Research for this article on tips for logo designers led me to a few dead ends from fellow logo designers and bloggers. Many using a genuine tip to guide you in and then using the rest of the post to promote their other posts or ebooks from third parties via affiliate links.
This has only inspired me more to share my own experiences with my readers rather than to preach the advice of others. So here are six of the best from my own hands-on learning over the last six years or so.
6 Tips for logo designers to get you through the design process.
Get to know your client and the niche associated with the task ahead. Do this before reaching for your drawing tablet or sketchbook. At firsthand, it helps to know what your client needs are and at most what they expect from you.
Learn about your client’s competition, they should be able to point you in the right direction as a start.
Check out other logos in the client’s niche. This can reveal a general pattern that is shared amongst competitors. But also bear in mind that some of the most iconic logo designs stand out because they totally ignore any set trend and take on a different path altogether. Thinking outside of the box, so to speak.
Learn more on this from my article The Logo Mojo Design Process: A comprehensive guide.
2: Ask questions.
This is paramount. Not only at the initial brief and research stage of the design process but during the whole project until completion and beyond.
I use an online form system on my website to collect the information to form an initial brief. Not only do I ask the obvious questions such as “Name to appear on logo”, “colour scheme” etc; I also ask for any history of the organisation in question, how the client feels they differ from their competition and again, very important, what ideas they have about the logo design they are looking for.
If a client comes to you not knowing what they want, the right questions will help them think more about their business or given niche and in return help, you help them achieve the perfect logo design they require.
An extra tip here (or sub tip). Once submitting an initial set of logo design concepts to a client to learn that they do not find them suitable. As well as asking what else they might have in mind, ask what they did not like about your work and how it did not suit their expectations. The feedback will help immensely. Which brings us to the next tip.
Sticking to the initial brief will show your client that you are listening, hearing to what they have asked for. Sometimes the brief is so focused on one specific concept that it is hard to offer more than one or two variations. Otherwise, and most of the time, the brief is open to creative licence. I suggest using this to your advantage and very often this works in favour of both yourself and your client’s satisfaction.
I generally like to offer at least three unique initial logo design concepts to a client. Usually, I only have two, or sometimes even only one before I pick up my touchpad. As soon as I start creating and see shapes forming into potential offerings is the time that other ideas and concepts poor into my head.
If at this stage, and often it doses, a concept that is off brief pops up, just go with your instinct and offer it up with the other concepts. Evan if not chosen it shoes flexibility and can inspire your client when updating their brief if nothing else suites at the present time.
As your protectives can change during the design process so can your clients. Allow for flexibility and be prepared to change things at a drop of a hat.
4: A logo design needs to be versatile.
So you have created the great logo design, your client is totally ecstatic about his new logo at the onset but how usable will he find his new look when applying it for its intended use?
For example, it looks great in all it’s glorious colour but does it work as well in monochrome or black on white or white on black for instance. Also when they decide they need to use a transparency version as on overlay against a background. Of course, you will supply such variations as part of your package, but you will need to consider this from the onset of the design. Adding white space around overlapping elements at the onset is easier than working out how to do it at a later stage and keeping the look of your original submissions.
Look and professionalism is very impotent throughout the design process. So you have some initial concepts to past on to your client for consideration. Present your offerings in an attractive manner and don’t leave the fine detail to the latest set of revisions. Polish your proof drafts to the same standard.
If inclined, present your favourite initial proofs as simple mockups in addition. Seeing your potential new logo design photoshopped onto a business card, billboard or shop sign can add excitement to the client’s experience during the design process.
6: The customer is always right.
Evan if they are not.
This is not about the client who tells you upfront that they do not know what they want. The ones you can advise, ask questions and maybe draw up some drafts to help them through this process. I like to refer to this class of client as my enjoyable challenge No. I’m talking about the people who tell you what they are looking for in no uncertain terms that there is no leeway remaining to use your creative licence in any way. Then they change the brief completely midway after several rounds of revision and concept changes. Sometimes even as far as changing the business name to nothing like the original or even worse, jumping from one niche to another?
We all have our own method of business. I use the pay up front for a selective package method. At the top end of my range, there is the all-inclusive unlimited concepts package. This is conditional on sticking to the initial brief, but I will wavier slightly in the name of good customer service. This arrangement works well for me but maybe not for others.
So. What do we do about Mr Client with a mind that is less predictable than our native British weather?
I tell you what I do not do, and that is to give up on them. That only ends up in wasted hours and a returned deposit or fee.
Carry on working with them. At the end of the day, it can be no worse than entering into a crowdsourcing contest. See my post My experience of 99Designs. Don’t allow yourself to be used. Work with them and respond to their feedback and updates. Schedule associated design work in-between other clients. The timescale is obviously not an issue to them. At this stage, they are in no hurry to get anything done.
I have had this happen several times. Only once did a client think they were entitled to a refund after the time they had used up. A couple even have come back with new projects that actually got completed.
As mentioned sometimes it can seem like working for a crowned sourcing site like 99Designs. But you can end up with some great concepts you can utilise at a later date.
More tips for logo designers.
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If you have a question or wish to contribute to this and other articles on tips for logo designers please leave a comment or contact me via the form on the contact page. All comments and messages will be answered.
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