When collaborating with a designer or agency to create a logo, just how should the experience work? How much and what kind of info will you need to provide, and what should you walk away with once you've paid the invoice? While processes differ slightly, most designers and agencies follow the same general phases. Here's a peek behind the scenes to know what goes on, and what you should be getting:
1. CLIENT BRIEF
You know the most about your business and probably have some specific ideas on what you want your logo to imply. An experienced designer or agency will kick off the project with good, quality, investigative conversations with you. The more they know about you, the smarter their solution will be. They'll take your inspiration and skillfully develop it.
2. RESEARCH and CLIENT DISCOVERY
Crafting a successful visual identity requires much more than picking a cool font and combining and unusual squiggle with it. A great logo should be an expression of a company's values, culture and people. A true professional doesn't make assumptions here. They'll spend significant time learning about the industry, your company's behavior, your goals, audience, products and competition. These clues become a blueprint for creating a distinctive, memorable logo that stands out from others in your industry.
3. DESIGN and EXECUTION
This is where the fun begins and the creativity sets in. A talented designer should be aware of trends, but capable of crafting a design that's not cookie-cutter. They've been trained to understand nuances in styles, color, fonts and arrange elements in a way that respects basic design principles. This brain-storming phase should produce dozens of rough ideas that will eventually be narrowed down to a handful that get refined and presented to you. Because color is very subjective and emotional, you should expect concepts at this stage to be black and white to keep the focus on the ideas themselves rather than muddled in details that can distract from the overall design process.
4. CLIENT PRESENTATION
It's always wise to review the initial concepts with your designer so that he or she can walk you through their ideas as well as strategy for each concept. They need to hear your feedback and should take careful notes.
You're on the home stretch now and once a design concept resonates with you, you'll discuss some tweaks and refinements with your designer. It's at this time that various color combinations will be introduced. This single concept will generally take several directions and the weeding out process begins again until a final design is chosen.
Deliverables will vary widely depending on who you work with, and what price point you've chosen for the project. At the very least, be sure your deliverables include your logo in multiple variations (color, black, reverse, vertical, horizontal, etc.) as well as file formats. Having design variations and several file formats at your fingertips give you confidence that your new logo will work as well on a business card as on the side of your trucks. Logos created in Microsoft Word, or logo contests that supply you only with a jpeg file won't have this flexibility. These scenarios are an indication of poor design and you'll inevitably need to shell out money down the road to have your logo redrawn in vector format so it can hold its integrity across a variety of mediums and applications. If your logo package is extensive, it could also involve brand strategy and style guide. The last step is to celebrate and take your show on the road!