I'm a big fan of David Airey's site and design blog. He just recently posted a blog about a logo design request he received, similar to other job requests he receives from time to time. This request had the potential client telling David exactly what they want their logo to look like, and that they essentially just need a designer to execute their design.
The point of hiring a designer to help create and develop your company's logo is to utilize someone's creative talents and experience (a skilled designer) to work with you and offer a design that is better than anything you could have come up with on your own. If you already know what you want why would you pay someone else a bunch of money to execute the design?
Leave the creative heavy lifting to the experts. A good designer will want your input and will listen to your thoughts and concerns. From there it will be apparent that the designer understood what you wanted and pushed your vision further than you could have on your own.
That's why you hire a designer, or a writer, or someone to help you build a strategy, because they have talent and experience and a creative approach that can elevate your initial thought of what could be in these realms. Otherwise, you're really just looking for someone to simply execute your own ideas, which is totally fine, but if you're not really an experienced designer, writer or marketer the end result may be less than it could be.
I will say that I am a proponent of empowering solopreneurs and small businesses with tips, tools and advice to help them discover and/or create their own marketing materials as a result of their small budget and need for cost-effective solutions. This usually becomes a learning tool for the small business - they learn enough to be dangerous and get what they need done for the time being (and some actually find that they have some talent in these areas, which is great), but most do what they need to for their businesses current start-up necessities and move toward hiring a professional as they build their company beyond those beginning stages that required such tight reigns on various costs.
The result is they learn a bit about what goes into the design, writing and marketing strategy-building process and they gladly hire an experienced brand communications specialist to do the heavy lifting with a better understanding of what they're paying for.
If you’ve ever read the book Made to Stick (amazon affiliate) you know that one of the elements of “sticky messages”--that is messages that end up being memorable and easy to recall--is being concrete.
What the authors of Made to Stick were talking about was using commonly recognized imagery and ideas in the language used to communicate your message. In the book they give the example of Aesop’s fable about The Fox and the Grapes, which is where the term, “sour grapes,” comes from.
The fox story is concrete in that it talks about how the fox couldn’t eat the grapes hanging on the vine above him, just out of his reach. In the fox’s defeat the fox proclaims the grapes were likely sour anyway. The lesson learned was that it’s easy to despise that which we cannot obtain.
My point (really the point of the authors of Made to Stick), is to the extent you’re able try to be concrete in the way you talk about your company’s brand, in the way you display imagery regarding your company’s brand (logo, identity design, etc), in every way you outline the benefits of your products/services, etc.
Give folks clear imagery that is common enough for them to wrap their imagination around. This is extremely important in service companies that don’t necessarily have a tangible product to sell.
David Airey is a graphic designer based in Northern Ireland who is quite talented and well known for his work, his blog, and his book, Logo Design Love (affiliate link).
Airey, has specific thoughts in regard to speculative (spec) work. In the design world spec work basically entails a potential client requesting a project from a designer to be worked on and presented without pay to the designer unless the outcome presented is to the satisfaction of the potential client. Almost always, this situation gives the designer, who has the most skin in the game, the short end of the stick. This is because if the potential client does not like the presented outcome of the project they’ll simply request changes that will eat up more of the designer’s time, talent and energy (which they’re not yet paying for), or the potential client will simply walk away with nothing to lose wasting the designer’s time, talent and energy on a useless project. Meanwhile, the designer could have been spending that , now wasted, time working for a paying client.
Doing work on spec, for any creative entrepreneur or freelancer, is a very quick way to get frustrated and go out of business. You’ll end up working for free, or way below your worth, way too often. This will not only run you out of business, but it can give your brand a misunderstood reputation of being cheap, inexpensive, or sub-par--definitely not the route you want to go if you’re trying to make a go of your entrepreneurial pursuits.
In a recent blog Airey posted his reply to a request for spec work that essentially turned around the request for spec work back onto the requestor. It’s funny, and a bit pretentious, but then again so is any request for spec work.
I recently read an article in the Washington Post about business cards. The article written by Michael S. Rosenwald basically talked about the fact that business cards are still the preferred method of sharing business-related contact information.
There were several reasons given in the article as to why traditional printed business cards are still winning over newer digital versions (i.e. various smartphone apps, etc.), but one that stood out to me was the impressions one can get when they receive a business card. I’m talking about the look and feel of a business card. I’m specifically referring to it being a visual extension of your brand--your personal brand or your business brand.
Often a business card will tout your logo and tag line as well as your contact info. As stated in the article, you may be trying to recall a contact that you met at an event who happened to give you his/her business card, and though you cannot recall that person’s name you recall the shape of the logo or the colors used on their business card. Then as you thumb through your pile of cards you stop on the exact card you were thinking of with the contact info of the person whose name you could not recall. The logo and/or colors were memorable enough that your brain knew the exact card you were looking for in your pile of cards as soon as you saw it again. That’s brand communication at work--keeping aspects of your brand, the writing or visuals associated with your brand, on your mind enough to allow better recall of your brand with each exposure to it.
A well thought out logo design and business card design is one of the simplest and most effective brand communication tools you have. Take it seriously, and use it widely.
Learn more about Brand Communications and how to use it with your Inbound Marketing efforts
Stephanie Orma is a San Francisco graphic designer who runs a clever card line, She’s SO Creative. She also writes for Examiner.com. I came across her article, Printing matters: Why super cheap printing plus quality graphic design = waste of money, which explains why quality printing is crucial to good design. Be sure to read this one.
A logo is a cue card to your brand. Whether you’re a musician or a large company having a logo is a quick and easy way for others to identify who you are and what you do.
A logo is a part of your entity’s identity. Once others become aware of who you are and what you do—and see your logo plastered all over every marketing piece that you create--they’ll start to see your logo and immediately recall what they know and think about you.
Once known, your logo becomes the visual reference that, when seen allows the viewer to recall all that they know about you and your endeavors. You may hear companies talk about branding—that’s what they’re talking about; the association someone makes when they see the company’s logo or hear the company’s name. That’s your brand.
Hopefully, people associate good things with your brand. However, that association is up to you and your actions to create a positive reputation for yourself. Once you have a positive reputation in place you’ll want to help your fans, clients and customers to quickly and easily recall that brand with little to no explanation, hence creating a logo—a visual reference to your brand.
What makes a good logo:
Understandable – It’s easy to read and grasp the logo concept. If there is text, it’s easily readable, and if there are iconic images or visual elements they’re also understandable, or make visual sense within the design as a whole.
Color or not – Good logos look great stripped down to their essence, meaning they work well in black and white or with color (just like a good song that if you strip it down to only the barest essential instrumentation still captures the essence of the tune…then you know you’ve got a good song).
Large or small – Good logos work well in large sizes or small as on a business card.
Simple – Great logos are simple. Over complicated logos are busy and do not keep a viewers attention. A simple logo is like good concise writing—the fewest amount of words are used to get the message across to readers.
Visual impact – By this I’m referring to how visually interesting the logo is. In other words, does it catch your eye? Is it visually pleasing to your eye? Is it memorable?
Need logo design? contact Nick Venturella Media