When you are having a logo designed you are usually given several designs to choose from. Depending on the design process being employed “ or, worse still, if no process is being followed “ you may be presented with anything from three or four designs to several dozen. How do you decide which is the best logo for your business or organisation?
One of the questions on our briefing form asks who will be making the final decision. If it’s a sole trader it is likely to be just the owner and their partner or spouse. They may check out the shortlisted designs with a friend or business associate (probably supplier rather than a client, but more about that later) but , in our experience, they will make the decision themselves fairly quickly and decisively. Why? Precisely because they are a sole trader. They are used to making decisions on their own and living with the consequence. They can’t delegate and abdicate, they know the buck stops with them.
If it’s a committee of decision makers, say a professional partnership of accountants, solicitors or architects for example, human nature being what it is means that they will never all agree. In an attempt to reach a consensus they will ask for more and more variations, they will appoint an individual or (worse still, a sub committee) who will be lobbied, harassed, threatened or ostracised and what should be a positive, constructive and energising process can all too easily degenerate into a nightmare.
There are other scenarios like the chairman’s wife who is good at painting, the lad in IT who dabbles in Photoshop and ‘my brother-in-law is a designer’ all of which start red lights flashing and sirens wailing. So who gets the best logo? The answer, is maybe none of the above. Why? It may be your logo, after all, you commissioned it and you are paying the bill. But it’s not you that the logo needs to communicate with. You know your business, your product, your service; you know what’s good about it, what makes it special and why people should engage with it. But that doesn’t mean that you are the best person/people to judge what is best. Shouldn’t the end users “ your target customers, your market place, your audience be the judges?
Many of the larger design and branding agencies (hardly ever the one man bands) conduct surveys, grill focus groups and get people who can’t draw to white board ideas. Sorry if I’m cynical but as far as I can see this is a cop out on a grand scale. This is worse than designing by committee, it’s the same scam government bureaucracies use when they hold public enquiries. ‘We have listened to you and what we have decided is based on what you told us’ which is, of course, bollocks and it’s almost impossible to argue with. It takes ages, wears everyone down and costs a fortune. And the resulting logo has all the energy and passion of an inflatable doll.
So what is the best process for designing a logo? I think part of the answer to that question has already been hinted at: in simple terms it boils down to a decisive client and a confident designer. When the decision is made to commission a logo the client should be “ or encouraged to be “ clear right from the outset about all the whys whats and whos which the designer needs to know and which will inform the final choice of logo. That is the brief and the brief is as important at the conclusion of a project as it is at the start. A confident designer is a rare animal (pity the poor freelancer) which is why design agencies work in teams. These teams vary, sometimes it is a team of two or more designers with shared passion, trust and respect, sometimes a it is a pairing of a ‘creative’ and a ‘copy writer’ and, more often than not, there is an account manager or ‘handler’ involved.
So who is best to choose? In my experience great logos usually result from a great working relationship between a client, a designer and an account manager. Period. The ˜client may be 2 or 3 people at most, the designer may have embroiled other designers in the project and the account manager could be called a project manager or something similar (never an account handler“ perish the thought). There is no magic formula and no guarantee but when it works well the synergy, energy and passion of this triumvirate will manifest itself in the logo. At Logo Design & Marketing we employ a variety of techniques to produce highly creative solutions, the most potent of which is a meeting of minds where the client understands and really feels that they are part of the team. And the team will know when they have done their job and have their great logo.