You might already have read a handful of articles on how to design a great logo but the title of this article contains three keywords in particular: for your client. Every client, be they a sole trader or a multinational corporation, is unique. The products and services they sell may be similar to others but there is always an intangible quality that sets them apart and makes them different. So when it comes to logo design, there’s no generic answer, no ‘one size fits all’. You can’t just design the best logo; you have to design the best logo for your client.
Follow the guidelines below to ensure that the logo you design is the best you can do for your client: a logo that reflects their aspirations, characteristics and USP. In short, a logo that could only work for them and nobody else.
Know and understand your client
To be able to propose an appropriate logo for your client you need to know everything about them. If they come in with the slimmest of briefs and expect you to go away and work magic, they’ll be disappointed. For your own sake, you need to find out everything about their business, their products, their history and their expectations for the future. What are they looking for in a logo? Should it be an echo from the past or an agent for change that will carry them to the future? How do they see their logo working in relation to their position in the market?
Know and love what your client does
Immerse yourself in your client’s world; learn about their products or services, then about the marketplace they operate in. What are their best sellers and who buys them? What are the future trends in the industry likely to be? You don’t actually need to love what they do but you do need to thoroughly understand it if you’re going to produce a logo with a resonance.
Learn about your client’s customers
You need to remember that your client’s clients are actually the ultimate audience for the logo you’re designing. Yes, your client needs to love the logo but he already loves the brand. You’re designing a logo that needs to speak to his potential customers, so you need to know who they are. What’s the demographic of the people he’s selling to? What are their expectations and aspirations? What style of logo will they respond to? They may be very different to the business principals who are giving you the brief.
Analyse your client’s competitors
Who are the major players in your client’s marketplace? Look at their logos and take a view on which ones work and which ones don’t. Then try to understand why. Consider the relationship between your client and the rest of the market; where does he fit in relation to his competitors? Old and established, one of the big boys? Or a breath of fresh air, a new young upstart? All this will have a bearing on the logo you design.
Let your ideas percolate
Make some initial sketches, experiment with the different elements and mix up your ideas. Come up with as many different logos as you can in a short space of time and then step away from the drawing board. When you return, pick out the logos that have the most impact and the ones that are going to work best for your client. Analyse why a particular image or shape or typeface works – or why it doesn’t work.
Think about how your ideas can be used for different applications and is there scope for variation in the basic logo design? Avoid trends and imitations; if one of your sketches immediately reminds you of another logo, bin it. At this stage you need to be ruthless: look for a reason to jettison each and every design and when you find one that passes all the tests, take it to the next stage.
Ask for feedback and then ask for more
At every step along the way get feedback. Ask your design colleagues what they think and then ask people without a background in design how they see it. Ask them specific questions to provide you with qualitative feedback and then listen to their answers and consider which points you need to act on. Finally, get feedback from your clients. Remember it’s their business and they know it better than you.
Coming up with the perfect logo for your client is always going to be a collaborative effort. You have the design expertise, they know the brand. Work with them but stand firm on matters relating to your particular skill. And take the time to build up a relationship of trust. If you put in the hours needed to follow these guidelines you will have a much better chance of coming up with a logo your client can fall in love with.