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Top 10 Tips when commissioning a logo designer

How to get the most out of your spend, when it comes to creating a logo, a visual identity and building your brand.

  1. Establish your vision, mission and values Ideally have this written down, and live and breathe it.

  2. Find a designer and talk to them This can be done over email or messanger but how best to tell your story than from the horses mouth - literally. Tell them your story. Make sure they are on the same page as you, if not, find another one.

  3. Do not judge your designer purely based on their portfolio. At the end of the day, you want something unique, so there is nothing they would have already created that should necessarily inspire you. Although if all their work is very similar in style, you will know iimmediately if it would fit with your vision. You also do not need to see 20 different logos they have designed in order to see if they demonstrate diversity. Along with some reliable credentials, it’s important to pick a designer who has time, energy and expertise to complete the task thoroughly and to listen to you and your brief. A good designer will add value by telling you want you need not necessarily what you think you want. Trust their knowledge and advice and if every answer they give is yes. Then that's a red flag right there. It should be a collaborate process, not a one way conversation.

  4. Be wary of agencies or designers who want ‘portfolio pieces’. Luckily this doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes a designer is more focused on producing something that they can use to sell, rather than focus on helping you sell! They shouldn’t need to pitch their logo idea to you, because they are making something that is a custom fit for you. It should be an easy pitch. Hence, no more than 2 ideas necessary.

  5. Know what you need – Technically speaking. Please, oh please, do not accept a logo that is not provided in ai. (Adobe Illustrator or equivalent vector format), jpeg. and png. This is a bare minimum and even then for some digital applications you might require further formats. If this is something new to you, you’ll soon discover why. Make sure those jpegs and pngs are in high resolution and ideally already have some provided to you ready to go and sized up, to integrate into your social media channels. A quality designer should do this as a courtesy.

  6. Prepare your list of deliverables Open up excel and start brainstorming. Create categories and list of every item you think your logo will need to be applied on. On your website, on social media, on your business card, on your label, on your envelope, on your invoice, on a roll-up banner for events (or to hide your laundry when you do online meetings), on merchandise labels, an event neckbands, video content (you may want an animated version), the list goes on and on. This step in invaluable at making your logo have longevity and deliver in every aspect of what you do. This should be part of your brief you give your designer. Their logo should work seamlessly onto all those materials, but that won't happen unless you tell them.

  7. Ask your designer to mock up some examples of those deliverables with their design You can’t choose a logo without seeing it on an application. Choose large and small formats, print and digital. Make sure all your bases are covered and you are happy with how it might look and do not do this only on social media channels, which can often be the tendency these days. Think outside the box, so you arent disappointed later.

  8. Do not get a logo made that comes in more than one size Once upon a time I worked with a very prestigious design agency. They made a logo for our client, but because of the style of it, some elements of it were not fully vectorised, and it contained some flattened jpegs. In laymen terms, it was sold as a homemade apple pie, but with shop bought pastry because the designer didnt have either the technical confidence to make the pastry from scratch or the time. To this day I am not sure what the reason was. As a consequence they had to provide it in various sizes, small, medium and large, so we could reproduce it on larger scale items. The large version was over 50mb and you didnt want to be using this on a business card. Your computer would crash whenever a new employee started. They insisted it wasn’t possible to recreate it in a fully vectorised format, and conversations became heated. They were getting paid a lot. I knew they were wrong (I have been doing this long enough), they just didn’t want to spend any more time on the job. They had already been paid and wouldn’t do this without another massive fee and a waiting time. The following day I paid another agency a relatively small fee, to rectify the problem and it took them a week to make an identical looking logo in one size, less than 2 or 3mb in size. Et Voila! You don’t want a logo that comes in different sizes. It’s totally impractical and you’ll be pulling your hair out using them.

  9. Do not get, just a logo When you ask a designer for a logo, that’s just the beginning. You will need various formats, fonts and a colour palettes. If budget allows, you should discuss having a visual identity and ask them to guide you through the process. Yet even with a small amout of money they should be able to offer some suggestions. It’s worth the discussion, even if it means something to revisit later once you have got a steady income and some budget. It is useful for the designer to be able to bare in mind how the logo might be used later. Even for a small business these things are essential. Check out my logo must-haves blog post, where I have provided some more details on what to expect - not what you should have to ask for.

  10. Get some rules Even if you are not working with printers and production regularly, get some brand guidelines or at the very least a short guide on the best practice of your logo, fonts, colours etc…Then you can provide your vendors with this and save you a lot of time! If you are getting a web designer to create you a website, this will save them and you a lot of hassle. These are just my top tips on going about getting a logo made, but check out my other posts for more ideas and advice.

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