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I think I need a logo, so now what? Part 2 of 2

Monday, January 9th, 2012 by Erin Peters

A guide to understanding the role of a logo and choosing a logo design service that’s right for your business (cont.)

How does a logo get designed?

As mentioned earlier, the pricing structure for logo design services range greatly – this is due in large part to the professional reputation and experience of the design firm or design professional, in addition to the services provided during the logo creation process. In the logo design business, the expression “you get what you pay for” is true to a large degree. How much more you should pay for one service over the other is entirely up to you – and therefore it’s up to you to fully understand what you are or are not getting at a given price point.

Whether you go to an individual, design firm or full-service advertising agency, here are a few important steps you’ll want to make sure your design process includes before signing on the dotted line:

1. A Discovery Meeting between client & service provider

2. Research of Industry and competitors by service provider

3. Estimate Delivery

4. A Creative Brief that includes:

    1. Conceptual development Phase

    1. Production Phase

    1. Delivery Phase

1. A Discovery Meeting between client & service provider

As you’ve learned, a logo is so much more than the culmination of cool images and insightful words. Remember, this logo should represent your brand for years to come. It needs to accurately represent your business, products and services in an innovative, memorable way. Planning a discovery meeting is a great way to make sure you accomplish these goals. This gives the designer, project manager or creative director a chance to meet you personally – to discuss your needs, goals, target audience, company, history, competition, preferences, ideas, etc.

2. Research of Industry and Competitors by service provider

In an effort to deliver an accurate estimate, the project manager or creative director will want to conduct research on your industry, its history, local and national competitors. At this time, they should also research current and past design trends, in addition to creative hits and misses reflected within your industry.

3. Estimate Delivery

With the Discovery Meeting and industry research out of the way, enough information has been gathered to deliver an estimate the service provider can comfortably stand behind. Estimates will many times include deposit and payment schedule information. The estimate should also detail how many iterations are included in each design phase. (For more information on “iterations” please see the following section below: Protect yourself and your budget – accommodate for iterations!) If agreed to by both parties, the estimate is signed and the logo design process is officially underway.

4. A Creative Brief

The Creative Brief is a document used by both client and service provider to outline the steps of the creative process and outline expectations for both parties. The Creative Brief will summarize, among other things, critical creative takeaways from the Discovery Discussion and any competitive analysis created during the research phase. It should also include a breakdown of each phase critical to the production cycle:

a. The conceptual development Phase:

Working from the Creative Brief, the designer or firm team members begin to brainstorm and explore conceptual strategies and solutions. After a compelling conceptual presentation is created, it’s presented to the client with an explanation on how a concept delivers on the client’s overall objectives.

b. The Production Phase: After a concept has been agreed to and approved by the client, the production phase begins. Generally speaking, this is when all the pieces come together – when the logo starts to take shape – when the client’s vision comes to life. During the production phase, the client will be presented with their logo (sometimes various version of their logo.) Depending on the client’s reaction, the designer or firm may be asked to revise the creative. This cycle will repeat as outlined in the original Creative Brief.

c. The delivery Phase: depending on the client’s needs, it’s during this phase that the logo design cycle is completed. Final electronic files containing the new logo are delivered – if you’re working with a full?service agency an order for business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc., will be delivered in addition to the final files.

Protect yourself and your budget – accommodate for iterations!

While pricing structures and subsequent services vary from one logo design service to another, there is one process that you must be aware of before contracting with anyone to design your logo – iterations. Iterations (or revisions) are a very important part of keeping your logo design budget in check, especially during the Conceptual Development and Production phases. As the client, you may not be happy with the first few concepts you’re presented with and want the designer or firm to go back to the drawing board to present something new. This is a totally legitimate request, but this request also affects the designer’s or firm’s time and bottom line as well. Typically, two iterations are common in the Conceptual and Production Phases. Make sure this is discussed before signing any contract – and once agreed upon, make sure it’s included in the estimate, Creative Brief or final contract.

Remember, you’re the client. It’s o.k. to ask questions!

By now, you have a better understanding of what a logo is, what it should do and the process by which a logo gets designed. There is however one important piece to finding the logo design service that’s right for you that we haven’t covered…the interview! Remember, just because a designer or design firm makes a claim, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to do your own due diligence. Even if you do conduct interviews on a day?to?day basis, the following logo design oriented questions may help pave the way toward a more confident, trustworthy relationship between yourself and your potential service provider.

What you should and can ask of a logo designer or firm:

• How many years have you been designing professionally?

• What types of designs do you specialize in?

• How many years of experience do you have designing logos specifically?

• Can you describe your logo design process? Compare their answers to what you learned here

• Do you do branding and corporate identity work as well?

• Do you have a portfolio I can review?

• Have you or your firm won any awards or received public acknowledgements for your logo work?

• Can you provide me with at least three professional references?

• Will I have 100% of the copyrights associated with the art that’s created?

In conclusion:

By this point, you have a basic foundation from which to funnel down those 70+ million Google search results we pointed to at the beginning of this article. In a short about of time, you’ve learned:

1. How important a logo actually is in the grand scheme of things

2. How a logo, corporate identity and brand work together

3. That logo design costs vary dramatically and often reflect the services provided, in addition to the reputation and experience of a given designer or design firm

4. What expectations you should have for your logo (first impression, longevity, innovation and consistency with your corporate identity, etc.)

5. About the different phases involved in the logo design process – including the importance of allowing for iterations (both verbally and contractually)

6. Questions to ask of any designer, design firm or advertising agency before considering their services

Ultimately, who you hire to design your logo is entirely up to you. How much you decide to spend on the logo design process is also up to you. At Graphtek Interactive, our goal in presenting this article is to give you the information, the power really, to make an informed decision.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read here or would like to learn more about Graphtek Interactive’s logo design services, please feel free to contact us!

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