5 Questions Your Designer Should Be Asking Before Designing Your Logo
Designing a logo can be a fun and exciting part of owning a business. In fact, so much fun that people try to create one themselves, or get a very low priced quote for a nice image from someone who has a limited understanding of their business. They might get a visually appealing piece of art, but not necessarily understand the impact of the design choices. What does a designer do to come up with ideas of how to visually represent your business? They start with a lot of questions and do a pile of research.
BEFORE YOU ENGAGE A DESIGNER (unless you want to pay them to do it)
BEFORE doing any design, make sure your company name and/or tagline doesn't infringe on any trademarks or registered marks. Your design costs are completely lost if you need to go back to the drawing board.
Type your company name into a few browsers and see what comes up in the first few pages. Then click IMAGES and see what kind of images come up as a result of your search. Some seemingly harmless searches yield very unexpected results !
Choose a company name with the same care you would be naming your child. Is it a name your employees will be proud to tell people where they work, does it reflect the nature of your business and your business culture? Is it a name that includes words that people would search for when looking for your services?
Type your business name into a language translator such as Google translate. Type the name into the 'other' (i.e. Spanish, French etc.,) language box and see what it translates to in English. Avoid any embarassing results.
YOUR DESIGNER SHOULD BE ASKING YOU THESE QUESTIONS
WHO is your target audience? What is appealing to an 80 year old grandma, may not catch the attention of a pre-teen boy. Someone looking for a lawyer or an undertaker may have an expectation that they represent themselves in a certain way. Or maybe you're trying to shake things up a little and your brand needs to reflect that.
WHAT media will your logo be used on? Pens, business cards, billboards, shirts, online? Your design needs to take into consideration how you will use it. Best practice is to design for ALL media types. Design in black and white first in vector format. Then, when the black and white design is approved, add colour palettes. Depending on how your logo is used, each additional colour can add to the cost of production. That beautiful logo with gradients colours and soft drop shadows can be eye catching on screen and a budget killer, or unprintable in other formats. Plan for the future.
WHERE will your logo be used. Social media has added design challenges we didn't anticipate 10 years ago. How does you logo look in a 50 x 50 pixel, 100 x 60 pixel, 100 x 100 pixel format? Is it readable? Does it still make sense? Is it too wide or too long to be effective in those space restrictions? Can it be simplified to create an icon that works in these spaces? If it is a product logo, where will it go on your product? Look for space restraints before beginning the design process and include versions for social media applications in your designs.
WHEN will your logo or a version of it be used? Will you only use the black and white version in certain circumstances? Only white on dark or solid colours? Only a stacked version in some instances?
HOW will your logo be used? Will you have variants that are applicable to certain circumstances, i.e., black and white only if there is additional cost to produce in colour, and full colour if the number of colours doesn't impact price? Do you need a style and usage guide for staff to understand how to properly use the logo? This may result in additional cost.
An experienced designer will ask these important questions before presenting any drafts, and make the design process a cost-effective and efficient experience.