The logo is the graphic identity of a business. It is the first thing a potential client sees and, with a successful image, will stick in the consumer’s mind. It needs to. In order to create sustainable revenue, a business must be seen and heard. Marketing is the first investment that will make or break a business. Whether it is a television commercial or a band poster, consumers need to choose one company over the other when purchasing product. The business with the stronger message will be the one heard.
That is why it is so important for a business logo to stand out. It needs to say everything about a product or service during its brief moment in a consumer’s attention span. It cannot be cobbled together, it must be perfect. It must be memorable, high quality, and unique.
Choosing a logo designer is something that most businesses do not spend time on. They often have a lot of other things to deal with, and since they do not know much about the implementation of ideas into marketing, they leave the logo in the hands of the first commercial design site they find. This is a bad idea. Allowing even a little time to shop around will improve a business’ chances of finding a talented logo designer.
It is not as hard as it seems. A business in search of a logo designer need not know the intricacies of graphic design in order to gauge the professionalism of the artist he is employing. He need only ask himself six simple questions.
Where Does a Business Find a Designer?
A Google search on logo design will provide a slew of amateur artists begging for a job. Though they may offer great rates or even Pro Bono work, they are not worth the supposed deals they offer. It is possible to find talent mixed among the scams and rookies but unlikely. Anyone who does great design work started building her portfolio in college and will likely have at least one job under her belt. These people tend to go to sites that host designers, instead of making their own when they have so little experience to show off. AIGA, the professional association for design, is a good place to find quality designers, new or experienced.
A better route is to get advice from a trustworthy friend or business associate. Someone who has already established a company can give referrals on a logo designer with a proven success rate.
Another idea is to research popular logos to see who was behind the design. It can be expensive to hire Carolyn Davidson, the designer behind Nike’s swoosh, or Rob Janoff, the man behind Apple’s logo. Depending on a business’ budget, though, the cost of a logo designer whose name is already established is worth the investment. It does not have to be someone with fame, like Janoff or Davidson, but the person whose vision will decide the promotional fate of a company should know what he is doing.
Does He Have Published Work?
This question is similar to the first but goes a bit more in depth when considering the actual product of a designer’s creativity, instead of just his reputation. The designer should have a portfolio readily available. It can be posted online or something that is presented to only prospective clients. Either way, it needs to be seen.
Artists without portfolios are usually untalented or irresponsible. Some are just getting started and have yet to put professionally generated work into their resume. This later group often offers free designs to companies willing to take a chance on them, so that they can build a portfolio.
They need to do this in order to compete with established designers. A business should be careful when considering a charity case like this.
Is the Designer Asking Questions?
When interviewing a logo designer, the employer asks many questions and gives a lot of info about the project she has in mind. The employer should not be the only one interrogating though.
The logo designer needs to know the company in and out in order to create a logo that represents not just a product, but what that business stands for. He should be asking detailed questions about the business’ target audience and feature services. He should also be interested in the personality of the company.
Can the Designer Meet the Project Requirements?
This is another question that goes back to experience. The designer may have a thousand clients who sing her praise, but if she has only created logos geared toward children’s toys she may not be an ideal candidate for a Steel Mill project.
Also consider the format she worked in. Can she handle websites or has she only worked with mobile applications? Are logos something she focuses on or is she more capable with large ads?
Time constraints fall under this question too. Even the best designers may not be able to meet client deadlines. Find a designer that is capable but not swamped with work from other enterprises.
Is the Price Negotiable?
This does not mean a business should seek out the cheapest designer. It is a given that marketing is expensive and the better quality, the higher the price.
What a company should ask about, though, is if the project will have a set price decided before it is begun. Hourly wages for this kind of work can get out of hand fast. The designer and employer should have a set price for everything involved in the project. This can be one price for one logo, or the cost of having multiple drafts and logos to choose from.
Also, it should be confirmed that the company will have rights to the purchased logo, not the artist.
What Kind of Personality Does the Designer Have?
This may seem like a frivolous constraint to have, but logos are a creative invention. In order for art, even business art, to speak to consumers, it needs to be crafted not produced. To breathe life into a project the designer must be passionate about it. She must share the company’s vision and attitude in order to portray it correctly.
The logo designer will collaborate with the business on more than one occasion, so her personality is important for that as well. If the business associate and the logo designer do not get along it will have negative effects on the efficiency and quality of the finished project. The business should choose a designer with similar values to the company, a creative vision, and a professionalism that will keep the project on track.