Q: We’re looking for a new logo design. Where do I start?!
A: Logo. Your corporate identity. It is the face of your company — often the most conspicuous image by which you are known to your clients. Whether you’re a startup looking for a new logo or an established company looking to rebrand, there are some very important issues to consider. And that’s apart from the design.
Trying to develop an image or icon that represents your staffing firm is often one of the most crucial and difficult marketing projects to undertake. Finding a vendor that you can trust to get you there can be an even bigger challenge. For a more complete explanation of what to consider in the design of the logo, please read this post: Ask Haley: Logo-a-gogo: Best practices for your corporate identity. It covers best practices and considerations for design.
When looking for a vendor to develop your logo, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
What is our budget?
Developing a strong logomark can be rewarding, frustrating, and often both. Can you clearly and definitively determine what you are willing to spend on developing a corporate identity? A logo can cost as little as $100 or more than $1 million. Where do you fall in that range? The hundred-dollar logo sites can crank out designs quickly and affordably, but they are often “cookie-cutter” solutions. Some provide libraries of stock icons and typefaces, from which you can pick and choose elements. And you do run the risk of picking the same elements as someone else. Shouldn’t your logo be unique? If so, are you willing to work with a designer to develop custom artwork through trial and error? As an analogy, the hundred-dollar sites are like having your picture taken with a cell phone and a creative agency is like having your portrait painted by an artist.
How would we like to be represented?
Is there a time constraint? Is this a project you are willing to take as long as necessary to get it right, or do you need something for a specific rollout date? This is critical for your designer to know. For an open-ended project, you’ll have time to experiment and explore different ideas. For tight deadlines, you run the risk of settling on something just to get it done. When the deadline arrives and the logo isn’t ready, will you call it done or choose to wait until you get it right? Knowing this, and letting your creative agency know, helps to keep the conversation honest, open and avoids frustrations.
What is the agency’s revisions and editing policy?
Some agencies promise free, unlimited revisions for a fixed fee. Others charge hourly for everything. Some firms provide a fixed number of designs and revisions. And still others offer a set “bank” of hours or blocks of time from which they try to complete the logo project before the time is used up. There are advantages to each approach, and this really boils down to a combination of your budget and time constraint issues, plus your patience with the designer.
Most logo projects are an iterative effort. You’ll rarely (okay, never) get the perfect design on the first try. And sometimes, you may need to start from scratch in a new direction when the first concepts don’t go in the direction you envisioned. What will you do if this happens on your project?
Ideally, you’ll have an opportunity to speak directly to the designer(s) doing your work. Ask questions, provide input. Help them to really “get” you and understand how you want to be seen. If concepts are way off the mark, provide as much clear feedback as you can — and ideally share samples of what you like. If the designer is unable to deliver anything you like on the second pass, ask to get another designer involved.
One of the most frustrating parts of logo design (for both you as the client and the designer) is that success is not a linear path. Sometimes you get it right very quickly. Other times it takes a lot of patience and persistence because logos can be so subjective. When requesting revisions, make sure you understand the agency’s revisions policy, so you know whether or not the next round of concepts is included in the project. If you run out of “rounds of revisions” or your time allotment prior to getting to the result you want, be willing to work with your agency on a resolution that’s fair to all.
What file types does the agency provide?
Ideally, your logo vendor will provide you with a complete set of files for use in both print and web publishing. Print-quality artwork can be used for the web, but not vice-versa. Web-quality images are low-resolution and are not suitable for print. Does your designer know the difference? There are freelancers and even professional agencies that don’t, and it can cause problems down the road for you, especially if you need to pay a print designer to redraw your logo in a high-resolution format from a low-resolution one.
Unfortunately, we see this a lot. At Haley Marketing, we provide a logo kit which includes color, grayscale and line-art (black and white) versions of the artwork in both print and web file types — basically everything any other designer or print vendor would need. Want your logo on a billboard, a pen or an email? The file you need to send out for those projects is in the logo kit.
What color formats do they work in?
Similar to file types, there are some specific, technical color issues which come into play when designing a logo. And not all designers are savvy to them. For print, we recommend using the Pantone Matching System (PMS). This is an industry standard of ink colors so any professional print vendor can replicate your logo’s colors accurately and consistently. Some designers work in the web-friendly RGB color system only, so when it comes time to use the file in print, the logo may require additional corrective work. These issues are just the starting point of a corporate identity project. With these questions answered, you and your creative agency can set the scope, budget and time constraints necessary to developing your firm’s branding. With a clear understanding of each other’s expectations and responsibilities, a lot of the frustrations and headaches involved in logo development can be minimized and even eliminated. You need to know what you’re buying and the designer needs to know what they’re providing. From there, the solution to your logo needs is that much easier to find.
If you’d like to discuss Haley Marketing’s logo development services further, please contact me at 1.888.696.2900 or [email protected].
~ Neil Kowalewski, Art Director