Hiring a logo designer for the first time is similar to going on a blind date. You have seen their portfolio, read their content, and maybe have even read/heard some great testimonials from previous clients but, how do you know if you two are compatible?
Being a logo designer and branding strategist for a while now, I have had many conversations with clients who have had bad experiences from “logo designers” in the past. Either these designers did not hit the clients goals, had created a design that didn’t relate with their industry, or there was a misconception as far as when the project had to be done.
A good way to find out if a logo designer is right for your brand is to simply listen to the questions they ask.
Branding a business takes time and goes a lot deeper than just the deliverables (the files you receive at the end). Your logo designers job is to take what you offer to your target audience and present it in a way in which your customers can relate and trust.
There are many questions I ask even on only my first consultation with a client before a proposal is even sent and even many more questions after. This article touches on 5 of the main questions that every logo designer should ask you before any contracts or negotiations are set in place.
These foundational questions your logo designer should be asking are:
How long have you been in business?
Who would you NOT work with?
Where would this logo be seen?
On a scale of Chuck E Cheese to Chase Bank, how corporate is your brand?
What are your 5-year goals?
Now, there are many more that one would have to ask to really get an understanding of how to hit the canvas, but these are the first 5 I like to ask.
1) How long have you been in business?
This one is both for me as well as my client. I make this the first one to see if I am dealing with a brand new startup or an existing corporation who have been through this branding process before. The answer to this question should automatically dictate where the conversation will go from there on out.
This gives your logo designer an opportunity to inform you more about the process that you are about to undergo. This is one of the more simple question but also the most important in my eyes. For myself personally, I don’t work with non-funded startups. This gives me a chance to ask about the budget before we continue the rest of the conversation.
2) Who would you NOT work with?
I used to ask my clients who their perfect client was. 90% of the time the answer was everyone. This, of course, is unrealistic but understandable as every company would love to work with everyone. I started rephrasing this question for that reason. Which customers do you refuse to work with and why? Maybe it’s pricing, maybe it’s because your business isn’t exactly suited for them.
There are tons of reasons why someone may not be the ideal client for your business. Your logo designer should ask this before wasting time designing for someone who you don’t even want as a customer.
3) Where will this logo be seen?
Your logo designer I assume is highly skilled at what they do. So they should, in turn, know the in and outs of print production, digital production as well as some knowledge about the web. Knowing where your logo will be seen is important from the way that they design your logo to the files that you receive at the end.
Take web design for example. You will need one version of your logo the desktop version of your site and one for the mobile as one will fit horizontally and one will especially be more iconic as to not take up to much space.
What if you’re a restaurant who offers delivery? Eventually, you will want your logo to be presented on a vinyl wrap on a truck or car to further your branding. Your logo designer will have to keep this in mind while designing the dimensions of your logo to meet these needs. In point #5, I mention that your logo designer should be asking about your future goals. This is another great example as to why these questions are important. Although you may not offer delivery now, will you in the future?
4) On a scale of Chuck E Cheese to Chase Bank, how corporate is your brand?
I don’t always use these two examples when talking to a client but hopefully, you get the picture. As you may have noticed, many of these questions have not mentioned how you actually want your logo to look. In my previous article “Conversion Based Logo Design” I cover how it is up to us as logo designers to take all these questions and use our creative knowledge to turn it into a design fit for your target audience (not necessarily you).
With that being said, I do like to ask this question for a few reasons. The main reason is so that I know how to approach the project and how much “fun’ I can have with the actual design. Even an outdoor camping company can have a more corporate look and still attract the right audience if done right. This all depends again, on where this logo will be seen.
This leads me to the last question every logo designer should be asking a new client.
5) What are your 5-year goals
I am sure in the many business articles you have read that this is a question that should be at the forefront of your mind. It should also be on your logo designers as well. You never want to design an image for “now” because now always changes. If you design a logo for today you’re bound to have to spend the same amount of money (if not more) recreating it tomorrow.
This is always the question that stumps every client I speak to (hence why it is often the last in our initial conversation). That is because many business owners see a logo design project as a necessity to start their business (like a business plan) rather than a tool that is going to push their brand forward. You have to take into consideration that we as logo designers are responsible for the way every email campaign, every facebook ad, every piece of printed material and more looks for the future. Years down the road from now you will still be using the same baby blue and teal, with the same font, with the same amount of spacing between your header and subheader and we are responsible for all of that.
I encourage you to think about this prior to your conversation so that you know where you want to take your branding in the future. You may be a small salon in Charlotte, NC right now, but are you going to franchise 5 years from now like sport clips?
When it’s time to go on the hunt to find your amazing logo designer keep in mind if they don’t ask you these questions (or variations of them) that they are not really doing their job. In this case, places like Fiverr and Upwork are where you can find designers for cheap who will just give you what you want to see rather than creating a brand around your customer’s needs.