Carolyn Davidson designed a logo for a budding company which was allegedly a result of structured efforts and seventeen hours. However, her client, the founder of the company, Phil Knight, was not a fan of the logo at the time. All the same, Davidson was certain behind the approach and its effectiveness concerning her logo design. Fast forward a few years later, the logo: Nike swoosh, is a logo that has given a new meaning to the check mark symbol and is certainly one of the most well-known logos in the world.
Well, that is a one in a million chance. Every logo designer comes across an incident where they have given their best techniques and tools in designing a logo, but the client could not possibly care less. With this blog, I plan to fix the same.
The Beginning: Client and Logo Designer
More often than not, logo designers and clients neglect or fall short in discussing requirements and details concerned with the logo. Inevitably, this brings about disarray and undesired and repetitive redesigning efforts. In addition to that, most clients are not proficient at designing, nor are they supposed to be familiar with the subtleties of the same. Therefore, as a designer, it becomes our responsibility to make sure that the requirements and results are in alignment with each other.
Detailed Design Brief
As a designer, I could not possibly highlight enough the importance of beginning a logo design project with an appropriate (or some type of) design brief: a structured document depicting the work that should be done, generally set up by the business or individual appointing the work. It could be formal and definite, or it very well may be a casual one-pager depicting the primary segments of the logo design project and the work that will be required in association with the same.
Not only will an informative design brief save both designers and clients’ valuable time that is put into endless calls, meetings, and redo requests, but it will also show its worth through the on-point details in the design of the logo.
Be that as it may, in the event that your client does not provide you with a clear design brief, here is how you as a designer can create your own design brief:
Understanding the client, their company, and everything else in between:
A quick and easy way to get a design brief regardless of clients is by preparing a questionnaire, sending it to the client for answers, and following up with them in case of any discrepancies. Here are some questions to be included in the design brief that will, in turn, help you create the logo design with all the information on the table:
- Do you want to include the entire name of the company in the logo, if not, what is the acronym of your company’s name?
- Is there a tagline that you would like to be included in the logo?
- Who are your competitors and how do you stand apart from them?
- Would you like the logo to tell a story? If so, provide details of the same.
- Who is your target audience and what do they care about the most?
- How do you reach out to your target audience?
- Five words that your customers associate with your business. If uncertain, what words would you prefer to be used by your customers for your company?
- Are there any visuals that are associated with your company?
- What are your expectations from this logo design?
Creating a list of objectives based on the above-mentioned questions:
As you have the collated information about the client and their requirements, you can make a list of objectives as per your understanding. Share that list with your client and ask them to check the points which are in alignment with their version of objectives concerning the logo design. With this, get your design brief approved by the client or the concerned person, and get started with your logo design knowing that the expectations of your client and yours are in indentation.
The End: Logo Designer and Client
On the surface, it may seem like, in the first stage, most of the deciding factors are dependent upon the designers, and later on, it is all in the hands of the client. However, that is not true. As in the first phase, it is the clients’ (well, sometimes designers’) responsibility to provide designers with everything they need to create a logo, it is vice versa in the second phase.
Nobody could know and understand the logo more than its creator. Thus, it becomes the responsibility of the designer to make sure that the client and their customers view the logo as intended by the designer. All the more critically, the designer shall show the client an approach where the designed logo can be embedded into the client’s brand identity and how it will benefit the client.
Presenting The Logo
A designer’s role does not end at creating an impactful design. In fact, it is more than incomplete before presenting how the design is impactful enough to be chosen by the client. At best, a client could simply respond in a “yes” or “no” as they select or reject a logo. But either way, a designer shall dig deeper to make the client see beneath the surface layers.
Start With Salient Features
Even though clients could understand the color palette used to create a logo, they may not very well understand the psychology of the colors used for the same. Similarly, when it comes to typography, clients could tell if the font is too bold or big as compared to the other fonts, but only a designer can explain how such fonts can help them attract customers. All in all, by imparting a piece of your knowledge as a designer, not only would you prove your expertise on the matter, but will also give clients a base to form their opinion regarding the logo.
Read more: 7 Essential Qualities of a Great Logo
Check The Checklist
Remember that we created a checklist after getting a design brief? It is time to put that to good use. Instead of asking your clients if they think that logo matches the requirements, walk with them, point to point, through the entire checklist that has the expectations and requirements in a crystal clear format. Now, explain how you have implemented the requirements in the design. Moving ahead, you could also present your logo design under practical circumstances. For instance, you could put the logo on a website layout and show how it would seem on the client’s website, and so on.
With that being said, make sure that you stand straight on your grounds, and do not intimidate a client simply because you could. A good designer is not someone who does it all, but who does it right. Therefore, if you come across a relevant suggestion from the client, implement it and improve your craft. Furthermore, with hundreds of logo designers seeking an opportunity, you can only turn a client into a long-term partnership by respecting their need for transparency and discipline: in your logo design and as a logo designer as well.
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.