If you’ve known me for any time, you might know this one thing about me- I LOVE designing logos. There’s just something about it that sings my heart’s song. When businesses come to me requesting a design to serve as the identity for their business, a part of me jumps for joy and I can’t wait to get started.
But, I’ve realized that while most businesses know they need a logo, they don’t fully understand the process that goes into the creation of a logo, let alone how to choose a designer. That’s why I want to break it down for you in the hopes of helping you understand the makings of a logo design.
First things first – communication
This is where a lot of designs get off track, because of failure to communicate from one or both parties. The designer thinks the client wants one thing, while the client has something else in mind. I have experienced this one too many times, and it is tough for both parties. As a business owner, you obviously want a design that you absolutely love, and as a designer, I want to create something that we can both be proud of.
When booking a logo design, look for a designer that communicates with a friendly tone and tells you how they plan to communicate with you in order to learn about your business. When someone messages me about a logo design, I break it all down for them from the beginning. I tell them up front what I will provide, but I also communicate what I expect from them. Although I am the designer, it’s not my design, and I fully expect clients to provide me with information so that I can put the pieces together and create something custom and as unique as they are. Having an open line of communication is so important.
When hiring someone to design a logo, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting. I’m not talking about file quality (we’ll get to that in a minute), I’m talking about color. Do you think all logos are color OR black and white? Nope. They should actually be both… unless you prefer black and white only, that is!
If a logo with color is what you want, then it’s what you should get. But it goes beyond just having color. The first think you should make sure of is that your files will be CMYK, which, without going into overwhelming detail, is crucial for printing the colors correctly. But, you should also find out what color variations you will receive.
Depending on the design, I typically provide at least three to five variations of color with each design. Regardless of the design elements, every single logo should be usable over any background, or in any situation. Having a logo that stands out on light or dark backgrounds is a must, but so is having the ability to use the logo in greyscale printing. That’s why I go above and beyond to provide a few options, and I’m always happy to add color variations to past client’s designs. I want to provide a product that is usable in any form, and I believe all designers should, too.
The Most Important – File Quality
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with people that only had a .png file of their logo. I cringe every time because it simply lacks the quality needed for many projects. When you hire a designer, always ask what file formats will be provided. If they don’t provide you with a vector file, find a different designer who does.
Not sure what a vector file is? Trust me, you are not alone! To simply explain it, a vector file is a full resolution file that can be scaled to any size. You want a small logo on a business card? Perfect. You want a banner of your logo? Yup, you’re covered! Need a trailer decal? You’re good to go! A vector file is typically labeled as .ai or .eps, and they are absolutely crucial.
On the contrary, you should also receive raster files that you can use, even without having design programs. A raster file is a flattened or compressed version of the vector, and it’s confined by size. While typically not usable for printing, raster files are great for digital use! I recommend making sure you have a .png and .jpeg version of the design, as both can come in handy. The difference between them is that .png can have a transparent background and typically preserves the text quality better, however having the opaque background on a .jpg can come in handy, as well!
I know that is a lot of information to take in and I probably used a lot of jargon you’re not familiar with. But, if you’re hiring a designer to create a logo for your business, I really think these three points are crucial in ensuring your logo is fully usable for you.
Logo Design Checklist
When hiring a logo designer, always ask these three questions:
– How will I communicate my business story & preferences?
– What color variations will be provided?
– Will I receive vector AND raster files?
– Is your name Emily Frantz?
Kidding on that last one. Or am I? The point is, while hiring someone to design a logo can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. As a business owner, you might not understand color combinations or font pairings and that’s okay. That’s not your job, it’s ours as designers. But, you understand your customer and your business better than anyone else, and when you communicate that, a good designer should be able to create the perfect logo to represent your brand.
Have any questions you’d like to ask a designer? Drop them in the comments below!