The 8 Best Tips for Working with Logo Designers

Image of a logo and graphic designer by Magicdust

Working with a logo designer to create a new logo is a process that every business will need to go through at some point in time. If it’s not managed well it can be very time consuming and in some cases even unsuccessful. From working extensively on both sides of the fence we have put together the following eight tips to help make the process a lot smoother and to give the client insight into how they can contribute to a successful outcome.

1. Be Realistic When Establishing Time Frames

Agree with the designer on the timeline for the project, and be clear on when you need things like the first draft, the final proof, and the print-ready piece. Understand, however, that some things in logo design can be more time-consuming than you think. Remember that there’s a lot of specialized skill and knowledge that goes into a professionally-designed logo.

2. Provide Examples

Providing examples of logos that you like is probably the single best way to fast track the design process. A picture really is worth a 1000 words. You may not think that this is your “job” but it’s important to understand that the logo design process is a collaboration and the clearer you can communicate your vision (regardless of how refined it may be) the better. A good designer will give you examples of work prior to designing to help you communicate the style and look and feel that you are after. The designer will still come up with original work, but the examples of what you like give them a great starting point.

3. Don’t Expect Perfection on the First Draft

There’s a reason it’s called “a first draft.” It’s a starting point. Think of it as the first step on the path to a finished piece. This is where your input is crucial, and a good designer will appreciate your suggestions and constructive criticism.

4. Avoid Generalized Feedback

Unfortunately there is nothing very constructive about “I don’t like it” or “make it pop”. What, exactly does that mean? And what is a “wow factor”? Specific examples or descriptions are much more useful, and your designer will appreciate this input far more. It is one thing to give them creative freedom, it’s quite another to expect them to read your mind.

5. Consider the Components

There are five main components to logo design. Commenting on them individually when giving feedback can be very helpful in narrowing down what you’d like to see in the finished piece. Sometimes, as the client, it can be hard to know exactly what you do and don’t like about the logo. But just saying “I don’t like it” isn’t going to be very constructive. So breaking the design down into its components can make it easier for you to identify what you do and don’t like and it also makes it more constructive if you do say “I don’t like…the colours.” Here the four main components of logo design:

  • Colour
  • Fonts
  • Layout
  • Icon
  • Overall Aesthetic

6. Don’t be Too Controlling

Always allow a space for the logo designers input and creativity. One dynamic that can happen if the client is very particular, or if they lose faith in the designer, is that they start to direct every little design change and start to micro manage the designer. The designer slowly gets excluded from the creative process and at some point they may eventually give up artistic input altogether. When this happens the job can start to slide down a very precarious path.

Usually in a situation like this what has happened is that the designer doesn’t know exactly what you want, you have mistaken that for them being a bad designer and you have felt that you need to take control. A good designer will know how to remedy this. But if you feel this is happening the best thing to do is step back, get some altitude, talk to the designer and try to clarify with visual examples exactly what you want. Then the project can get back on track.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

You are paying the logo designer for a creative process and point of view, but you’re the boss. If their design choices confuse you, ask them to explain it. Rein them in if necessary. If it confused you it may confuse your audience as well.

8. Know When to Say When

It’s never going to be perfect. It’s easy to obsess and lose perspective when you are too close to something. Step back, take a deep breath, and always try to view it from the point of view of your target audience. If you are very close but just can’t seem to get exactly what you’re looking for perhaps it’s time to embrace what’s good about it and move on.

Logo design is a subjective process and there is no set-in-stone “right-way” to go about it. But it is a collaborative process and understanding that process, having realistic expectations, patience and excellent communication will go a long way towards a successful outcome.