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The three traps that will doom your logo design

Avoid these three common errors and you're already half-way to a great company logo.


You need a logo, and you don't have the time or money to get it wrong. Here are three basic lessons that will help you avoid the mistakes that absolutely every logo design buyer makes at least once.

1. Be clear on what the logo is worth to you

There are thousands of places providing logo design online, charging anything from $25 to $2,500.

Where you go for your new logo and how much you spend should depend on what your logo is worth to you.

Is it a logo design for the next few years or just an interim logo while your business gets going? If your business did go to plan, would you expect to be upgrading the logo in the medium term? What could you settle for in the meantime?

How difficult or expensive would it be to change the logo later on? This is much easier for online businesses than companies who have stores, products or other offline factors to consider.

To what extent will the quality of the logo determine the success of your business? If you are relying on brand awareness and recollection to be successful, then you need something that appeals to the target audience. If you're only expecting traffic from a search engine or pay-per-click advertising, then the logo matters less.

Without asking these questions you risk paying too much or too little to get the wrong logo from the wrong designer.

2. Be clear on your brief

Every logo design project starts with a brief.

A brief generally captures:

A lot of busy people hate to sit down and invest 30 minutes filling out a document like this.

A logo design brief is easy to write when a business has a clear marketing plan specifying things like the product's target market and positioning. When a business isn't clear on its marketing strategy, sitting down at a logo brief forces a business person to ask difficult questions that may not yet have been answered.

And if a business can't articulate what it is offering, or to whom, then it's not really fair to expect that a logo designer will be able to work it out either.

A designer also doesn't know what your design prejudices are. Picking out examples of styles you like (and don't like) can be time-consuming - but it sure beats wasting everyone's time and money designing concepts you're never going to like.

3. Be clear in your feedback

When the first round of logo concepts arrive from your designer, it's uncommon to find that the designer has hit upon the ideal and most perfect logo at the very first attempt. In the vast majority of cases you will want to see some changes.

Unfortunately, asking your designer politely for "some changes" is unlikely to prove useful. Until telepathy becomes a widely acceptable means of communication, you would be well advised to rely instead on clear and detailed written feedback.

The key word here is "detailed".

Bad

Better

I just don't like it.I don't like the graphic or the font, but I do like the colors.
Can you make it more professional-looking?I think that the font is a bit plain. Could we make that look a little more professional? Here are some examples of the sort of fonts I would like to see.
Can you just give me another 5 options?Can you give me 5 more options using the graphic from that concept, font from that concept, and a new set of graphics? I don't know what the graphics should be, but I liked these ones more than those ones.
Can you fix the graphic?Can you simplify the graphic?
Can you make that green?Can you make that green, like the green on this site here?

Without the feedback detail, you're shooting yourself in foot. If the designer doesn't really understand what you're asking for, you're simply setting yourself up for more of the same frustration in the next revision round.

In summary

  1. Be clear about your objectives. This will help you set the budget and choose the right designer.
  2. Be clear in the brief. This is the requirements document that the designer will work from, and if this foundation isn't right, the rest of the design process is in trouble.
  3. Be clear in your feedback. Poor feedback will make for poor revisions and add time and frustration to the whole project.

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