I remember a few years ago, when I was a staffer at a large branding agency, I had a major logo project I was working on that I needed some help with. So, my creative director suggested I ask one of the freelancers who was working in the office at the time if he would like to help out with the project. Like many designers suffering through the ‘feast or famine’ world of freelance work, he of course said, ‘Yes’.
But, having worked with many a ‘logo designer’ in the past with rather mixed results, I asked him blankly, “Yes, I enjoy designing logos? Or yes, I enjoy designing logos like a hot poker in the eye?” Strangely, he didn’t know how to answer. And after the first round of work he submitted, I then knew why.
Not everyone who wears the badge of graphic designer is good at all of the various design disciplines. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses. And that is something that many clients and those hiring for logo design don’t always understand. Logo design happens to be one of those branches of the creative tree that not many are able to bear adequate fruit.
Which is exactly why I’ve decided to help you find that logo designer to get you what you are looking for.
I do have a unique perspective on this particular subject and certainly know what it’s like to sift through source books and websites, scouring every page trying to find the right logo style–all on an insurmountable deadline. And, after you’ve found the person’s work that fits the bill, now you’ve got to find out if they fit your budget.
On the flip side, I’ve been the guy who gets the call or e-mail with the often desperate inquiry. ‘What’s your availability?’, is usually the first question. Most of the time I’m coming into the situation rather blindly, not knowing exactly how they came to find me. Was it from a source book page or a portfolio site listing or perhaps from an e-mail promotion I sent? How about a recommendation? Sometimes they can’t even remember.
As a logo design specialist, this is where things can take an interesting turn. You see a logo designer is much like a gourmet chef. All chefs can obviously cook, but a gourmet chef is known for what they cook and most importantly HOW they cook. Logo designers are no different. They can probably create what you’re looking for–eventually. But it may be in a technique or style that you may not have initially intended.
They are specialists and have been crafting their way of designing logos for a long time. Some have several different styles. So, rather than force a round peg into a square hole, perhaps you should find someone who fits the style you were looking for. That way, everyone is much happier with the end result.
Quite honestly, there are a lot of great logo designers out there. Some have lots of experience and some are fairly new to the industry. There are many designers that work solely on corporate identity, some logotypes and some like myself, are logo illustrators. All of them are out there to create the perfect identity for your brand. But, not all of them are what you may be looking for.
Here’s a few tips on how to narrow down your options to help you hire the right one.
- Style. First and foremost is the designer’s style. How does that fit into your project? Do they have a slick abstract shape sort of style, or is it more illustrative? What are you trying achieve with your communication? If you’re needing something more iconic, than a character specialist probably won’t fit the bill.
- What type of logo? Is it a corporate logo, a product logo, a sports logo, an event or even a promotional logo? There are even logo illustrators. I know, I know – we’ve broken it down into even TYPES of logos, but some designers work well with promotional parameters and some don’t. Check their portfolio and see.
- Portfolio. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant you’ve never been to and order without looking at the menu first? You might, but you probably wouldn’t be happy with the selection. The same goes for logo design. Take a good look at their work and see if it’s what you were looking for and if it fits your project.
- Timeline. Have a fair and reasonable deadline. If not, expect to pay more for it. Please keep in mind that some techniques take longer to render than others. Intense deadlines can’t hurry some illustration techniques, even if you want it to.
- Concept. Do you have something in mind already, or are you looking for the logo designer’s contribution–or both? If it hasn’t been worked out yet, certainly let your potential candidate know that you are looking for some additional direction. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with what a fresh set of eyes (and brains) can bring to the table.
- What’s delivered. It’s sounds obvious, but what are you getting from the designer when the project is finished? You should be getting a full set of vector logos in either Adobe Illustrator or similar software. A raster logo done in Photoshop is not suitable for all applications and is only slighting you in the end. Don’t be afraid to ask the designer up front to make sure you have something usable after all is said and done.
- Usage and pricing. This is a hot one these days. Everyone wants to pay a low fee for a logo and be done with it. On the other hand, creating something that ends up on billboards nationwide should also be adequately compensated for. If you want to have something that’s splashed all over creation, be prepared to pay for it.
This topic is often either the first thing people bring up, or is not adequately addressed. Be upfront with your candidate about what you have to spend. At that point the designer can either negotiate an agreeable amount or pass on the project. Everyone is just trying to be fair.