not important yet, because it helps seeing that the design can work with one color only. You can begin working with color once you have every other part finished with your logo. When working with all your ideas, it is recommended that you take breaks to sit back and just observe what you have so far. Also, think about your perspective on the job that you were assigned. Make sure as a designer you do not get caught up in the conceptual part of creating a logo. Do not get so concerned with the graphic style or image. If you look past those and convey a deeper meaning or create a visual puzzle in your logo, then this will make you logo have more impact. Another thing to consider when creating a logo is that simplicity is key. If your logo is simply then it becomes more memorable. At this point, it is a good idea to get feedback from others.
The fourth step of the logo process is called, positioning. As a design you have to think about how you are going to work. You can think of yourself as a contractor, which you will have to take orders according to what your clients aspect from you. The other route you can take is for you to think of yourself as a business and build a long term relationship with your client. Here you are able to make more of your own guidelines toward how you want to go about deciding design issues. Every designer has to decide how they want to work with others. If you are able to find a decent medium between either or, then overall your job will be much more relaxing.
The fifth step of the logo process is called, presentation. Every designer must present their work to their client. As a designer you may have to show the client a wide range of designs in order to draw the attention of your client. If you know that you have strong designs, just showcase a few. Having one or two solid concepts should be reasonable for you and your client. Be ready to send emails back and forth to your client, just in case your client can not setup a meeting. All the files at this time should be placed in a PDF file. Waiting for the approval from your client is probably the hardest part. Being able to get a design chosen the first time around would be amazing news. If so, you will be sending all the finals in different formats for your client. From here, your logo design is now in use and your client is able to use it in anyway they want. The client can use the logo for their web site design, brochure design, promotional items, stationery design, and much more. It is now time for you to celebrate or begin working on another logo design for your next client.
Now, after understanding the process of a logo designer, we should discuss what clients expect when looking for the right logo designer. Clients do not only want someone that can follow the logo process, but can represent themselves as a logo designer, before they even get hired. A client should expect to learn something from informative websites dealing with the designer. Blogs seem to be the most looked at resource when the word trust is brought up about a designer. Blogs can help with building trust through communication and the comments that others leave about the designer. Being able to find positive references about the designers portfolio can distinguish what kind of designer the person plans to be. Communication skills are essential and there is no reason to have typos even within emails. This goes for both parties, because designers also pay attention to how their clients communicate back. When a client wants a revision of a logo completed, the client will later see how much attention the designer gave the client, because it will show in the detail of the logo.
Clients expect great customer service. This means that if the designer receives emails, those emails should be answered within 24 hours. The designer should also always be available through telephone. A designer should be on hand for printing issues or any type of file issues. Clients worry about good time management and making sure that the designer they pick can stay on track and meet expectations for due dates. This is the most important part that deals with the design process. No client wants to hear that you have to push back the project, when the client has other things schedule for other preparations.
Clients will also expect to find references of previous clients that a designer has worked with, which gives insight on customer satisfaction, and how well the designers last project turned out. Flexibility is another important factor for a client. This goes back to the design brief, but no matter how detailed it is, as a designer you must have room in your schedule just in case anything comes up. Things could change during the design process at anytime and you must be prepared for an sudden change to the original plans. Another item of importance for a client is getting their hands on the designers portfolio and seeing if the designer has an design diversity. Showing a client that you as a designer are a genuine person and show common courtesy for being nice and not costing extra, will play a major part in whether you are what a client is looking for. Remember, as a logo designer you have expectations and the willingness to follow the design process and to create a memorable logo. Having a memorable logo will provide hope for being recognized anywhere in the world, if the business or corporation becomes well known.