Zaheer Dodhia, CEO of Logo Design, is an entrepreneur who’s launched multiple startups including ZillionDesigns, PCStore, CashforUsedLaptop.
A logo is just the small graphic that accompanies company branding. It’s simple. Doesn’t require much. All it needs to do is identify the company it represents and be easy to stick on advertising, signage and product packaging. Right?
If you own or manage a business, you know that I’m drastically understating the job of a logo. And you know that logo design is far more than the sum of its parts; a logo can make or break the effective branding of a company. That’s why most business owners, regardless of the size of their venture, choose to bring in a professional logo designer to make sure the job is done right.
Because it’s a big job.
If you’ve never hired a professional logo designer before, what should you expect from the creator you choose to work with? I’ve launched several logo design companies myself, so here’s the guidance I can offer.
This first expectation is about the nuts and bolts that underpin a solid understanding between the designer and the company representative. You can’t have a good contract unless both parties are on the same page. So before you hire, you should expect to nail down details like timeline, deliverables and budget. I also advise including requests for regular updates, such as every week or so until the project is completed.
The details are about the logo design process and establishing professionalism. If you get involved with a designer who doesn’t provide these factors, or who seems to avoid communication, my advice is to run. Run to a different design professional who will give you what you need for a good faith contract. Don’t work with a designer who is afraid of the details — it won’t end well.
Focus On Brand Personality
If you’ve ever dabbled in logo design, as many business owners have, you know that it’s far more than just slapping a graphic above your company name and calling it good. I mean, you can do that, but you’d be doing your branding a huge disservice.
That’s because brand personality really comes into play with the visual choices that go into logo design. Just ask anyone who’s tried to have their sleek startup taken seriously with a logo rendered in primary colors and Comic Sans typeface.
This is one of the primary differences between hiring a professional logo designer and using the services of a logo maker, for example: the understanding.
Good graphic designers understand the emotion, connection and motivation that go into a brand personality, and they will create a way to connect all of those factors to the design of the logo. If you’re not a professional yourself, which is why you’re hiring one, then you may not be able to pinpoint exactly what elements will accurately represent your brand. But the logo artist should.
Once the logo design is complete, you should be able to point to the logo and say, “Yes. That represents my brand personality exactly.”
Just about every designer that I’ve ever spoken to or worked with has mentioned the iterations they go through in order to reach a finished product. It’s just part of the process. They start with a blank sheet and fill it up with possibilities. Then they whittle them down until they have a few that are worthy of more development. Then they hone and hone and hone until, at last, they’re ready to present to the client.
Even then, it’s most likely that they will present a few iterations as possibilities, allowing the client to choose the one they feel most accurately represents the brand.
This doesn’t mean that you should expect three or four print-ready logo options. But along the path to finding the final variation, I would certainly expect the professional logo designer to give you some of the top options for further development. This is where communication really is key. I don’t want to breathe down my designer’s neck, but I do like regular updates on the project and the opportunity to provide feedback on what I like and what I don’t like.
Professional File Quality
This is an absolute must from a professional logo designer: high-quality vector files. Note that I said files, plural — you should receive the main logo as well as some variations, such as black and white, a single pop of color, with and without content and so on.
For a business owner or branding specialist, the logo variations are vital in order to ensure continuity of branding. Accepting just the file containing the main logo without any variations could run you into trouble when you need to adjust for different settings, uses or backgrounds.
Unique End Product
Ultimately, the main thing that you should expect from a professional logo designer is a well-designed, unique end product that fits your brand to a T.
The way to make sure you get this at the end of the project is by ensuring that the other items I listed above are checked off. Make sure you cover the details before you sign a contract with the designer. Make sure they understand your brand personality and what you want from the project. Make sure to communicate as the development goes forward.
Logo design runs the gamut from artificial intelligence-fueled design to amateur fly-by-nights to creative professionals. Only with professionals can you really expect all the points that I’ve listed here — and only with a professional will you end up with a top-notch logo design that can help make your branding stand out from the crowd.
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