A lot goes into brand and logo design and if you're running a landscaping, plumbing, or other service business, you're probably going to have someone else help with your brand and logo design. Whether you're a new business and don't have a logo yet—or you're just looking for an update or a refresh of what you already have, these tips from our resident designer will help you get the logo of your dreams. We'll cover what the design process should look like, what you should give to the designer, what you'll receive, how much you might pay, and how you should use your new logo and brand.
Start with the name
The first thing you need of course, is a good name. You're going to be working under this name for hopefully, a long time so you need to make sure you're serious about your moniker. While the visual part of your logo is important to explaining who you are, what you do, and how well you do it, the name is what people will be talking about. If you haven't already, read our article all about how to name your business.
Cement a direction beforehand
What logos do you like? What do you really dislike? What colors do you prefer? What does your competitor do? Take time to consider aspects like these, and gather your thoughts and inspiration before you meet with your designer. They'll most likely be asking you these questions, so be ready to get involved with specifics. You're the expert in your field, and they want to find a really unique direction specifically for you, so your input is crucial.
Things to request/think about
Remember the part about being the expert in your field? Think about how you operate your company and how that might integrate into the visual assets of your brand. Think about where your logo is going to go. Will it be on your work vehicle? That's a good place to advertise your services around town — so maybe you want your contact info to be integrated into the logo. In this case, you'll want to think about your phone number and contact info, and whether you think it may change in the near future. Do you leave behind yard signs after a job well-finished? They'll want to make sure the logo is strong and visible from far enough away.
While you're thinking about different brand materials and applications, remember that most of these things can be designed by your designer, but they may not be included in the logo package. Talk to your designer about what's included, and decide on whether you'd like for them to create them for you. A t-shirt printer will usually be happy to design something for you, but you might prefer to give that responsibility to someone who's more familiar with your brand.
What to give the designer
So what are these sources of inspiration and info you should be handing over to the designer?
- Going back to #1 — your well-thought out and thoroughly-considered business name
- What you do — what services do you provide to your customers
- What makes you stand out/what differentiates you from your competitors
- Who is your target audience (what types of folks typically have the need for the type of work you do? What types of folks have you not reached, yet?)
- Logos you like/dislike (screenshots, imagery, lettering, etc)
- Colors you like/dislike and why
- A tagline if you have one
- Other ideas/desires you may have — the formats in which you'll be utilizing the logo: t-shirts, websites, billboards, work vehicles, stickers, letterhead and business cards, etc
Finding the right designer for the right price
Pricing will depend on quality, experience level and region. However, you can expect to pay no less than $250.00 for a logo designed by a newcomer, and on up into the thousands of dollars, when hiring a branding agency.
You can bet that the higher quality work you receive, the more it might cost, and vice versa. Look at this as an investment. You wouldn't buy cut-rate tools just because they cost less. Your logo and brand should be worth just as much.
Designers depend a lot on word of mouth to keep their business up, so they're typically not going to try to rip you off. On the subject of trust, the designer may want you to sign a contract. Look at this as reassurance that you're working with a professional. This is a safeguard for you both, in case something doesn't go as planned, on either side. Read through it, and make sure you know what's happening with the rights of the artwork. Typically, you'll want to own the rights to the artwork, and the designer will just want to keep your logo in their portfolio — free advertising!
When looking for a designer, make sure you take a look at their portfolio. Does their style seem to fit yours? Do they have any work that seems applicable or related to what you do? Someone who does only websites may not be as well versed in logo specifics, and someone who makes lots of logos for boutiques may not be up to the task of designing for a construction company.
Now that we've explained pricing, let's talk about the actual process and how long it'll take to get your logo. Every designer is a little different but a typical logo process will usually include the following:
They pretty much sound like what they are. The designer will most likely include you in every step, in order to make sure they're headed in the right direction. Make sure you understand the revisions policy beforehand, so that you're not hit with extra fees, when asking for one too many changes after the logo has been agreed upon.
As for the timeline, don't be too worried if you don't see a finalized logo in a week's time. A logo, if considered properly, will take anywhere from three to 10 weeks of work time, depending on the designer, agreement, and scope of branding you're looking for. Just make sure you know ahead of time, how the process works, given your specific designer.
What you get and what to ask for
Once the work is done you might be wondering what files you will receive and how you should use them? Your designer will be thrilled if you ask these questions. All too often, a designer will hand over files, assuming that their client knows how to utilize them, then finds out later that someone sent a printer the wrong type of file, and paid the printer extra to format the file in the right way. You'll probably receive a folder with lots of different files and types:
- .pdf — If you received it from your designer, it's most likely infinitely scalable with no loss of quality. You'll want to send this to anyone who might use the logo on anything printed, and that includes apparel.
- .svg, .eps, or .ai — Like pdfs, they're infinitely scalable. Most printers and other designers will use these to work from when creating new designs with your logo, e.g., business cards or t-shirt designs.
- .png — These should only be used on the web/digital screens. If you got one from the designer, it should have a transparent background color, meaning no awkward, unprofessional white boxes around your logo.
- .jpg — A very common image format, but mostly for pictures, they're not as useful for logos. If your designer gives you a jpg the thing to keep in mind is that jpgs don't support transparent backgrounds, so you will end up with your logo on a white background.
In addition to your full-colored logo in all its glory, make sure you've received solid-color options (solid white and solid black, too) in all of the listed formats. You never know when you'll need to put a white logo on a colored or photographic background, and black logos always work for creating screens and dies for apparel and vinyl.
We'll cover business cards, t-shirts, and other design aspects in future post, but that covers the basics of logo and identity. It should get you started with whatever designer that you find. Don't be afraid to talk through each step with your designer or to ask questions. If you need a second opinion, we're here to help, just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.