When making a large purchase, we research first. Google features and specifications. Read reviews. Ask others about their experience. The same should be true with the investment of a new logo. Use this list of questions as a guide to hiring the right logo designer – saving you time and money down the road. I’ve complied all of the considerations you need to be making so that you can quickly and confidently move on to the other tasks that fill your day as a small business owner.
Questions to Ask Yourself…
- What is my timeline? Do I have a specific launch date for my new logo?
Be sure to account for time needed to apply your logo to new materials – things like business cards and letterhead need production time. If these things are required start counting backwards from your launch date.
- What is my budget?
This can be a difficult question to answer without a ballpark idea of what logo design costs. Logos can range in complexity, thus designers are hesitant to provide a price without knowing the scope of your project. In the Sandhills Area of North Carolina (Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen, etc) the average graphic design hourly rate falls somewhere just over $50 an hour. If you are only provided with an hourly rate, ask for an estimate of the number of hours needed to complete the logo design. A professional designer should have enough experience to provide this information to you. Take a look at the branding package offered by Pine & Pixels!
- Who is my target audience? What words do I want them to associate with my new logo?
Spending time on your new (or updated) brand strategy is crucial to the success of your logo. It is important to know your target audience. Get specific. Your designer will be asking you about your target audience and the feeling you want your brand to exude – if there are multiple decision makers in your business, be sure to come together to provide one cohesive answer.
- Where will you be using your new logo?
Is there a particular shape that will work better (something square, short and wide, etc.)? Consider any signage and other mediums where you logo will need to be applied. If necessary, get information about your local signage ordinances.
Questions to Ask Your Designer…
- What are your rates?
Make sure this falls within your budget. Some designers ask for a down payment to secure your spot in the schedule.
- What is included in the price?
Look for things like kick-off meetings, one-on-one consultations, the number of revisions, style guides, etc.
- Will I get working files of the logo? What programs do you use?
Although it could save you money initially, an unexperienced graphic designer using Powerpoint, Microsoft Word or Corel to create your logo will leave you with files unusable by most printers, web designers and sign makers. These files require hiring an extra designer to remake the logo in the industry standard software programs – costing you more money down the road. Ask for your final logo design in vector format (a file that ends with .ai or .eps) and in a high quality raster format (a file that ends with .psd) as well as .jpgs and .pngs (with and without backgrounds) for your ease of use.
- What does the process look like?
A professional designer will follow a process to collect information about your business, to brainstorm, to communicate and to handle your requests for edits. Be sure you are hiring a designer who can comfortably describe their process to you.
- What do you need from me?
As the business owner, there is a good chance no one knows your business as good as you do. Although graphic designers create with a focus on your audience, they need industry insight from you. Know this on the upfront and set aside the appropriate amount of time in your calendar to keep things on schedule.
- Who owns the final design?
Your designer should answer this question with “you.” Use a graphic designer who supplies you with the rights to the final logo design. This avoids any complications that can arise from where, when, and how many times you use your logo. You are paying for a recognizable mark to be associated with only your business – you need to own that mark.
- Do you have any references? Have you worked on logos in the past?
Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it working with someone who produces lackluster work and has left other clients with less than desirable results. Choose your logo designer based on quality and the feedback you receive from their references.
Although it can be tempting to jump right into a shiny new logo, take a few minutes to discuss these questions internally and with your graphic designer. If you have any questions about the logo design services offered by Pine & Pixels, please don’t hesitate to let me know.