Unfortunately for most, the process of designing a logo is seen as something of a luxury. Even worse, most tend to believe it to be somewhat inconsequential to the ultimate success of their company.  Truth be told, consumers are viciously shallow and fickle animals. Take for example the genius marketing and design employed by companies like Apple. Through intense hours of design, refinement, focus groups, testing, and implementation - Apple has grown to become a monolithic technology staple. This has a lot to do with their (arguably) great products, but even more to do with their aggressive marketing and nearly perfect graphic styles used with consistency throughout their brand. From every product, whether it's phone, tablet, desktop computer or even Apple TV, the styling is prevalent and consistent. 

In a nutshell, this is what a graphic designer is paid to do.

If you want to establish trust from a consumer demographic almost immediately, graphic design is your first step. Continuity in your branding lets customers know that you are consistent and place a significant amount of relevance on how your product or service is to be perceived. But arguably more important, intuitive and attractive design is simply more accessible.  If you hand out business cards with flashy accents, a glossy mess of a logo and your website is loaded with flash animations...you're not going to sell a lot of antiques. A Logo is like your company nickname. Instead of it representing some personal sense of nostalgia or aesthetic , it should be developed with your customers in mind - what has worked within your industry and how it should be implemented to inspire trust and interest in your customers.
Of Course it's not always "right" the first time.

As times change, so do people's perception of what is "cool" or unique enough to represent them, while still providing quality assurance. As trends come and go, some industries must keep up with the tides of fads by having an ever evolving  identity. Above for example; Apple has maintained its place among the top personal computer manufacturers since the inception decades ago. With that responsibility has come the many faces of Apple. Where else should one turn to update their graphic identities other than the ones carefully watching, and molding the visual trends made prevalent for their times; graphic designers.

Do you know the difference between Vector and Raster images? Do you know about .PNG? GIF? Are you confident in sending your printer properly formatted files with the proper bleed? Have you familiarized yourself with typeface end user license agreements (EULA)?

The process of developing an idea for a logo is often extensive enough, then learning the programs to create a digital version can take years to master. Find out later that your logo is useless in black and white, or that the quality is so low that you can't use it for anything bigger than a business card, and you may pull all of your hair out. Graphic designers are acquainted with the processes and implementations of their work. This leaves you free to do what you do best, and be represented graphically in all your desired mediums without worry of  compatibility. 

When hiring a graphic designer to help develop your logo and in turn your brand, these are some things you should look out for:

  • Client QuestionnaireWhen I receive a new client, first thing first - Client Questionnaire. This is the back bone and definitive basis for all design decisions from inception to completion. Be as thorough as possible when filling out these forms, as this informs all decisions made by the designer. If your designer wants to create your logo without first trying to understand you, your business, your goals and your budget...then he/she may not place the necessary value on your time or their ability required to make the project successful. 
  • Work Agreement: This is an absolutely necessary portion of the design process. Too often the lines are blurred when it comes to copyright ownership, payment delivery, and who owes who favors (usually none). While this type of document can be waived among clients in good standing with the designer, it is almost always necessary for new clients. This form stipulates delivery schedules, obligations as well as legal protection for both parties. I use a service called EchoSign for clients I won't have the opportunity to meet in person.
  • Knowledge of and reasoning for their decisions: If your designer delivers you a group of wildly varying concepts with little or no explanations for their existence...fire them. Your hard earned money will be wasted on an individual who sees it fit only to apply glossy textures and gradients to a bold version of your company name. All their decisions should be informed and based on answers given during the initial exchanges around the questionnaire portion.  At the very least, they should have a compelling explanation to what informed their design decisions.

While the list goes on, this should give you some insight into the process. It is up to you to decide whether or not your company can benefit from hiring a designer, but in most cases the question is undoubtedly yes. 

If you have any questions about anything discussed here, or if you would like to contribute any ideas I haven't discussed, please include them in the comments section below! 

Matthew Martinez
Freelance graphic designer
Follow me on instagram: Triniteye

07/30/2013 3:41am

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08/13/2013 3:11am

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