How to Get a Logo Accepted: Eight Steps To a Better Design Workflow
On Dribbble, brand designers are in the minority. The greater part of the Dribbble community comprises those who deal with interfaces, UX and animations. So when traveling to Gdańsk, Poland last July to their first Dribbble Meetup, I expected to meet a similar audience. Indeed, there were mostly freelance web designers and multidisciplinary folks who have been asked to design a logo at least once.
However, I decided not to talk about how to create a good logo. You can find a lot of articles about how a timeless logo should look or the core characteristics of a good logo online. Instead, I focused on the process itself.
As logo and brand designers, our work starts long before the first concept sketches, and finishes long after the last perfectly placed pixel.
Our work requires so much more than just creative ideas and technical skills — it compels us to be a marketer, strategist, psychologist, salesperson, showman and project manager at the same time. It’s difficult, but it’s also exciting and challenging!
The goal of my article is to help you rethink your (logo) design workflow. Some of these tips are mine, others are borrowed from world-famous designers. All these tips and tricks are tested and proven, and are tailored to improve your workflow for (re)branding projects.
“By the way, I also need a logo.”
Ta-da! You’ve just got a web design project. A new product or service is about to show up on the worldwide market and needs your creative help. Then you asked for brand guidelines and heard, “Oh, we don’t have a logo yet. Can you create it?”
A moment of doubt (because branding is not your main area of business) and you reply, “Yeah, sure!”
Such an answer is quite common. Clients prefer not to split one project between several designers. However, the logo design process has its own characteristics. And its outcome depends not only on how meaningful and elegant the logo will be, but also on the workflow you have.
1. Explain Your Design Workflow
Whether it is a private client or an agency, when they hire you they are hiring your workflow as well.
Your process is what enables you to do good work. It is a framework you have developed throughout your career and have been adjusting after every project.
Do your best to make your client understand and trust this process. Show them your process (visualized, of course) in the very first meeting and explain why it is so important to follow it. Set the number of logo options you will provide in the first presentation, the number of revisions and corrections, and what the payment and delivery milestones are.
A good client will respect your process as long as you keep it transparent.
2. Provide Your Client With A Creative Brief
My main advice at this point of the design workflow is to ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask about anything, even if it seems off-topic. In the first meeting with a client, I always open with: “I will ask a lot of questions. Some of them may seem to have nothing to do with our project or not be necessary for the designer to know. But all this information is crucial. It will help me create an identity that expresses who you are and tap into your customers’ emotions.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE BRAND
- Who are you?
- What do you do, and why?
- What do you promise your customers?
- What is your unique selling point (“We are the only company to [provide this service]”)
- What is your story?
- What is your future?
- Who are your competitors?
- Who loves or may love you, and why?
- Are you going to influence the lifestyle of your customers and how?
- What emotions do you want to evoke in your customers?
Some of these questions are difficult to answer immediately. Ask the client to send you answers when they are ready, but don’t forget to mention that their responses are a part of the creative brief, and you cannot start working on a logo without them.
I have a brief template that I ask clients to fill out after our first meeting if they want to think about some of the questions a bit further. (Usually, this happens with the unique selling point – it’s not easy to explain why people will choose you in one sentence.)
If you want to go further and increase your client’s engagement, run a small workshop!
I created a brand personalities deck of cards for this purpose. It consists of 24 cards showing 24 contrasting adjectives on each side such as young/mature, peaceful/rebellious, serious/playful, etc. It helps to define the core feelings that the client wants its customers to perceive when interacting with the brand.