A lemon for logo design
With this article I intend to bring transparency for the clients and budding designers – who’re looking for work – and provide an overview of the design process.
To begin with, the design industry is a highly underrated business. And after hearing “I can get it done for free and in less then 5 minutes” on several occasions from clients, I’ve decided to underline the importance of Logo Design.
This article will also serve as a warning to other designers of such ridiculously inane folks- the clients who don’t cherish good work. These are the same folks who don’t understand the importance of a good logo and what it can do for their business. Many clients think of Logo Designing to be a as easy as making lemonade.
There are several reasons behind this ridiculous analogy:
1. Clients have no clue what designing is all about. They know what they want, but have no clue as to what they need.
2. They think a logo design should not take more then 5 minutes. Some have even rubbished the idea over the fact that it can be done for free.
3. Don’t value intellectual time spent. They’d like to do a: If I like it, I’ll pay for it routine. How unprofessional.
4. Most folks have little clue as to the amount of learning and experience that a designer needs to create the right solution.
5. And lastly, they don’t understand what a logo is, and what it can do for their business.
So, therefore, before we begin, lets first delve into what a Logo means.
A logo is a graphical element (ideogram, graphic symbol, emblem,icon, sign) that, together with its logotype (a uniquely set and arranged typeface) form a trademark or commercial brand. Typically, a logo’s design is for immediate recognition. The logo is one aspect of a company’s commercial brand, or economic or academic entity, and its shapes, colors, fonts, and images usually are different from others in a similar market. Logos are also used to identify organizations and other non-commercial entities.
If a logo stands for all those things, how can someone dare to take it lightly. After all, the image of a company or brand is at stake. So much so, people around the world will recognize and distinguish it amongst the vast-sea of others. Most of them are even going to relate to it.
Tip: If you ever come across such folks (clients with inane demands), simply take an advance payment (in full) or let them get it done for free somewhere else. And if you do take up the job thinking: my work will change everything. In that case, honestly, the chances of you getting paid for your time are as close to a T-Rex playing golf in your backyard. Hence, choose your clients wisely.
Lets look at the unprofessional logos:
Now, lets look at some professionally done logos:
After seeing both versions, kindly ask yourself the following questions:
1. What logo would you be able to describe and remember?
2. Would the logo look good in any size- be it the size of your finger?
3. What if the logo was in Black and White? Would it be as good?
4. Is the logo simple or convoluted? Are you able to differentiate it?
5. Does it hold any relevance and purpose i.e. relate to the industry its meant for?
6. Does the logo command any presence, in comparison to others?
7. Is the logo full of mystery? For example: Apple & Nike Logos.
Did you notice a difference in the unprofessional and professionally made logos? Do you know why the later have become worldly popular? And, the fact that you’re more than likely to be associated with one of them i.e. wearing a Nike shirt, drinking Coca-Cola etc etc.
The reason why a few logos and symbols tend to remain in our minds is because of their simplicity, their versatility and mystery, and most importantly their relevance to the business or individual they’re representing. The best known designers are aware of all these critical factors, therefore, they follow a Design Process. Here’s what a Design Process looks like:
Most amateur designers in the market – the kinds that charge 50 dollars or less for a logo design – don’t take a design brief. A design brief is one of the most important preliminary steps in starting a design job. A properly filled out brief lets you understand the client’s needs as well as helps the designer bring an accurate strategy forward. Usually clients know what they “want” whereas have little clue of what they “need.” As design professionals, it’s our duty to guide them in the right direction.
With a fully filled out brief, start studying the past and present of the industry. You should also study the immediate as well as perspective competitors. This way you stand a better chance of creating something different. While conducting your research try and lookout for logos that have done well and the one’s that stand out. You can even assimilate them into a file for future reference.
Grab a sketch file or something large enough to draw your concepts. Don’t use a computer at this stage. Now if you followed steps 1 & 2 correctly, you’ll be able to come up with a collection of designs and ideas. And once you feel satisfied with the results, leave them all alone. Sleep over them (not literally. lol). Go watch a movie. Use the time to reflect back on your work. Usually designers rush this bit – because clients have impossible deadlines – and the results are also the “rush” type. For those reasons, we’d suggest that in step 1, try setting comfortable deadlines with your clients (This is very difficult most of the times, but if you persist and explain the benefits, most clients agree happily).
We know that we’ve already mentioned this bit, but because taking breaks is important, we’re going to stress on it. Ergo take a brake.
After taking a break, come back to your sketches, pick out the best one and get going on your Macs (and others can use PCs). Let the design shape up, try the best possible colour combinations, sizes (place it on letter heads, business cards, website etc), and check for feasibility of printing in any size (more colours means more money).
Note: You’re almost done. Get ready for the presentation. If you’ve done your job well, you needn’t worry about a thing. Ready? Here we go.
All right, you’ve worked your butt off. But that alone won’t cut the cheese. Now comes the hardest part: Presenting the idea to the client (the person who’s going to pay you). Usually clients will tell you what they want, but they have no clue as to what is right for them i.e what they need. Therefore, try building a relationship with the client, so that you can guide them towards the best possible solution.
Tip: Try and presenting only the best work because otherwise you’ll bring about more confusion in the client’s mind. Hence, prepare well, be confident about your work and take one back up plan.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed your design job. Its time to hit the club with your buddies – the team – and have a good time. You can finally sleep for 2 more hours before the next job begins.
See what other professional logo designers have to say about logos for 50 dollars and less:
What makes a good logo by David Airey
Here are the 6 reasons mentioned by Tara of Graphic Design Blog:
1. A logo is the very first impression people get of your company.
2. A logo needs longevity.
3. A logo needs to be original.
4. A logo should look professional.
5. A logo should reflect the time and thought gone in to designing it.
6. A logo is the starting point of your whole corporate image.
Do you still think a logo design should be done for free or 5 dollars? If the answer to that is yes, please don’t ever bother contacting us. For the rest of you – the sane one’s – please visit our Contact Us page.