Starting a business is a very exciting time, marked by some pretty fun problem solving. Sure, there are occasional snoozers like business license applications and choosing an Internet service provider. But mostly, it’s a series of decisions that will build this crazy thing that will allow you to chase your passion every day – decisions like location, office space, business name, marketing plans, and logo design. Along the way, you’ll discover which items are more deserving of financial investment or enlisting help from the pros. Logo design is certainly one of those, as it sets the tone for your business. Finding the right logo design partner may appear daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to consider as you begin the process:
Starting Your Search
To the surprise of nobody, Google can be a helpful first step. Adding your location or industry when searching for “logo designers” will help narrow the results. Designer showcase websites like Dribbble and Behance are also helpful, as they allow you to search for designers by expertise and location. Just be wary of online crowdsourcing sites (“Hundreds of Design Options for only $50!”), as they don’t take the time to understand your unique business needs and personality, which results in ineffective, generic, and possibly stolen designs. You can also take your search offline. Ask around to see if any of your friends or contacts have gone through the process, or know of others that have. If there are businesses or organizations around town with a brand that resonates with you, reach out to see who helped with their design.
While hiring local isn’t a must, there are certainly advantages to consider. Sourcing a local designer will allow you to meet them and gauge your compatibility before working together. A local designer will be available for in-person meetings if you find that you are more comfortable articulating your input face-to-face, rather than over the phone or email. If your city or town is a critical part of your brand DNA, hiring local talent ensures that they understand the intricacies that make your area unique, and how that is reflected in your brand.
When searching for a logo design partner, review their respective online portfolios to ensure they can deliver a high-quality product. Consider how much experience they have with logo design, especially in your specific industry. Have they won any awards for their branding design, or developed logos for any companies that you admire? Evaluate the designer's work carefully to see if you like their aesthetic style. Does their work feel polished and professional? Can they execute a range of logo design styles (modern vs. contemporary, simple vs. illustrative)? If you find a designer with a few samples that you like but aren’t totally sold yet, they likely have plenty of unpublished examples that they can send over upon request.
Once you reach out to potential designers, take note of the way they communicate. Do they respond in a timely manner? Are they friendly and accessible? Are their communications clear and coming from a consistent point of contact? Have they been on time to meetings? Do they have contracts or project agreements in place at project kickoff? Be sure they have explained the scope of work and answered any questions you may have. Take the time to understand how your designer works and observe the office culture they’ve cultivated. Ask yourself how compatible those things are with your own demeanor and project needs.
Process & Scope
Just as there are numerous solutions for any design problem, there are also many different paths to get there. Every designer and studio has their own unique way of crafting their work, but some things are vital to ensure a successful logo. Your designer should start with a discovery phase or creative brief. Having your business name and description alone are not enough to create an effective design. They should take the time to learn about your audience, what makes your company unique in the marketplace, why you chose your business name and which existing brands you like. They should be able to tell you how many initial options you will receive, how many revisions are included, whether their presentation will include application mock-ups and color palette options, etc. Whether sent electronically or presented in person, the designer should be able to clearly express the ideas behind each design.
Brace yourself – a unique, timeless logo is going to be a significant investment. Your logo is the foundation for your visual identity and how your business is perceived. A skilled designer will craft a successful logo that will instill confidence in your brand and set you apart from your competitors. Hitting that target requires time for research and exploration. If you find a designer with whom you’d like to work but their standard logo design package is out of your price range, ask if they’re open to reducing the scope of work to streamline the process. Scope adjustments may include fewer initial designs or providing the designer with sketched ideas. Identifying colors that you do or do not want to use will also help focus your designer’s efforts. While not all designers are flexible outside of their standard model, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
The right logo design can make all the difference in a company's perception, message clarity and success. 903 Creative works with our clients to understand their businesses, while leveraging our years of experience and love for design to craft effective, memorable logos.