One of the first steps to creating your brand will include the design of your logo. Creating a logo for your company that stands the test of time, requires a professional logo designer capable of doing the job correctly.
I have seen many business owners work with agencies and/or logo designers only to be dissatisfied with the outcome. I have seen situations where the logo designer was not at fault and vice versa. Like any business relationship, working with a designer is a 2-way street. You need to meet the designer halfway as does the designer need to meet the business owner halfway. Communication is paramount. Timelines are important. Both parties need to be equally invested in the project or it will fail.
It’s not a cost, it’s an investment.
Getting your logo designed shouldn’t be viewed as a cost. It’s an investment. This investment should give you returns. It should allow you to attract the right customer. It should also allow you to market and grow your company correctly. It should give your audience the right perception of your company. You should be proud with the end result. Your logo should give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence. You should be able to look back 2 years from now and say “This logo is exactly what my company is all about”. You should have a positive experience with the designer and the process that flourishes into a relationship. Because building a solid relationship with your designer makes future marketing of your company time-efficient and cost-effective.
Looking out for your best interests.
I don’t want you wasting your time and money. You need to know what you are getting into before you hire a Logo Designer. Sure you want a logo design. But do you really understand what is required of you? This is where my checklist will help you.
Do your due-diligence.
Here is a checklist to review before, during and after you hire a designer. Do your homework. Interview more than one designer. Compare work, process and customer service. Some designers add in extra value whereas others don’t. It is important that you read the whole checklist BEFORE you go hunting for a Logo Designer. There is a lot of information you should be aware of. This checklist will arm you with questions to ask a Logo Designer when you are prospecting.
Price shouldn’t be your primary focus.
If you are on a budget, then disclose it at the very beginning when you are looking for a Logo Designer. Charges for logo designs can range anywhere from $5-$100,000. If you have no idea what your budget is, even better. Looking at the logo designer’s work and their required investment will give you a great idea of how much you need to invest. If you require a certain level of service or style of logo, reviewing the designer’s work and required budget will tell you where your tastes lie. Keep in mind that you are investing in marketing your company. Is this an area where you can cost cut? That’s a question only you can answer. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Take your time!
Don’t rush this. When you rush, mistakes happen. Would you rush any other decision for your company? This should be no different. This checklist will help you hire the right Logo Designer. Let’s get started
Research the Designer.
You may have put the word out on social media that you are looking for a logo designer. I am sure you were flooded with names and sales pitches. It can be overwhelming. So who do you trust? You could start with your closest colleagues, I am sure the names they put forth will be more than acceptable for your project.
So now you got names it’s time to take a closer look at these people, their companies and their work to see if it resonates with you. Again, it is important that you treat Step 1 as serious as you would when looking to buy a home. Look over the details. Find the right fit. A strong, connected relationship with your designer will make the process a hell of a lot easier for you.
Does the designer have a website that shows their work? There is no excuse for ANY designer not to have a body of work to show you. They should have a live and functional website with examples of their work.
Do they give explanations for each logo design? A reason why they designed the logo a certain way? To me this is very important. There should be a process and reason for why they designed each logo they way they did. Rationales are part of the process of designing. Understanding why they designed a logo a certain way allows you to understand their thought process and attention to detail. If details matter, then this will be important to you.
Is there work unique? Again, do you find their body of work pleasing? Does it fit with your vision? Does their style work with your company?
Do they have client testimonials? I feel these are the most powerful selling tools any designer owns. This will give you a great indication of the results and value they deliver.
Are the logos they designed versatile? Do they have black & white versions of their logo work? This is very important. You never know where you may want to market your company. A great logo designer should be forward thinking. Preparing you for any application.
Are they easy to contact? Does the designer make it easy for you to contact them? Communication is very important in any business owner-logo designer relationship. If it’s hard to find a way to contact them, it might be best to find someone else.
Are they passionate about what they do? Do their rationales and messaging on their website showcase their passion? A passionate person who loves their work will be invested in delivering a solution you will love.
Do you feel they will be the best person to create your logo design? Trust your gut. As you research them and read through their site, you should get a good indication if they are worth meeting. Lurking on their social media feeds will also help you determine fit.
Once you are done researching and now have a short list of logo designers to interview, it’s time to contact them and meet with them for the first time. As they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Meeting with the designer.
Meeting the designer is so crucial. They might have the best looking site, best-looking work and a budget you can work with, but you will need to interact with this person sometime. Getting to know the Logo Designer in person is important. You can meet with them via Skype, phone call or face-to-face. Choose a method. Emailing back and forth is a terrible idea. Things can be taken out of context.
Remember that at this point, it is now a 50/50 relationship. You are required to meet them halfway. Be courteous, respectful and aware. You cannot expect the same treatment if you don’t practice what you preach.
Do they answer your emails/phone calls in a timely fashion? Whatever choice they gave you to contact them, when you first contact them, they should reply to you in a timely fashion. There is no excuse for this. If they don’t reply within 2 business days, I would walk away and find someone else.
Do they arrive to the meeting on time? There is nothing worse than scheduling a meet and the other person arrives late. Your time is as important as theirs. If a scheduled time was set for a meeting, they should show up on time. You should also extend the same courtesy. Show up on time.
Do they listen to you and ask you a lot of questions? Part of being a great logo designer is listening with two eyes and two ears. They should let you do all the talking. Asking you tough questions. Be sure to open up and answer them truthfully.
Do they take notes during the meeting? A true sense of someone’s interest in you and your company is note taking. Enough said.
Do they discuss case studies? If the logo designer is good, they will tell you stories of past clients and the results they created. This will help you prepare for what to expect when working with them.
Do they explain their process to you? Every logo designer has a process. They should prepare you for the steps. They should explain it to you and allow you to ask questions about the process.
Do they give you a timeline of completion? Don’t be hell-bent on exact timelines. It can go either way. At this point, the timeline they are providing is an average. You will get a solidified timeline when they provide you with a quote.
Are they willing to work with you on developing a solution? Any good logo designer will tell you that the solution is not about you or them. It’s about solving a problem that resonates with your target audience.
Once you have met with the Logo Designer, they will give you a timeline on when to expect a quote. They may deliver this in person or through email. This will be discussed by the Logo Designer before the meeting is over.
Do they provide the quote in a timely fashion? Once you have gotten to know each other and you feel like they could be a good fit, it’s time to request a quote. They should give you a time on delivery of the quote or have set up another meeting to show you their proposal.
Does their logo package include .eps, .jpg & .png files? When you get the quote, do they include various file formats of the logo? It is very important that you receive your logo in .eps, .jpg and .png file formats. If there is no mention of these being part of the quote, request them.
Do they offer an identity guideline manual as part of their logo design service? Having this manual may not be important to most. I see this as a value-add service. You will be sending your logo to various marketing contractors in the future or allowing your staff to use your logo. They should all be following the rules so your branding is consistent. An identity guideline manual keeps everyone, including yourself, accountable to maintaining brand standards.
Do they give you additional designs with their logo design service? This is another value-add service that can help you in marketing your company properly. Some logo designers will give you additional pieces in the proposal. Some may not. You need to determine if they are important to you.
Working with the designer.
Once you have found the right Logo Designer, now the fun starts. It’s time to get the ball rolling. This next step should be enjoyable, inspiring and educational. If there are bumps, they should be easy to fix. You should be creating a trusting bond with your logo designer. Ideas and collaboration should be brewing through the process.
Do they have a contract for you to sign? If the logo designer doesn’t have a contract for you to sign, walk away. Contracts are there to protect both of you. It creates accountability and trust. No logo designer should be operating without contracts and you should be willing to sign one.
Do they ask for a deposit? In the proposal phase there should have been a payment schedule outlined. There might have been a deposit request outlined when you signed the contract.
Do they have business insurance? This is something that matters to some. If it matters to you, ask for it. Not all Logo Designers will have business insurance.
Do they communicate with you often? They should be keeping you up to date on the progress of the project. If they have tasks for you, make sure you get them done at the specified time. If there are meetings or phone calls required, make sure you answer their emails in a timely fashion.
Do they do an initial interview to get to know you & your business better? No logo designer should conduct a project based on assumptions and existing knowledge. They should interview you or conduct a discovery session or assessment. Whatever it is called, there should be an interview conducted.
Do they analyze your competitors and industry? Ask them if they do any market analysis. This could be simple google searching to elaborate reports. Doing research is part of the process.
Do they meet with you to present their logo solution and explain why they chose this solution? A logo designer should present the solution to you in some shape or form. There should be a rationale for their solution. It should be convincing and make sense to you.
Do they show you mockups of the logo in real-world situations, during the presentation? Showing your logo in context is necessary. It helps you visualize what it will look like on a mug, business card, etc.
Do they ask for feedback? Once you have had a moment to digest the logo design, the designer will be gauging your reaction. They may ask you questions about the logo design. What your thoughts are. Anything you like/dislike about it.
Do they give you some time to digest the design? I think it is important that you have time to digest your new logo design. You will need a few days to rest on it and come back to it with fresh eyes. See if what you initially felt is still there.
Do they follow up within 5 business days to get an answer? Follow up is crucial and should be done in a timely fashion.
Are they willing to do revisions if required? Some designers will do revisions whereas other will not. This aspect should be clearly stated in the contract.
Do they help you with printing and production guidance? Once you have your logo design, you will need it placed on stuff – business cards, swag, brochures, etc. Is your logo designer willing to help you with printing and production?
When the Project is completed.
By the time you reach this step, everything should be completed. Your logo designer should be arming you with the appropriate files so you can start marketing your company.
Do they package all design files into a nice folder for you to download? You should be getting file formats of your logo that will help you with online and offline marketing. Vector files such as .eps or .ai. Web files like .jpg and .png so you can easily insert them into your social media channels and website.
Do they follow up with you to see if there is anything else they can help you with? Some logo designers will have an offboarding meeting. They may pitch you continued work or ask for a testimonial. It might be a face-to-face meeting or all handled via email. Be prepared to meet with your designer one last time.
Are they someone that you can refer? I think this is crucial for logo designers. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most powerful form of marketing. If you feel your logo designer is worth referring, do it. I am sure the gesture will be reciprocated.
It’s a lot to digest
Hiring a logo designer is important. Like any other aspect of your business, hiring a logo designer should be done with care and due diligence. Your business is far too important to approach this area with a lackadaisical attitude. If investing in your company is important to you, take your time and find the right logo designer. Looking for the cheapest option may work for some. But for those who want to build a business for long-term growth, invest in the right logo designer. You get what you pay for.