EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHEN YOU ORDER A LOGO DESIGN
Written by designer Royi Berkovitz
10-15 minute read
In this article, you, as a customer, will take a tour inside the mind of a
graphic designer, in order to understand what is important to pay attention to, when asking for a logo design for your business.
You will find out the pros and cons of hiring an experienced, well-rounded designer, in opposed to a beginner, and what is the difference between the two, and what are the long term implications of having a well-made logo on your business.
While this article is a 10-15 minute read, it's very important for you, the businessman who needs a kick-ass logo, to read this.
LETS DIVE IN
I get a lot of people asking me questions such as "How much should a logo cost me?", "I want to change my logo design, but I don't want to spend much money on it, how much should I pay?" etc.
Looking at it from your point of view, as a customer, these questions make a lot of sense. However, from a designer's point of view, these kind of questions make no sense at all!
A FASHIONABLE EXAMPLE
When you want to get a new suit, you would go to a store which offers suits. Now, assuming you're not a textile expert, you wouldn't know the difference between different suits. Which one is made of better materials? What size should you try on? What is the best suit model for your body type?
It can be quite confusing. That is why you'd probably ask the tailor in the store all of these questions, assuming you really care a great deal about how you'd end up looking when you wear that suit.
The tailor, indeed being a professional, will ask you some questions, such as: "Is there a special event you need the suit for?", "What shoes are you planning on wearing with the suit?", "Any special requirements about the suit that are important to you?" and so on.
The tailor is, at this point, trying to get a better understanding of your needs, so that they can find the most suitable suit for you.
The better the tailor will understand your needs, the easier it would be for him to design the best suit for you, with as little room for misunderstanding as possible.
Now, since it is indeed a custom-made suit, specifically designed for you, if the tailor gets it just right the first time around, it will probably cost less than if you ask him to change it 10 times in the process.
Creating a custom logo, for a designer, is the same as a suit for a tailor. The better the designer understands your aim, your target audience, your brand, the easier it will be for him to create the right logo, sooner rather than later.
The client usually has no idea what his aim is, who his target audience is, what values should be kept in mind while designing the logo, what is the company's vision etc.
An experienced designer would know how to ask those questions, doing so in a way that will provide the right answers for him to start working on a logo, with all the information he/she needs in advance, while an inexperienced designer would just start working, without researching much before that, resulting in a longer design process, with more try and error along the way.
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE DESIGNER'S WORK, WHEN HE/SHE CREATES YOUR LOGO
A great logo isn't created in a minute, usually not even in a matter of hours. It could be days and in some cases, weeks, before a logo is made successfully. An experienced designer will take into consideration factors such as colors (and what they mean), shapes, appearance combinations using different backgrounds, how a logo looks from a distance, and other factors, all while creating your logo.
The designer would create a sketch for the logo. He will show that sketch to the customer. If the customer likes the direction the sketch is going, it would be tuned until the final logo design is made. However, if the customer does not like the direction at all, the designer would start over, creating a new idea for a sketch.
Usually, the number of sketches included in the contract for the logo design is predetermined and agreed upon, between the customer and the designer, and any additional sketches mean there is an additional cost as well since it means the designer will spend more time on the design, significantly.
Fonts are usually subjected to copyrights. Granted, there are a lot of "free to use" fonts out there, but more often than not, when using a font for your business, it may be subjected to copyrights, meaning either the client or the designer would have to purchase the right to use the font, ending up with a higher design cost.
Ever wondered how "designers" can offer a logo for $5 or so? Well, Usually they just take a photo and place some text around it. Sometimes, that picture isn't their to use, which can cause you some trouble in the future. Now, let me be clear about this:
A photo with some text is not a logo!
It is a photo with added text. As a business owner, you should understand that your business logo is the face of your business. It is usually the first thing your customers will associate with the business, so it must be amazing and carefully designed.
You want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. Here, the designer's research may come in handy, as they would, potentially, go for designing something uncommon in your business niche, thus creating a difference between you and everyone else.
Your logo should work well on several background colors, on its own, in a photo, on a business card, on different products, in digital and printed manner. That means that the designer would usually make several versions of your logo, specifically made for different media and purposes.
As a business owner, you should understand that your business logo is the face of your business. It is usually the first thing your customers will associate with the business, so it must be amazing and carefully designed.
WHAT YOU SHOULD RECEIVE WHEN THE JOB IS DONE
I have met too many clients that said they need me to design something for them, that included their existing logo (one that someone else had designed for them), but when I asked for the logo file I needed to work with, they did not understand what I was talking about. Needless to say, it was not found at all in many cases, which made it difficult for me, and costly for them.
So, in order for this not to happen to you, here is what you should demand to receive when the designer's job is done:
A Vector File - usually a PDF or AI type of file, with the logo looking very sharp. A vector logo means you can print it at any size, and it would still stay sharp and clear.
An Adobe AI file
An Adobe PDF file
A PNG File - is the image of the logo, but with no background. It's ideal for printing it over products such as hoodies or T-shirts, for example, where you would like to see the logo, but you'd like for the background to be the actual shirt.
A PNG file (no background)
A Mockup of a logo on a hoodie
A JPG File - is the logo with a background (usually white or dark). An experienced designer would usually create a version with a dark background, and one with a white background. This usually is used for social media profiles, as there needs to be a background to the image.
A JPG file (with background)
Mockups - it is not a "must", however a good mockup can provide you, the customer, with a good idea of how the logo would appear on everyday items, such as business cards, envelopes, t-shirts, caps, etc. It does take some time to come up with a good mockup, so it may come up to paying a bit more for it, but I think mockups are important for you to understand that "hey, this logo does look awesome on a T-shirt".
HOW DESIGNERS SET A PRICE ON THEIR LOGO DESIGNS
If you've gone this far, you probably understood that creating a logo is not the simplest of tasks and it shouldn't be done lightly. As you may know by now, the number of sketches, mockups, and touch-ups that the designer makes have a direct correlation with the amount of time and effort he/she will put into the work process.
One way of showing fair quotes is by presenting several packages or design kits, each providing you with a number of tries included, with additional work costing additional money.
As you know yourself better than the designer knows you, you may go for a smaller package, providing you with fewer sketches and fixes, or go for a large package, providing you with more room for trial and error. Here is an example of 3 logo kits. The one on the left offers one sketch, two fixes, and two mockups. As the kits get more inclusive, the more you, as a customer, would get for your investment. Yes, Logo design is an important investment in the future of your business.
The difference in prices between different designers, like in every industry, is influenced by the designer's popularity, experience, talent etc.
As you know yourself better than anyone, you already have an idea about how often you change your mind and what the chances are that you'd like the first design that would be presented to you, as opposed to the chances you would ask for more design ideas, before you make-up your mind.
This means that you are the best person to know how much the logo design should cost you. Keep in mind that usually, when you go for a design package with only one sketch, and you end-up asking for 5 sketches, you would pay a lot more than the price you hoped for, because this means the designer would word five times more than he was supposed to, initially.
WHAT YOU SHOULD TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE
Personally, as I like being clear with my customers, I let them know, in advance, what is the cost for a certain amount of sketches, fixes and mockups, and what is the additional cost for each additional work. That way, it's all on the table. As a client, you should find a designer who is very clear about the cost of a design (doesn't matter if it is a logo, a website, a banner or a post for Facebook) and all the small additional details.
You should try to explain to the designer exactly what you want them to do, what is important to you, and give them as much info about your business as you can. Better communication will make sure the work is done better, and the result you expect would be what you get.
It is important for me to have explained all of this to you because I've seen too many times when customers were frustrated with their logo designs, simply due to choosing the wrong designer for them, thinking that five bucks can get them a great logo, or that a designer will work indefinitely on their logo, frustrating both sides.
Royi Berkovitz | UX/UI designer | Graphic designer | Web designer
37 yo, living next to Tel Aviv, with a BA degree in communication & management and a UX/UI graduate from HIT, lives and breathes design, married and a "father" to an old, half-blind, barely walks, Shitsu, who happens to be the cutest dog ever.